New England Eye (NEE), the patient care and clinical affiliate of New England College of Optometry, was included in a federal grant received by the Lowell Public Schools. The $2.5 million federal grant will help the Lowell Public Schools turn the Lowell Career Academy into a full service school that will provide wrap-around academic and social services, and programs to support students as they learn. In addition to eye exams provided by New England Eye’s mobile clinic, On-Sight, other services provided will include career prep by Career Center of Lowell, health services by the Lowell Community Health Center, gardens by Mill City Grows, and construction workshops through Youth Build.
Clinicians from New England Eye and students from New England College of Optometry will provide comprehensive eye exams and eye-glasses at the Career Academy to both students and their families on the mobile clinic four days a year for the next five years as a part of the federal grant.
“The chance to improve a student’s eye care needs is exactly the kind of pro-active mission New England Eye On-Sight is set up to do,” explains Paulette Tattersall, Pediatric Program Director. “Children can struggle to maximize their potential because of an untreated vision problem or lost or broken eyeglasses. By eliminating barriers to obtaining eye care, school resources can be better directed to serve the individual needs of each student. The extended period of service and offering services to families is different for us, but exciting. It is our hope a broader community understanding and awareness will grow regarding the importance of eye care and the attention it is receiving now can matter for the future.”
New England College of Optometry and New England Eye faculty and students have been providing eye care and raising awareness, in particular around young children’s vision, in the Lowell area for 7 years, through research studies at preschools and eye exams by NEE On-Sight at area schools. In addition, NEE On-Sight Low Vision mobile program also regularly visits the Lowell Association for the Blind.
Gary Chu, Executive Director, Health Policy and Community Collaborations at NEE explains, “Being part of this comprehensive grant helps us continue our commitment to the Lowell community. We are committed to grow our relationship with the Lowell community and hope to have a permanent presence with a sustainable eye clinic in the future.”
The federal grant program will begin in October 2015 and New England Eye On-Sight Mobile Clinic hopes to make its first visit there by the end of the year, beginning a cycle of one visit approximately every three months.
Read more about the grant for the Lowell High School Career Academy in the Lowell Sun Online.