SUNY Optometry and Community Healthcare Network Unveil Eye Mobile

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NEW YORK, April 16, 2019 — The State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry and Community Healthcare Network (CHN) today unveiled Eye Mobile, a mobile health unit, during a ribbon cutting ceremony at CHN’s Washington Heights health center. The partnership will expand access to eye and vision care for more than 5,000 New Yorkers in low-income and underserved communities in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx each year.

The Eye Mobile van will expand access to eye and vision care for New Yorkers in low-income and underserved communities.
CHN acting chief medical officer Dr. Sachin Jain, CHN chief of staff Elana Berman, Assemblymember Victor Pichardo, SUNY Optometry president Dr. David A. Heath, SUNY Optometry director of health care development Dr. Richard Soden and CHN general counsel David Gross during Eye Mobile ribbon cutting ceremony, Washington Heights, April 16, 2019.

Eye disease and visual impairment are among the top 10 causes of disability in New York State, according to Dr. Sachin Jain, CHN’s acting chief medical officer. Additionally, 23 percent of individuals 40 years or older in New York State say they do not receive vision care due to the high cost or lack of insurance.

“Each year CHN made more than 5,000 referrals to optometry services. Half of those referrals never turned into appointments,” said CHN president and chief executive officer Robert M. Hayes. “It is critical that we provide them with access to the care they need and deserve in the community.”

The Eye Mobile van includes two fully-equipped exam rooms for dilated retinal exams, eye condition diagnoses, management of long-term conditions and the prescription of corrective lenses. It will rotate between CHN health centers and will be available for all community members to book appointments.

“About four years ago, CHN senior leaders and I met to discuss the possibility of adding eye care at their sites, which ultimately led to a realization that an optometry mobile van could serve all the CHN facilities,” said Dr. Richard Soden, director of health care development at SUNY Optometry. “What was a concept a few years ago became reality with the help of many dedicated individuals along with support from state legislators.”

Funding for Eye Mobile came from Assemblymember Victor Pichardo, Assemblymember Vivian Cook, Assemblymember Diana Richardson and the late Assemblymember Denny Farrell.

About Community Healthcare Network
Community Healthcare Network is a not-for-profit organization providing access to affordable primary care, dental, nutrition, behavioral health and social services for diverse populations throughout New York City. CHN serves more than 85,000 individuals a year who would otherwise have little or no access to critical health care. CHN is composed of eleven Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and NCQA designated Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), two School Based Health Centers (SBHC), and a fleet of mobile health units. To learn more about CHN visit our website at www.chnnyc.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

About SUNY Optometry
Founded in 1971 and located in New York City, the State University of New York College of Optometry is a leader in education, research and patient care, offering the Doctor of Optometry degree as well as MS and PhD degrees in vision science. The College conducts a robust program of basic, translational and clinical research and has 65 affiliated clinical training sites. SUNY Optometry is regionally accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools; its four-year professional degree program and residency programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association. All classrooms, research facilities and the University Eye Center, which is one of the largest optometric outpatient facilities in the nation, are located on 42nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in midtown Manhattan.

Media Contact: Amber E. Hopkins Tingle, 212.938.5607, amber@sunyopt.edu