In a gesture that demonstrates the admiration, respect, and concern felt for their colleagues, the class of 2020 will direct their $5,000 year-end gift to the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for attending doctors, residents, eyewear specialists, and clinic staff. The PPE will be used to help improve the safety of Berkeley Optometry’s frontline caregivers, who are continuing to provide essential eye care services despite the Coronavirus pandemic.
In a video call with Berkeley Optometry staff, graduating classmates Allison Kuo, Joyce Zhang and Connie Chen expressed a desire to find a meaningful gift that would provide an extra measure of comfort for those risking their health to provide much needed care to the community.
“Our attendings and everyone at the clinic continue to do the work that we’d like to be helping them with, so we started thinking about ways we can give back and be most helpful,” said Kuo.
News of the gift had an immediate impact on clinic faculty and staff. Clinic Director Dr. Christina Wilmer said, “This is so generous and thoughtful. It feels so appropriate that we, the clinical faculty and staff, have supported the class of 2020 during their clinical training, and now that we are ready to see them go independently into practice, they are taking care of us. It is such an honor to receive their support and help to keep us safe. We miss them in the clinic!”
The class of 2020’s gift, by providing direct support to the school’s caregivers during a time of high risk, also plays a role in the school’s mission to help reduce hospital emergency room visits relating to eye care during the COVID-19 crisis. In the U.S., up to 6.5% of all ER patients present with eye problems. To lessen emergency room and urgent care visits so that hospital ER and urgent care clinics can focus on providing care for patients who have been infected by the virus, the Berkeley Optometry clinic continues to see patients for essential services such as acute red eye, foreign bodies, ocular pain, blurred vision, neuro-rehab, and vision therapy.
Well done class of 2020 for choosing a gift that has profound meaning for our doctors, residents, eyewear specialists and clinical staff, and for the fight against COVID-19.