Primary Care Optometry - Ocular Disease

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Sponsor:  VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center & Clinics, 8495 Crater Lake Highway, White City, OR 97503

Academic Affiliate:  Pacific University College of Optometry, Forest Grove, Oregon


The residency program at VA SORCC is a one-year post-doctoral educational program centered on clinical training which results in the resident’s attainment of advanced competencies in eye, vision, and health care. The program will emphasize delivery of primary eye care and ocular disease management to both inpatient and outpatient Veterans enrolled at the facility. The program seeks to advance the competency, confidence, knowledge, and skill level of the practicing optometrist within a multi-disciplinary health care setting.

General Information

Residency Program Coordinator: 

Aaron Severson, OD

Residency Program Faculty:

Mark Ostermeier, OD
Christopher Jovez, OD
Kiana Saqr, OD

Length of Program:  52 weeks (July 1st through June 30th)

Number of Positions:  1

Salary:  $43,924 – not contingent upon productivity of the resident

Hours:  Regular clinic hours for the resident will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. As with any clinical position, hours of attendance vary.

Leave:  The resident accrues four (4) hours of annual leave and two (2) hours of sick leave during each 2-week pay period. In addition, there are ten (10) paid Federal holidays during the residency year. The resident can also request authorized absence for attendance at continuing education activities.

Professional Liability Protection:  The U.S. Government accepts responsibility for the actions of its employees during exercise of official duties. VA residents are protected by the Tort Claim Act in instances of alleged malpractice resulting from performance of their duties in or for the Veterans Health Administration.

Health Insurance Benefits:  The resident is provided information about healthcare benefits during the VA SORCC orientation. Optional health insurance coverage is offered to the resident; biweekly premiums will be deducted if the resident elects to enroll in such insurance. Long-term disability insurance is not provided.

Requirements for Completion: 

  • Attend and document all assigned clinical, scholarly and didactic activities.
  • Present a COPE-approved oral lecture at the Pacific University of Optometry Northwest Residents Conference.
  • Achieve at least an "average" combined rating of 3 (1=lowest, 5=highest score) in the Clinical Performance and Case Management Skills sections on all resident evaluations, or successfully complete a remediation program.  For "Below Average" evaluations (1 or 2) in other areas, improve performance to the satisfaction of the Residency Coordinator and the Director of Residencies at Pacific University College of Optometry.
  • Complete all assigned evaluations of the program and faculty.

Program Goals

Goal 1:  To advance the competency, knowledge and skill level of the resident through exposure to significant, diverse and challenging patient encounters.

Goal 2:  To improve patient care management skills in a multidisciplinary health care team setting.

Goal 3:  To enhance the resident’s leadership and teaching skills and encourage scholarly interests.

Goal 4:  Stimulate a commitment to service and life-long learning by the resident.

Residency Experience

Strengths of the Program

The main emphasis of this program is clinical assessment and management of both inpatients and outpatients in a multidisciplinary health care environment.  The education experience will concentrate on the delivery of primary eye and vision care, with an emphasis on ocular manifestations of system disease, ocular disease, ocular side effects of systemic medications, and low vision.

Each resident will be examining at least 1200 patients at the VA SORCC eye clinic.  Approximately 85% of the resident's time will be spent in direct patient care; other activities include providing clinical preceptorship of fourth year optometry student interns, observation of ophthalmic surgery, didactic, and scholarly activities.  The resident will perform comprehensive eye examinations, consult with various health care practitioners in co-management, prescribe oral and topical therapeutic medication, perform ophthalmic procedures, and order laboratory and radiology studies as indicated for diagnosis and management.

Didactic and scholarly training is emphasized by the involvement of the resident in precepting optometry student interns, participation in a weekly optometry staff education/case report/journal club meeting, and presentation of a COPE approved oral education talk at Pacific University's Northwest Residents Conference.

On Tuesdays during the weekly optometry staff education/case report/journal club meeting, the resident will present interesting cases from previous week's encounters.  From these case presentations, an impromptu discussion may take place regarding the diagnosis, management, and treatment of the patient.  The resident may be assigned a topic to review and present at a later date, or the resident may be given a relevant journal article to read.

Scholarly Activities

The resident is required to complete a study/review/report and to present this work at the annual Northwest Residents Conference. The resident will also present case reports at the weekly optometry team meeting.

Continuing Education

The resident is entitled to attend VA and Pacific University sponsored CE at no charge for credit hours. A nominal fee for printed materials and meals may be required for some Pacific University functions. Authorized absence from clinical responsibilities can be granted for attendance at supervisor approved CE conferences.


The resident will present a lecture at the annual Northwest Residents Conference prior to the completion of the residency program. The resident will also present case reports at the weekly optometry team meeting.

Clinical Privileges

The resident is required to be supervised per VA Chapter 26 and Medicare regulations. The Optometry Residency Program Supervisor will maintain a clinical competence record, which determines the resident’s privileges.  The resident must obtain an Oregon license or another state license that has scope of practice laws equal to or greater than Oregon. The scope of practice at the VA is determined by the clinical privileges of the supervising faculty that are equivalent to the scope of practice permitted by Oregon Laws which allow optometrists to treat ocular conditions including foreign bodies and glaucoma, to prescribe topical and oral medications, to order any laboratory testing and to order any medical imaging. When a staff optometrist wants a patient to have surgery (for conditions such as pterygia, cataracts or retinal detachment) the optometrist places a computerized consult to local fee basis optometry or regional VA ophthalmology clinics. Staff optometry may arrange for expedited local fee out of ophthalmology services for emergent and urgent ocular conditions.

Performance Evaluations

The resident will receive written evaluations from the Residency Program Supervisor on a quarterly basis. The resident will evaluate the Residency Program Supervisor, attending doctors and the program biannually.


VA SORCC opened its doors to veterans in 1949 and is the former hospital of Camp White, built during World War II.  The 145-acre site is seven miles north of Medford, OR. VA SORCC cares for over 15,000 active veterans living in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

The Mission of VA SORCC is to serve as a national resource for eligible veterans, providing quality residential treatment in addictions, mental health, physical and vocational rehabilitation; to provide high quality primary outpatient medical and mental healthcare to veterans living in the Southern Oregon and Northern California regions; and strive, in partnership with the veterans served, to optimize social and vocational integration of the veterans into their communities.

The resident will work at the Veterans Affairs Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics. Clinical facilities are spacious and well-equipped to serve both patient needs and the residency program’s educational objectives.

Specialty Areas

Outpatients and Inpatients

VA SORCC provides primary medical care and mental health services to over 15, 000 veterans living in Southern Oregon and Northern California. In addition, VA SORCC has 600 residential rehabilitation beds with residents receiving specialized services such as Substance Abuse Treatment and Vocational Rehabilitation. Outpatients and Inpatients are eligible to receive comprehensive eye health and vision care at VA SORCC.

Low Vision

Visually impaired and legally blind veterans receive comprehensive eye health and vision care at VA SORCC, along with basic low vision services. Optometry staff members and residents work in conjunction with the Visually Impaired Service Team (VIST) coordinator to provide services to eligible veterans.  The resident will also complete a low vision orientation at American Lake Blind Rehabilitation Center in Tacoma, Washington.

Weekly Optometry Team Meetings

On Tuesday mornings during the weekly optometry team meeting, the resident will present interesting cases from the previous weeks’ encounters. From these case presentations, an impromptu discussion may take place regarding the diagnosis, management and treatment of the patient. The resident may be assigned a topic to review and present at a later date, or the resident may be given a relevant journal article to read. 

Administration Time

The resident is scheduled four (4) hours each week for administrative time. This time is intended to be used for research, preparation of case reports, review of charts and study.

Library and Research Resources

The resident will have access to the libraries and databases at VA SORCC that include an assortment of periodicals covering diverse areas of healthcare. Access to the internet for research and educational purposes is available at all computer terminals within the eye clinic and at the facility library. Additionally, the resident can apply for access to library facilities at Pacific University.

Computer Access / Email

Telephone service and computer workstations with email and internet access are available in each exam room within the VA SORCC eye clinic.

Southern Oregon Living

White City is a small community in Southern Oregon, located midway between Portland and San Francisco near Interstate 5. It is one of several cities and towns nestled in the Rogue Valley, known for its mild climate, beautiful scenery, pear orchards and unique festivals. Area attractions include the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland; camping, hiking and boat tours at Crater Lake National Park; specialty shops, cozy inns, museums, excellent dining and historic attractions from the Gold Rush years in Jacksonville. The Oregon Caves National Monument, Redwood National Park and the Pacific Ocean coastline are within short driving distances. There are festivals to enjoy, wineries to explore, scenic roads to travel, rivers to raft, trails to ride, mountains to climb and the wonders of nature at every turn.

The VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics are located on the 145 acre site that was the hospital at Camp White during World War II.

Housing & Cost of Living

Cost of living is slightly below the national average. Rentals cost an average of about $1000 per month.

Commuting & Parking

White City is a small town, so commuting is not an issue. Those who choose to live in nearby Medford (population around 80,000) will have a 10–15 minute drive to the facility. Ample parking is available on-site without charge. Public transportation by bus is available to and from the facility.

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates must earn the degree of Doctor of Optometry from a school or college of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education prior to the starting date of the residency.

Candidates must have passed the NBEO Part I and have taken Part II by the application deadline.  The selected candidate must pass all parts before the start date of the residency.  The selected candidate must be eligible for state licensure and obtain licensure in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia before completion of the VA residency.

By congressional law, candidates must be citizens of the United States.

Candidates must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or provide an approved exception before beginning residency training at any VA.  If vaccine exception for medical or religious reasons is declared, the resident must submit to regular COVID testing issued at the VA site they doing their training (outside testing will not be accepted).

It is the policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics to provide equal opportunity in employment for all qualified persons; to prohibit discrimination for all qualified persons; to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability; to ensure that the workforce profile will clearly reflect a meaningful distribution and utilization of minority and female employees, and to provide for the prompt, fair and impartial consideration and disposition of complaints involving issues of discrimination on grounds of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or reprisal.

Selection Process

VA SORCC complies with all ORMatch guidelines in the recruitment and selection of residents and participates in the computerized match program.  The application process officially begins with the resident registering with ORMatch online at  The resident applicant registers with ORMatch by submitting agreement compliance with ORMatch Rules, an Applicant Agreement, OE Tracker Number, and a registration fee.  Once registered, the resident applicant will submit the following documents to ORMatch:

  • Application
  • Letter of Intent
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Unofficial optometry school transcript
  • Two letters of of reference are required from faculty members who have been most responsible for the clinical education of the applicant.
  • The VA SORCC Residency Coordinator and Director of Residency will review all applications and will offer interviews those who best match with our program.  Notification of interview status will be sent by February 15.  Interviews will take place in February and March.
  • The application deadline is January 31.


Interviews will be scheduled by phone or other video conference technology.  The interview typically consists of a group discussion with optometry clinic staff regarding the residency program and the candidate's goals and qualifications.  An on-site interview and facility tour may also be scheduled if desired.

Call or Email Today

For additional information about this residency opportunity, please contact:

Aaron Severson, OD | Residency Program Coordinator
VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center & Clinics Optometry Residency Program

8495 Crater Lake Highway
White City, OR 97503 /

541-826-2111 ext. 3115 |