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VSP Vision donates $50,000 to WesternU’s Dr. Edward Hernandez Endowed Scholarship, Mentorship & Leadership program

by Rodney Tanaka

December 14, 2022

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Dr. Ed Hernandez speaks at the Dr. Ed Hernandez Mentorship Dinner, held Oct. 12, 2022 at Chase’s restaurant in La Verne, Calif.

A program that supports and encourages Latinx and culturally sensitive optometry students has received a five-year commitment of support from VSP Vision.

The Dr. Edward Hernandez Endowed Scholarship, Mentorship & Leadership program was established three years ago by Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Optometry with the goal of establishing supportive lifelong professional mentorships to sustain and build workforce pipeline for Latinx and culturally sensitive optometry students with emphasis in supporting pathways to private practice.

“WesternU is committed to transforming health care and to bringing excellent care to every community,” said College of Optometry Founding Dean Elizabeth Hoppe, OD, MPH, DrPH. “To meet that goal, we are working to erase the shortage of health care professionals, especially those providers who can serve patients with sensitive, culturally, and linguistically appropriate care. VSP Vision’s donation shows their alignment with accomplishing the same goal.”

Dr. Edward Hernandez, a retired California state Senator, has practiced optometry in La Puente, California since 1987. He serves as primary mentor along with other individuals who support the students by virtue of their unique experiences, perspectives, and wisdom.

“I was excited to hear that VSP Vision is supporting the Mentorship, Leadership, and Scholarship program for Latino optometry students. The support will benefit the students by providing scholarship money as well as funds for the students to attend local, state, and national optometric meetings,” Hernandez said. “I see the impact that is made on the students as I interact with them in my office as well as on campus. I am glad to see that these students want to provide health care to the Latino community. The goal is to mentor future leaders in the optometric profession as well as their communities.”

VSP Vision has pledged $50,000 to the program over the next five years. In total, the company has awarded more than $3 million in scholarships to optometry students as part of its commitment to support the future of the profession.

“VSP Vision understands a sustainable future of optometry must better reflect the members we serve,” said VSP Vision’s Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Marvin Davenport. “Personalized and culturally competent care, offered with respect and empathy, will keep the profession moving forward.”

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About VSP Vision

At VSP Vision, our purpose is to empower human potential through sight. As the first national not-for-profit vision benefits company, this is what drives everything we do.

For nearly 70 years, VSP has been the leader in health-focused vision care. Every day, the people that power our complementary businesses—VSP® Vision Care, Marchon Eyewear, Inc., Visionworks®, Eyefinity®, Eyeconic, VSP® Optics, and VSP® Ventures—work together to create a world where everyone can bring their best vision to life.

That means providing affordable access to eye care and eyewear for more than 85 million members through a network of more than 41,000 doctors. It also means expanding access to vision care to those disadvantaged by income, distance, or disaster through VSP Vision Eyes of Hope®. To date, more than 3.6 million people in need have received access to no-cost eye care and eyewear through one of our Eyes of Hope programs.

Learn more about how we’re reinvesting in greater vision, health, and opportunities for all at vspvision.com.

Dr. Ed Hernandez, center, with College of Optometry students in his scholarship, mentorship and leadership program.