Friday, August 29, 2014

Visiting Alumni

I just returned from a trip with our Director of Development, Lynne Corboy, to visit alumni in Maryland and Virginia. It was a great trip as I had the opportunity to see how professionals from both optometry and audiology have used their skills to improve the lives of their patients both here in the U.S. and abroad.  It was also very nice to visit one of our retired alumni who has contributed a great deal to his community and our profession.  More on that later.  During the trip we stayed at the lodging facility on the U.S. Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia.  Having served in the Washington DC area for many years I was very familiar with the base - and it felt good to go back.  One of the high points of my stay was a quick visit to the Naval Health Clinic on Quantico (Navy Medicine takes care of the Marines) where I wanted to show Lynne what an integrated care model looked like in practice.  The clinic integrates dentistry, primary care in the form of a Medical Home, optometry, pediatrics, mental health and other specialities under one roof.  When patients are seen in their Medical Home, if they require specialty care, often they are walked down the hall for either a same day appointment or an appointment within a week.  It's a very effective and efficient way to deliver health care; a model we need to embrace here at Salus.

One of the high points of my visit to the clinic was running into some officers whom I've had the privilege to work very closely with in the past who have become part of my "Navy Family".  It's great to be able to maintain these important relationships even though I've since moved on into academia.  We've followed each other's careers and I've been honored to serve as a mentor for many of these officers over the years.  So why bring this up? (Lots of themes bouncing around in this blog entry!)

Well, we all develop personal and professional relationships and I would argue, extended families as we move through our professional programs.  You will develop very special bonds at Salus who will become your extended "Salus/Professional Families".  These will be folks you meet during the course of your time at the university that become not only life-long friends but confidants and extended family members you know you can count on (and they count on you) as you navigate through your education subsequently professional lives.  These relationships are something to be nurtured and cherished over time.

Now back to our alumni - our extended professional family.  The most "mature" family member we visited graduated in 1948 and is still active doing gardening, working out and giving advice to his step son, a current optometric provider.  Another of our family members is doing some very interesting work with macular pigmentation while the other is helping to change the lives of children in Kenya leveraging their skills as an Audiologist.   I think it's important to recognize what our extended family members are doing to better the lives of those they touch so we can determine what we might be doing to both augment and build upon their successes.

As we get ready to say farewell to Summer this weekend and get ready to jump into the academic and clinical cycles with fervor it's also a good time to reflect on those special relationships we've developed or will be developing and what they mean to us professionally and personally.  Take some time this weekend to recharge your batteries, energize some of your personal and professional relationships and come back next week ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

Wishing everyone a very safe and fun Labor Day Weekend.

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