U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Student Opportunities


For information on the Indian Health Service Scholarship Program please visit the I.H.S. Scholarship website.


Many of the IHS Optometry Programs have affiliations with the various schools and colleges of optometry for externship experiences. These are non-paid learning assignments located primarily in rural sites. Some of the rural locations provide housing and meals at no or little cost. No expenses or housing is provided at urban externship sites. For existing clinical rotations, check with your School of Optometry, or contact our IHS Student Coordinator:

Pamela G. Conrad, OD
Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation- Optometry Department
PO Box 528
Bethel, AK 99559
(907) 543-6410
Email: Pam_Conrad@ykhc.org

Julie Schornack, OD
Director for External Programs
Southern California College of Optometry
2575 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92631-1699
(714) 449-7418
Email: jschornack@scco.edu


The IHS offers five Primary Care (disease heavy) Residency Programs. All are associated with Southern College of Optometry. All sites are filled through the ORMS system. For more information on each program check out the Residency Program link on SCCO’s web site. You can also get information from the Residency Program Coordinator for the program you are interested in, or for information on all IHS Residencies contact:

Julie Schornack, OD
Director for External Programs
Southern California College of Optometry
2575 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92631-1699
(714) 449-7418
Email: jschornack@scco.edu


Judy Tong, OD, FAAO
Director of Residency Programs
Southern California College of Optometry
2575 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92631-1699
(714) 449-7429
Email: jtong@scco.edu

Hospital-Based Primary Care Optometry

Northern Navajo Medical Center
Attn: Leslie Meyer, OD, FAAO
PO Box 160
Shiprock, NM 87420-0160
(505) 368-7115
Email: Leslie.Meyer@ihs.gov

This program emphasizes the enhancement of the resident's abilities in diagnosis and management of ocular disease. In addition to patient care, the resident obtains experience in public health eyecare programs that are of particular interest to Native Americans in under-served areas of the Navajo Nation. With an interdisciplinary team approach, the resident will gain extensive experience with management of the patient from a comprehensive health care perspective.

Chinle USPHS Indian Hospital
Attn: Chelsia Leong, OD
PO Drawer PH
Chinle, AZ 86503
(928) 674-7163
Email: Chelsia.Leong@ihs.gov

The mission of this program is to provide qualified post-doctoral optometry graduates with an advanced educational experience focused on ocular disease management in a hospital based setting.

The vision of the program is to foster an attitude of lifelong learning that will continue to guide residents beyond the completion of the program, promoting patient centered clinicians who are capable of providing high quality and safe optometric services. Residents will be exposed to the Navajo culture in a fashion that facilitates the development of culturally sensitive, compassionate care.

Crownpoint USPHS Indian Hospital
Attn: Karen Tong, OD
PO Box 358
Crownpoint, NM 87313-0358
(505) 786-6249
Email: Karen.Tong@ihs.gov

The training focus is on primary care optometric services with emphasis on ocular pathology, injury treatment and public health preventative care. The program offers extensive opportunity for interdisciplinary consultation and ocular disease management in an isolated rural setting.

Gallup Indian Medical Center
Attn: CDR Michael Davis, OD, FAAO
Dept 18
PO Box 1337
Gallup, NM 87305
(505) 722-1326
Email: michael.davis@ihs.gov

The mission of this training program is to provide qualified postdoctoral optometry practitioners with an outstanding educational experience that will nurture their development in to exceptional caring clinicians with broadened general skills and additional specialized skills. The resident is trained to fully integrate their skills within a medical center and public health care system. The program strives to create an atmosphere that fosters an appreciation and a sense of caring for the Native American populace the resident serves.

Hu Hu Kam Memorial Hospital
Attn: Erin Havens, OD
PO Box 38
Sacaton, AZ 85247
(602) 528-1200 ext 544
Email: ehavens@grhc.org

The emphasis of the program is clinical assessment and management of patients of all ages in an interdisciplinary setting. The resident receives extensive training in, and exposure to, ocular pathology, including therapeutic management of anterior segment disease, diabetic retinopathy, and trauma.

Santa Fe Indian Hospital
Attn: Keith Cespon, OD, FAAO
Santa Fe Indian Hospital
1700 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, NM 87505
(505) 946-9219
Email: Keith.Cespon@ihs.gov

The mission of the hospital based optometry primary care residency program is to graduate residents with exceptional knowledge, skills, and abilities in clinical diagnosis/management while serving the Native American population in Northern New Mexico. 

There is a strong emphasis on ocular disease management  of all ages, including significant diabetic/glaucoma exposure/anterior segment care. Additionally, the resident will be actively involved in comprehensive pediatric care within the public health system.

Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation
Attn: Ronda Olson, OD, FAAO
Tuba City Regional Heath Care Corporation
P.O. Box 600
Tuba City, AZ 86045
(928) 283-2748
Email: Ronda.Olson@TCHEALTH.ORG

The mission of Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation residency program is to provide qualified postdoctoral optometry graduates with the advanced clinical education necessary to become practitioners who are able to deliver broad based primary care and ocular disease management in a hospital based setting. This program will provide academic and clinical experiences that will enable residents to expand their knowledge base, strengthen their patient care skills, and participate in research and other scholarly activities.

Zuni Comprehensive Community Health Center
Attn: Paula Johns, OD
PO Box 467
Zuni, NM 87327
(505) 782-7486
Email: Paula.Johns@ihs.gov

The mission of the optometry residency program is to graduate residents with exceptional knowledge, skills and abilities they competently apply in diagnosing and treating pathology in a culturally and patient sensitive manner, in concert with other health disciplines. The resident’s clinical experience includes direct comprehensive patient care in a multidisciplinary hospital setting with an emphasis on the treatment and management of ocular diseases and injuries in patients of all ages. The location provides a cross cultural experience and allows the resident to experience the unique and ancient Zuni Pueblo culture in the midst of a highly scenic part of the southwest dotted with National Parks and Monuments.

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