The University of Alabama has announced the creation of three new endowed scholarships for young optometrists. To qualify, students must intend to practice optometry in rural areas.
As we all know, rural areas are some of the most under-served, medicinally. In some cases, it may be even worse for less essential fields, such as optometry. And while correctly prescribed glasses may not have the same urgency about them as a broken bone or a heart attack, they can greatly improve the quality of life of whoever needs them. I’m sure any of the glasses readers reading this post can attest to that fact!
This is a great step in the right direction. It’s helping to tackle to of the biggest problems of the US medical system (cost of education and unequal distribution of practitioners) in one sweep. Who knows what the face of rural optometry would look like if every optometry school had one of these programs? Living in rural West Virginia may be better than living in New York, optometry-wise. Maybe not, but surely the gap would begin to close.
For anybody looking at a career in the field of optometry, scholarships like these could be an important thing to look at. While the costs of education in the US continue to rise, anything that could help to offset or even prevent that debt is certainly worth a look, even if it might mean that you’re not living in New York.
The wilderness does, in fact, have its own charms. Once you have spent some time away from civilization, you may find yourself enjoying it. Life is slower. There’s more time to think. More time to exist. Who knows? Maybe a change of scenery is just what some high-achieving medical students need.
Of course, it’s not for everyone. But without trying, you’ll never know…