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CDR US Public Health Service
Chief of Optometry
Crow Indian Health Service
Crow Agency, Montana 59022

Contact Person: Emilie Mathiak, OD, Director of Optometry,

Clinical Teaching Faculty:  Emilie Mathiak, OD, Lieutenant Commander, US Public Health Service,; Barbara Cohn, OD

Type of Practice: Indian Health Service

The Crow Northern Cheyenne Optometry Department is both a hospital and clinic based practice providing primary and emergency eye care. There are over 13,000 reservation beneficiaries served from one hospital and two satellite clinics. Optometry services include pediatric eye care, Head Start vision screenings, ocular disease management, surgical post-op care, Emergency Room consults, outpatient and inpatient vision care, as well as primary care co-management. The laboratory and radiology departments are available for diagnostic evaluations. There is an outpatient and inpatient pharmacy stocked with a full range of therapeutic and oral medications.


  • Patient population: >13,500, 55% of patients served live on the reservation, 45% off the reservation
  • Tribe: 87% are Crow tribal members, 13% mixed tribes
  • Age: 24% <18y.o., 27% 19-49, 28% 50-64, and 21% >65y.o.

Prerequisites for Student Interns:

  • Basic computer and typing skills to utilize the Electronic Health Record (E.H.R.)
  • Completion of all the student volunteer forms:
    • Agreement to a Temporary Waiver of Character Investigation
    • Berkeley MOU Student Responsibility Statement
    • Childcare Position Provisional Authorization Memorandum
    • Declaration for Federal Employment OF-306
    • Addendum to Declaration for Federal Employment OF-306
    • OFI Form 86C Childcare
    • OMP General Release Form
    • Optional Application for Federal Employment OF-612
    • Student Responsibility Statement Volunteer Agreement
    • Immunizations
    • Fingerprints

Patient Services Provided:

  • Glaucoma, Diabetic and Retina Care
  • Pediatric Eye Exams
  • Geriatric Eye Exams
  • Primary and Emergency Eye Exams
  • Contact Lens Fittings – Medically-necessary and cosmetic
  • Ancillary testing: Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCTa), pachymetry, gonioscopy, Humphrey Visual Field Analysis, Fundus Photography, Anterior Segment Photography, autorefractor/topographer.

Educational Objectives:

  • Provide students with diverse learning experience utilizing a wide-range of tools through ancillary tests, laboratory tests, radiology and co-management with other hospital disciplines.
  • Develop the extern’s ability to provide a solid refraction, diagnosis and treatment plan.

Student Responsibilities:

  • Be prompt, professional, eager to learn and be respectful of the Native American culture.
  • Prepare one 20-30 minute Quality Improvement project to present to the hospital staff.
  • Participate in public health presentations or service projects.

  • Review and comply with hospital regulations.

Faculty Responsibilities:

  • Oversee students in patient care.
  • Provide students with a safe learning environment.
  • Uphold the mission of the Indian Health Service to raise the health status of the American Indian and Alaska Native people to the highest possible level.
  • Provide students with a clinical performance evaluation at the completion of the rotation.
  • Please know that there are many providers at this site other than the contact person. You will be working with the contact person and the other providers in patient care.

Housing and Transportation:

The reservation is located in a rural area. Crow Agency is approximately 60 miles from Billings, Montana, 13 miles from Hardin, Montana and 70 miles from Sheridan, Wyoming. Housing and transportation are the responsibility of the student. Current and former hospital interns have used the following:

  • Google search of short-term apartments for rent in Billings, MT.
  • There is a shuttle between Billings and Crow Agency.
  • Free parking is available to all interns in the staff parking lots.


  • Meals are provided through the hospital at no charge for students. If interested please contact the dietary department when you arrive.
  • Every August the annual Crow Fair attracts thousands of people from around the world to the largest American Indian encampment in the Nation. Known as the “Teepee Capital” there are over a thousand teepees inhabited during the week-long celebration of Native American life. Events include parades, traditional dance competitions, vendors selling Native American art and a rodeo.
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