Eye on Education

Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Print this Article | Send to Colleague

Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University is excited to announce that Dr. Melissa Contreras will be embracing a new role as SCCO’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

In this new position, Dr. Contreras will be facilitating conversations about recruiting and supporting students, staff, and faculty of color; weaving DEI themes into SCCO’s mission, goals, and objectives; and integrating cultural humility, equity, and inclusion throughout our curriculum. As a college, SCCO has important work to do in these areas, and Dr. Contreras brings her unique experiences, education and enthusiasm to the role. She will also be working with university’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee to develop initiatives that will help build a more diverse and inclusive campus.

Dr. Contreras earned her optometry degree at the Southern California College of Optometry and completed a residency in Primary Care and Geriatrics at VA Sepulveda in California. She joined the SCCO faculty in 2012 in the Primary Care and Ocular Disease Department and completed her Master’s in Public Health from UCLA in 2015. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and is currently working toward her Diplomate in the Public Health and Environmental Vision section of the American Academy of Optometry. Dr. Contreras is also the chair of the ASCO Public Health Educators special interest group (SIG) and a member of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion SIG.

Motivated by her passion for public health, her experiences in patient care serving a medically indigent population, and being mixed race and bilingual herself, her interests include health outcomes concerning health literacy and language access, health promotion and cultural humility in eye care, as well as the didactic and clinical implementation of curriculum supporting patient centered care.

“Ultimately, I envision the future of our profession full of healthcare leaders that reflect the diversity of the patients we care for and are prepared and ready to address the healthcare disparities faced by our communities,” Dr. Contreras said. “To achieve this, we need to work as a team, elevate our communication and build a sustainable strategy to achieve these important objectives.”


Back to Eye on Education

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn