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Optometric Research Fellowship Program

Research, education, and clinical fellowship training experiences in this two-year fellowship program may focus on areas such as: eye and vision disorders; age-related vision loss from macular degeneration, glaucoma, or diabetic eye disease; use of new technologies, including telemedicine, for glaucoma, diabetic, and other eye disease conditions; low vision rehabilitation strategies; low vision device development and evaluation; dual sensory impairment issues; or visual rehabilitation outcomes.

Selected fellows will receive guidance from one or more preceptors with proven records of optometric clinical research, or research relevant to optometry such as rehabilitation or health services research. The preceptors, who do not have to be optometrists, should have experience as mentors of trainees.

The fellowship program is designed to develop individual potential for research careers relevant to VA optometry. At least 75 percent of the fellowship time is to be devoted to biomedical, clinical, rehabilitation, or health services research, including didactic education related to research. Up to 25 percent of the fellowship time may be allotted to advanced clinical or teaching activities.

The purpose of the fellowship program is to ensure the continuation and future development of VA optometric research, to stimulate research in age-related eye diseases and vision disorders, to improve visual rehabilitation capabilities, and to enhance visual outcomes. The two-year post-residency fellowship offers research, educational, and clinical training to selected optometrists. The outstanding optometrists selected for the fellowship will have completed an accredited residency program in geriatrics, hospital-based, ocular disease, low vision, or primary eye care. The three selected sites were competitively selected from applications in response to a request for applications.

Annual Stipend:  $44,734 or higher in the first year, depending on locality adjustment. Fellows are eligible for health and life insurance benefits under the federal plans.

For further information contact the Program Director at the sites listed below:

Birmingham :
Thomas A. Keith, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Phone: 205-933-8101, ext. 3242
E-mail: Thomas.Keith@va.gov

Boston :
Baharak Asefzadeh, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Phone: 857-364-4211
E-mail: Baharak.Asefzadeh@va.gov

Palo Alto :
Gregory L. Goodrich, Ph.D., F.A.A.O.
Phone: 650-493-5000, ext. 24640
E-mail: Gregory.Goodrich@va.gov

Eligibility Criteria

  • U.S. citizenship
  • Have completed an ACOE-accredited optometry residency in geriatrics, hospital-based, ocular disease, low vision rehabilitation or primary eye care.
  • Not yet an established investigator or academician
  • A full and unrestricted therapeutic pharmaceutical agents license to practice optometry in any state, territory, or commonwealth of the U.S. , or in the District of Columbia before the beginning of the fellowship. The license does not have to be from the state where the fellowship program is located.
  • Desire to pursue an optometric career with a focus on eye and vision care services, administration, and research.
  • Demonstrated special research interest in age-related eye diseases and vision disorders, visual rehabilitation, and visual outcomes.