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Portland VA Medical Center – Vancouver Division
Eye Care Service
Building 17
1601 East Fourth Plain Blvd.
Vancouver, WA 98661

PVAMC, Vancouver Division Optometry Student Program Coordinator:
Amara V. Callahan, OD (503) 220-8262 ext. 34333 or cell (503)970-6548

Other VA Portland HCS Clinical Teaching Faculty:

Molly Phan, OD, FAAO (Chief, Optometry Section)                

Kirk L. Halvorson, OD                                                                            

Weon Jun, OD, FAAO (Director, Low Vision; Residency Program Coordinator)

Rebecca Czerwinski, OD, FAAO                                                          

Jonathon Thomas, OD                                                                            

Grace Tsan, OD, FAAO (Assistant Chief, Optometry Section)                    

Mark A. Williams, OD

Type of Practice: Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Patient Care Hours: Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Necessary Equipment: All equipment will be provided. Most staff have been wearing scrubs since the pandemic, white coat is optional.

General Information:

  • The VA Portland Health Care System is a 303-bed consolidated facility with two main divisions (Portland & Vancouver Divisions) and eight community-based outpatient clinics (Bend, East Portland, Hillsboro, Newport, North Coast, Salem, The Dalles and West Linn CBOCs). The VA Portland HCS serves as the quaternary referral center for Oregon, Southern Washington, and parts of Idaho for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  In addition to comprehensive medical and mental health services, the facility supports ongoing research and medical education, including the nationally funded Mood Disorders and Hepatitis C Resource Centers.
  • The VA Portland HCS Vancouver Division campus is in Vancouver, Washington, which is about 10 miles (16 km) north of Portland. Services providing care at this campus include the Eye Care Team, Primary Care (including Post-Deployment & Polytrauma Transitional Rehabilitation), Mental Health, Audiology, Dental, Hand clinic, Imaging, Transitional Lodging, Physical Therapy, Podiatry, Prosthetics, Pharmacy, Laboratory, and the Rehabilitation & Long-Term Care (RLTC) Division.  The RLTC offers home-based primary care services, skilled nursing, long-term care, hospice, and respite services for Veterans at the Community Living Center, home-based primary care services, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.
  • The VA Portland HCS Eye Care Service consists of both an Optometry and Ophthalmology Section which are highly integrated and collaborative in the provision of a full spectrum of eye and vision care services. The Ophthalmology Section is primarily based on the Portland Division campus, and offers general and subspecialty care including cornea, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, oculoplastics, medical retina, strabismus, uveitis, and vitreo-retinal surgery.  Retina specialty clinics are currently staffed at the Vancouver Division Monday through Wednesday.  The Ophthalmology Section also has a strong educational component including an academic affiliation with Oregon Health Sciences University’s Casey Eye Institute.
  • The Optometry Section includes twelve staff optometrists, several fee provider optometrist(s), five full-time optometry residents (PUOCO affiliated), and fourth professional year optometry student externs from three academic affiliates (PUOCO, UCB and NECO). Comprehensive eye and vision care services are provided through the Optometry Section clinics at the PVAMC’s Vancouver Division, Portland Division, Bend CBOC and Salem CBOC facilities.  The Optometry Section also provides binocular vision and low vision care through the Low Vision Rehabilitation Services in both the Portland and Vancouver Division clinics.  All the optometry staff are residency trained, and practice with broad clinical privileges to enable management of a wide variety of challenging ocular and visual disorders in patients with frequent comorbid systemic health problems.  Most of the staff optometrists and optometry residents provide care at the Vancouver Division clinic on a rotating basis, and each of the academic affiliates are offered student externship placement.

Continuing Education

  • Weekly Optometry Clinical Seminar: The Optometry Section conducts a weekly clinical seminar each Wednesday afternoon for didactic presentations and clinical discussions between program faculty, residents and students.  All Portland Division, Vancouver Division, Bend CBOC & Salem CBOC based optometry students will participate jointly in this weekly clinical seminar.
  • VISN 20 Optometry Grand Rounds: The VISN 20 Optometry Grand Rounds is a one hour continuing education program presented by live video broadcast from the VA Portland HCS to all Pacific Northwest VA medical centers on the second Wednesday of each month. These presentations are by a diverse group of interdisciplinary health care providers.  All optometry students attend the grand rounds presentations.


  • The VA Portland HCS Eye Care Service provided 59,222 patient care visits for enrolled veterans in Fiscal Year 2014.  Specifically, in the Vancouver Division Optometry Section, 10,538 patient care visits were provided in Fiscal Year 2014.
  • Our patient population is composed mainly of men between the ages of 40 to 100, although younger adults and women are seen in increasing numbers as OIF/OEF veterans are returning from active duty.

Prerequisites for Student Interns

  • Must have a positive attitude, strong desire to learn, ability to work well with others and provide compassionate patient care.   Due to the challenging nature of this rotation, students should have the basic components of a routine eye exam mastered.

Patient Services Provided

  • Primary eye and vision care.

Educational Objectives

  • Enhance technical, analytical, and patient management skills through patient-based experiential learning in a primary care eye clinic.

Student Responsibilities:

  • Professional conduct with patients, staff, and peers is expected.
  • All students are expected to equitably support the efficiency of the Eye Care Service.
  • The student will report any concerns to the clinical faculty or the affiliate institution in a timely manner.
  • Punctuality is expected. Student clinic hours are from 7:30 a.m. to approximately 5:00 p.m., although later hours should be anticipated depending on variations in the daily schedule.
  • No personal ophthalmic equipment is required or recommended.

Faculty Responsibilities

  • To provide a safe environment for patient-based clinical education.
  • To efficiently provide high-quality patient-centered optometric care for all eligible veterans.


  • No housing is available through the VA Portland HCS.  It is easy to find housing near the Vancouver Division campus.  Apartments in North Portland and Vancouver are readily available for month-to-month rental, and many are within walking distance or have public transit available.  Search online for more housing information in Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR (North Portland, Mississippi & Alberta neighborhoods).

Transportation and Parking

  • Parking is available for students at the Vancouver Division campus.  A car is not mandatory for the rotation.  The city has a great public transportation system; bus and light rail services are available near the clinic.

PVAMC Optometry Section Academic Affiliations:

  • New England College of Optometry
  • Pacific University College of Optometry
  • University of California, Berkeley, School of Optometry
VA Vancouver Requirements