Columbia University Medical Center
In Vivo - The Newsletter of Columbia University Medical Center
Home
Back Issues
Contact Us
Calendar
Contents
In Vivo
in the community


Eye Institute Reaches Out to Screen for Glaucoma

The Department of Ophthalmology has received a grant of $19,000 from the Friends of the Congressional Glaucoma Caucus Foundation to launch a glaucoma screening outreach program at CUMC for the Washington Heights community. The grant includes $10,000 for equipment and $9,000 for program and staff. Charles Rangel (D-NY), made the presentation at a special ceremony at the Harkness Eye Institute in October.

from left: Stanley (Bud) Grant, president and CEO of Friends of the Congressional Glaucoma Caucus Foundation; Congressman Rangel, whose 15th District includes Washington Heights; Stanley Chang, M.D., chairman, Department of Ophthalmol-ogy; James Tsai, M.D, chief, Glaucoma Division; Steve Shea, M.D., H. Southworth Professor of Medicine; and Paul Lipson, aide to Congressman Jose Serrano of the Bronx's 16th District.


Present at the grant presentation for a glaucoma screening program in Washington Heights were, from left: Stanley (Bud) Grant, president and CEO of Friends of the Congressional Glaucoma Caucus Foundation; Congressman Rangel, whose 15th District includes Washington Heights; Stanley Chang, M.D., chairman, Department of Ophthalmology; James Tsai, M.D, chief, Glaucoma Division; Steve Shea, M.D., H. Southworth Professor of Medicine; and Paul Lipson, aide to Congressman Jose Serrano of the Bronx's 16th District.

The grant covers the creation and maintenance of a Student Sight Saver Program to implement a community-based Glaucoma Screening Program. Medical students will be recruited, trained and supervised by Dr. Tsai and his colleagues Lama Al-Aswad, M.D., Rajendra Bansal, M.D., Max Forbes, M.D., and B.Dobli Srinivasan, M.D.

One screening session a month is planned during the academic year (September – June), or about 7 to 8 sessions a year. Patients initially will also be referred to the Eye Clinic at the Harkness Eye Institute for help in obtaining either Medicaid or Medicare. About 40 people are expected to be screened at each session. At the first session in September during CUMC's community health fair, the ophthalmology staff screened more than 90 people.

"This program will provide a vital communication link between Columbia University Medical Center and the Washington Heights community," says Dr. Tsai. "Dr. Stanley Chang and the entire faculty and staff are committed to community outreach programs that elevate the level of medical awareness, education, and care in the surrounding community."

Epidemiological studies suggest that people of both Afro-Caribbean and Hispanic descent are at a very high risk of developing glaucoma. Screening in Washington Heights, with its large Dominican population, is therefore especially important. Apart from its benefits to the community, the screening program will provide an educational and fulfilling exposure for medical students who may be interested in pursuing a career in ophthalmology. A similar program was launched last year at Harlem Hospital.

Top