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Immunizations Required

    • TB –
      • Current chest x-ray result (within the previous one year) OR
      • Two TB test results (one from previous year and one from current year within the last 6 months)  OR
      • Two TB test within the last 6 months of the current year OR
      • Quantiferon Blood test for TB screening
    • MMR
    • Varicella
    • Hep B
    • Influenza (during flu season – mid-fall to early spring)

Immunizations Records Submit to and Date:

  • All immunizations should be up to date at least TWO MONTHS before rotation start date. Please make sure to submit them to Ms. Leah Fuhrman at least TWO MONTHS prior to the start of your rotation.

Documentation Required

  • All students should review this document: Optometry Med. Student Letter
      • At least one month prior to the start of your rotation, review the Pre-Appointment Information Security Requirements Technical Instructions
        and the Pre-Appointment Information Security Requirements Screen Shot Instructions.
        These are the instructions to complete two online training courses, VA Information Security Awareness Training and VHA Privacy Policy Training.  You can access the courses here:

        • Click on Create New User
        • Click on Health Professions Trainee, then click NEXT
        • In My Account Information, answer ALL questions
        • Under Job Information:
          1. VA City:  Palo Alto
          2. VA State:  California
          3. VA Location Code:  click on the arrow and type P ad choose PAL (VA Palo Alto Health Care System)
          4. Trainee Type:  choose “All other health professions”
          5. Specialty/Discipline: click on the arrow and type O and choose Optometry student
          6. VA Point of Contact First Name:  Leah
          7. Va Point of Contact Last Name:  Fuhrman
          8. VA Piont of Contact Email Address:
          9. VA Point of Contact Phone Number: (650) 493-5000 ext 69602 (Not sure if the system allows you to enter Leah Fuhrman’s extension of 69602.  If it does, please try to.  If not, ignore it.
        • Training courses must be completed at least TWO MONTHS prior to the start of the rotation. After completing each course, you will receive a certificate verifying completion. Please email the certificates to Leah Fuhrman at:
  • Please report to the VA at 7:45 a.m. for the first day of clinic. You must:
    • Bring two forms of original ID with you (e.g. driver license and passport; OR driver license and social security card; OR driver license and student ID with photograph). Names on 2 IDs have to be matched and not expired (for example: John K. Doe and John King Doe is OK).  Fingerprinting instructions will be emailed to you by Leah Fuhrman and must be completed prior to the start of the rotation.  A photo ID will be taken care of in the afternoon of your first day of clinic over at the VA Palo Alto.
    • Provide Social Security Number if you haven’t previously.
  • International Students and Social Security Numbers:
    • Health professions trainees (HPTs) training at VA medical centers receive temporary Federal appointments and personal identity verification credentials. To be properly vetted and eligible to participate in training, non‑US citizen HPTs who are temporarily in the United States must have:
    • A nonimmigrant F-1 or J-1 student classification; or, an I-20 (or DS-2019) certificate of eligibility; AND
    • A US Social Security Number
    • Unfortunately the use of a “pseudo-SSN” is prohibited in certain Federal systems. Your facility may have found work arounds, however use of a pseudo-SSN, or other 9-digit number, will not be permitted after May 1, 2018. Therefore, we are notifying the field in advance of this change in the onboarding process for non-US citizen trainees.

Documentation Submit to and Date

  • At least TWO MONTHS prior to the start of your rotation (or THREE MONTHS prior if you are a Permanent Resident or non-US citizen), please contact Ms. Leah Fuhrman so that she can schedule your Human Resources appointment:
    • VA Palo Alto Health Care System, 3801 Miranda Avenue, 112, Attn: Leah Fuhrman, Management and Program Analyst, Mail Code 112/OPTOM, Palo Alto, CA 94304; Tel: 650-493-5000 ext. 69602;
  • For other questions, you may also contact at Dr. David Yang at (925) 373-4700 x35246 (Monday and Wednesday) or (650) 493-5000 x68041 or x62026 (Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday) or at
  • Contact Person: Leah Fuhrman
  • Clinical Teaching Faculty and Optometry Trainee Program Coordinator:  Tran Nguyen, OD,
  • Type of Practice: VA Hospital
  • Selective Service Card (register by Age 26)
  • Social Security Number required

Absence Policy

  • Any leave must be requested at least 1 month in advance of the desired day off and be pre-approved by the Optometry Trainee Program Coordinator.  Requested leave will be granted only at the discretion of the Optometry Trainee Program Coordinator.
  • Granted days off may require an assignment: PPT presentation (in addition to the presentation required for all trainees), summary of an assigned journal article, or an AAO style case report as noted below.  The type of assignment will be determined by the Optometry Trainee Program Coordinator.
    • Boards: no additional assignment
      1. NBEO Parts I and 2: travel days are not approved for UCBSO or SCCO students as these tests are offered locally.
      2. NBEO Part 3: travel days are allowed 1 day prior to and 1 day after the date of the Part 3 examination, unless the test date falls on a Monday or Friday.  In which case there is no travel day allowed prior to the test if the test falls on a Monday and there is no travel day allowed after the test if the test falls on a Friday.
      3. Law test: the student is requested to schedule their test in the morning so that he/she is able to return to clinic in the afternoon after taking his/her 1 hour law test
    • Religious holiday: no additional assignment
    • AAO, AOA, SECO: 1 additional assignment for the entire meeting; any other meeting will be a case-by-case decision of the Program Coordinator
    • Residency interviews: 1 additional assignment for each day taken off ; the maximum number of days off that can be granted is 5 days
    • Approved personal leave (e.g. personal wedding, etc) or sick leave, 3 additional assignments for each day taken off
    • Death in immediate family or personal childbirth: no additional assignment
  • If the optometry trainee calls in sick on a previously requested day off that was denied, they must come to their assigned clinic first, be personally noted as sick by the Optometry Trainee Program Coordinator or assigned Supervising Practitioner, after which they will be sent home. If the trainee fails to come into clinic on that day, they will fail the rotation and be sent back to their school for lack of professionalism.
  • Optometry trainees who are achieving a passing grade, but miss ≥ 10% of their assigned clinic days, will receive an “incomplete”.  Optometry trainees who miss ≥ 10% of their assigned clinic days and are achieving a failing grade will still receive the failing grade.


  • All Optometry Trainee Program Coordinators maintain an open-door policy.  If you have any concerns, please talk to your  Program Coordinator immediately.  If you feel uncomfortable talking with your Optometry Trainee Program Coordinator, you can discuss matters with the Optometry Training Program Director.  Optometry Trainee Program Coordinator at VA Palo Alto:  Katherine Portugal, OD, FAAO and, OD; Optometry Training Program Director: Lee Vien, OD, FAAO.