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Ocular Disease/Low Vision Rehabilitation Residency Program

Basic Information

Category Title: Ocular Disease
Program Area of Emphasis: Glaucoma, Low Vision Rehabilitation
Program Site: Kansas City VAMC
Program Location: VA
Program Address: 4801 Linwood Blvd

Kansas City, Missouri 64128
Phone Number: (816) 861-4700 x 57434
Fax Number: 816-922-3382
Affiliation: University of Missouri at St. Louis, College of Optometry
Director of Residency Education:

Julie Ott DeKinder, O.D.

Program Application Deadline: February 1
Program URL:

Program Description

Date Program Established: 07/1975
Accreditation Status: Accredited

Click here for more information about accreditation of optometric residency programs.

Combined Residency/Graduate Program: No
Program Mission Statement:

The mission of the Kansas City VA optometry residency is to help highly motivated residents become excellent doctors with expertise in ocular disease and low vision care. We want residents to develop into doctors who are confident, independent, keenly interested in self-awareness and self-improvement, and who know how to learn on their own. We want to develop their abilities as doctors scientifically through the understanding and application of evidence based medicine. We also want to develop their abilities as doctors humanistically through readings and conversations about the art of doctoring. We further want to develop great teachers - teachers of patients and of students - through readings and conversations about the art of teaching.

Program Description:

Learning eye disease in the Kansas City VA Optometry Residency is an exciting mix of didactic education, self-study, and patient care. We understand that there are three steps to learning the medicine of optometry: learning the facts; organizing the facts; and applying the organization to helping your patients. Our experience is that optometry school does a nice job of teaching the facts. We think we excel at helping you to organize the material so it makes sense to you, so you can recall it, and so you can take excellent care of your patients. (This would be a great topic to discuss with our former residents when you contact them.) The third step (applying the organization to patients) is, of course, the most important and you will do it better when you have mastered the organization.

Residents will see a wide range of glaucoma, macular disease, cataract, and diabetic patients. You will be given a lot of decision-making responsibility for these patients. We want to provide just the right amount of guidance to help you grow as a decision maker. You'll see many other eye problems, but in less frequency than those four.

Each day begins with an hour discussion of eye disease (we also do this for 3 hours on Friday afternoons). We think the discussions are relevant, stimulating, and thought provoking (another statement to verify with our former residents). They are designed to help you to understand eye disease in a way that doesn't require rote memorization. Instead, they give you a framework to figure out a solution to any patient problem - even if you haven't seen it before. Your education in eye disease will be most influenced by the patients you examine. They will provide the experience you need and, as importantly, be the source of the questions you ask. The best students of any kind are the best questioners. We want to encourage your interest in, and nurture your ability to become, a great questioner. All learning begins with a question - when you ask great questions here, you will be rewarded with an opportunity to learn. A fundamental goal of our program is to develop great lifelong learners - doctors who see the value in studying about patient care and doctors who excel at reading an article. So, much of your learning will be done on your own, but we want to guide you through this as well. We will teach you how to read and interpret medical literature, so you can draw your own conclusions and apply your learning to excellent patient care. You will become an expert at reading and applying evidence-based medicine.

Program Length: 1 year
Number of Positions Available in Program: 3
Program Starting Date: The last week in June
Typical Weekly Hours and After-Hours Responsibilities:

45 hours

Requirements for Completion:

Completion of the 12 months of residency Patient care requirements Participation in discussions and lectures Presentations and tutorials for fourth year students & faculty A publishable quality paper or poster or detailed tutorial Attend a major optometry conference

Program Salary/Stipend: 35,420
Program Benefits and Liability Coverage: Health Coverage

Professional Liability Insurance


Paid Sick Leave

Travel Allowance

Completion Certificate: Yes
VA Hospital Affiliation: Yes

Key Contacts

Program Coordinator, Coordinator Title: Timothy Harkins, Residency Director
Telephone: (816) 861-4700 x 57434
E-mail Address:
Program Co-Coordinator, Co-Coordinator Title:
E-mail Address:

Application Information

Application Materials and Procedures:

Timothy Harkins, O.D. Director, Kansas City VAMC Residency Programs Kansas City VA Medical Center 4801 Linwood Blvd. Kansas City, MO 64128 (816) 861-4700 x 57434

Selection Procedure and Admission Criteria:

Residency Selection Procedure: A.Applicant initiates process by applying through ORMatch or by contacting Dr. Harkins. B.We respond to the application with a letter of introduction, which includes encouragement to visit the facility and interview if they are interested. The letter also encourages the applicant to call the program coordinator for phone numbers of former residents and to visit the web page. C.The interested applicant phones the coordinator for an interview date. D.Upon arrival for the interview, the applicant spends an hour observing morning education session, interviews individually with each faculty, and lunches with the current residents. E.The selection procedure is to discuss the applicants and arrive at a consensus ranking for the ORMatch match. F.The rank is sent to ORMatch match and the residents are selected. Admission Criteria: - O.D. degree from a school or college of optometry that is accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (prior to the starting date). - Successful completion of NBEO exams. - 3 Letters of recommendation. - Interview. - Eligible for state optometry license. - U.S. citizen. - GPA 3.4 (out of 4.0) or higher. - Completion of ORMatch application. The ORMatch application will include a CV, a letter of intent, 3 letters of recommendation, and transcripts (this material will be forwarded by ORMatch to the program.)

United States citizenship is required to qualify for VHA appointment in a paid VA optometry resident position funded by the Office of Academic Affiliations. Reference: VA Handbook 5005/57, Part II, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3.g.(1) & (5)(c), dated June 14, 2012.
Program Application Deadline: February 1

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