Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Optometry will introduce the profession of optometry to underrepresented ninth- and 10th-grade Pomona High School students and their parents on March 13-14, 2010.

The two-day event, "Reaching Out to Families and Communities – Opening Eyes to Optometry," will provide, on Saturday, March 13, an introduction to the profession of optometry and preparing for optometry school through lectures, and will offer three lab sessions in the afternoon.

The labs, divided into three groups from 1 to 4 p.m., include cow eye dissection, where students review the ocular anatomy of a partially dissected cow eye; what do "eye" do, an equipment demonstration; and vision screening, where students participate as patients and observe testing that is performed on a vision screening.

Media are encouraged to come to Saturday’s session during the labs, which will be held at the University’s new Health Education Center (HEC) at 701 E. Second St., Pomona, Calif. The labs, on the second floor of the building with the external stairs, are east of Linden Street.

1. Cow eye dissection

Location: Health Education Center – 2nd Floor / Room 2108

2. What do "eye" do?

Location: Health Education Center – 2nd Floor / Room 2209

3. Vision Screening

Location: Health Education Center – 2nd Floor / Room 2110

On Sunday, financial aid and student services will be discussed and students will be divided into small group discussions to hear from both WesternU students and optometrists. All lectures and group discussions for both days will be held in the Health Professions Center (HPC) at 550 E. Second St.

College of Optometry first-year students and faculty will be on hand as well as optometrists – Dr. Lou Perez, private practice; Dr. Charles Haine, Associate Dean of Clinical Education; Dr. Roberta Perlman, Pomona Unified School District Trustee, and Dr. Ed Hernandez, California State Assemblyman, 57th District.

The Optometric Education Diversity Mini-Grant, through the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) funded this program, said Raymond Maeda, OD, FAAO, Chief of Primary Care Optometry for the College of Optometry.

"Our efforts (are to) recruit underrepresented minority students, financially disadvantaged, and first-generation college students into optometry," he said. "As with other health professions, Hispanics, African Americans and Native Americans are severely underrepresented in optometry."