Kaiser Permanente Awards $32,000 Grant to EyeSmile Outreach Program

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Pacific University has received a $32,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente NW. The grant will support the growth of Pacific’s EyeSmile Outreach Program, providing healthcare for underserved populations and hands-on experience for Pacific’s graduate and professional students.

The EyeSmile Outreach Program unites mobile healthcare programs in Pacific’s College of Optometry and the School of Dental Hygiene Studies.

The College of Optometry acquired a new 33-foot mobile clinic, the EyeVan, in Spring 2017, traveling throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington to serve migrant families, children at Head Start centers, students in area schools, and adults in partnership with local churches.

The School of Dental Hygiene Studies also has received philanthropic support to build a similar mobile unit for its SmileCare Everywhere Program. Expected to be complete in Spring 2018, the program partners with community organizations to provide clinical dental hygiene services and patient education to underserved populations.

The Kaiser Permanente grant will allow the programs to grow through a new clinic coordinator position. It also will provide resources to expand the services of both mobile clinics. The EyeVan is expected to provide 50 percent more comprehensive eye examinations offered in the next five years, while the dental care outreach program plans to increase services by 75 percent.

The EyeSmile Outreach Program not only allows Pacific to serve the healthcare needs of local communities; it also provides hands-on clinical training for graduate and professional students en route to becoming healthcare professionals. The outreach programs expose Pacific students to community health settings and to a broader patient base, while allowing them to collaborate in interprofessional healthcare teams.

Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente is recognized as one of America’s leading healthcare providers and not-for-profit health plans, currently serving 11.8 million members. Kaiser Permanente provides high-quality affordable healthcare services and seeks to improve the health of its members and the communities it serves. For more than 70 years, Kaiser Permanente has shown commitment to improving total community health through grants for charitable and community-based organizations. Through its grant-making program, Kaiser Permanente addresses the social, economic and environmental determinants of health.

Pacific University is home to nearly 4,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students in the arts and sciences, business, education, health professions and optometry. In addition to its four campuses in Oregon, Pacific operates several optometry and health clinics throughout the greater Portland area as part of its graduate-level focus on preparing healthcare providers. In November 2017, the university launched the public phase of Lead On: The Campaign for Tomorrow at Pacific University, an $80 million fundraising effort to support endowments, innovations, and learning environments and resources such as the EyeSmile Outreach Program.

Dec. 14, 2017