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Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University Partners with Hampton University

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Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University Partners with Hampton University

Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) recently partnered with Hampton University, one of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), to offer a new articulation agreement to address the shortage of Black student representation in optometric education and the healthcare profession. Paula Harmon Boone, OD, director of the National Optometric Association (NOA) “Visioning the Future” HBCU Mentorship Program and NOA trustee, helped initiate and lead the effort.

“It is important to recognize that the agreement comes at a time of the Black Lives Matter movement. The goal of the NOA has always been to advance the visual health of minority populations; to uphold the ideals of cultural diversity, equality and inclusivity in eyecare,” Dr. Boone said. “The agreement between Salus PCO and Hampton University will help ensure comprehensive eye and vision healthcare, and decrease health disparities in the Black community as it increases the number of Black optometrists in the U.S.”

Mirroring the goal of the NOA’s mentorship program to address the lack of diversity among optometry students, the partnership was established to give students who successfully complete a Bachelor of Science degree at Hampton a pathway to earn a Doctor of Optometry degree through the 4+4 program at Salus PCO. Under the agreement, students enrolled in the program will receive both financial and academic assistance from the NOA, advisement from the Pre-Health program at Hampton and mentorship from a Salus PCO faculty advisor.

“This is a unique opportunity to work directly with the school's advisors in nurturing relationships and providing a pathway for their best students to pursue their optometry degree,” said Salus PCO assistant professor Ruth Shoge, OD ‘06, Resident ‘07. “We look forward to this relationship and the doors it may open with other HBCUs.”


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