On June 18, New England Eye (NEE) received a $22,500 grant from the Boston Center for Blind Children (BCBC) to support NEE’s Individuals with Disabilities Service (IDS), a network of specialized clinics focused on meeting the specific visual needs of individuals with disabilities. NEE is the patient care and clinical education subsidiary of New England College of Optometry. Grant funds will be used to support two areas of service: patient care and training for vision and eye care of individuals with disabilities.
Nancy Broude, Vice President of Institutional Advancement at NECO, states, “We are fortunate to have been embraced by the Boston Center for Blind Children (BCBC) Foundation. For over a century, BCBC has been engaged in charitable programs that provide care and financial assistance to visually impaired children and their families as well as children and youth with disabilities. New England Eye has been the recipient of grants totaling $124,650 over the past eight years.”
This new grant from BCBC will enable New England Eye’s IDS to maintain and increase its capacity to care for children with a complex combination of visual, cognitive and/or physical impairments. “Our partnership with the Boston Center for Blind Children will continue to aid us in our advocacy and delivery of vision care for children with a complex combination of visual, cognitive and/or physical impairments,” notes Dr. Gary Chu, Executive Director, Health Policy and Community Collaborations at NEE. “These funds will support New England Eye in providing and educating eye care providers in life-centered eye care to create possibilities of improved function for children.”
Under the leadership of Dr. Chu, NEE professional staff and NECO students will provide over 1,000 patient visits at Perkins School for the Blind, the Cotting School and at a clinic in East Bridgewater. These programs address visual conditions in children with multiple disabilities.
In addition to the patient care component, the IDS also serves as an educational center for future educators, eye care professionals, and teachers of children with disabilities. In March, Dr. Barry Kran helped launch NECO and NEE’s first inter-professional program to provide training for optometrists and ophthalmologists on eye exam techniques for individuals with disabilities. Dr. Kran, NECO professor and Clinical Director at New England Eye Perkins Low Vision Clinic, and BUSM Professor Dr. Jean Ramsey provided participants hands-on experience collecting data using alternative testing paradigms as well as sending them home with alternative acuity testing equipment. This program was funded by grants from Reader’s Digest and Boston Center for Blind Children. Read more about this conference. Given the success of this year’s conference, the grant will help support a second conference being planned for the fall of 2015 or spring of 2016.