Dr. Jason Tu is a member of The Vision of Children Foundation's Optometric Partner Program and serves as a vital member of the program’s Advisory Board. Dr. Tu received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Irvine and his Doctor of Optometry degree from the Southern California College of Optometry. He is a member of the American Optometric Association, a Trustee of the California Optometric Association (COA) Board, a past member of the Education & Clinical Practice Committee of the COA, and a Past-President of the San Diego County Optometric Society.
The goal of VOC’s OD Partner Program is to empower optometrists to make an impact on the lives of people tomorrow by being a part of finding a cure for genetic vision disorders, in addition to the important work they are doing to take care of those with vision needs today. In hopes that sharing his experience with The Vision of Children Foundation would inspire other Optometric professionals to join the cause, Dr. Tu opened up to us about why he chose to become involved in VOC’s OD program. Check out what he had to say below.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GO INTO OPTOMETRY?
Optometry fell into my lap. I was on a path to dentistry. I grew up very poor and with good vision, never visited an optometrist. It wasn’t till a camping trip with a college friend that had just come back from optometry school that I even discovered what an optometrist was! The more we talked, the more intrigued I was in the field. The rest, as they say, is history.
AS AN OPTOMETRIST, WHAT PERSONALLY DREW YOU IN TO BE INVOLVED WITH THE VISION OF CHILDREN FOUNDATION (VOC)?
I’ve always been involved with one charity or another. While most of the vision related charities I’ve been involved with have served the vision needs of people in the here and now, VOCF was unique to me in that it focuses on research to cure hereditary childhood blindness and vision loss. This is an aspect I’ve never really thought about and believe should be on every optometrists’ radar.
HOW DOES YOUR PARTNERSHIP WITH THE VISION OF CHILDREN FOUNDATION BENEFIT YOUR PRACTICE?
It gives our patients and our team a sense of being a part of something much bigger than our little practice. We are contributing to the future of our kids and that increases morale of the staff and perception of our patients. Who doesn’t want to know that what they just spent is also helping others?
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO A COLLEAGUE CONSIDERING A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE VISION OF CHILDREN FOUNDATION?
I would tell them it’s a very easy way to contribute to an area that our profession has mostly neglected. VOCF has a variety of ways for you to participate, whatever you’re comfortable with doing. You can contribute on an automatic monthly basis like I do or you can tie it to some promotional thing you do at your practice, ie. OCT, Optos, etc.
WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE OF YOUR PARTNERSHIP WITH VOC?
I would like to see this program expanded statewide and then nationally with tie-ins to the charitable arms of organizations such as AOA, and the state associations, Vision West, Vision Source, etc.
WHAT IS THE MOST PERSONALLY REWARDING ASPECT OF YOUR PARTNERSHIP WITH VOC?
While I feel it is vital to continue to contribute to charities that help people attain eye care and glasses to see and improve their standard of living in the underprivileged population here or in third world countries, it is equally important to contribute to the research that will one day find the cures to hereditary childhood blindness and vision loss. They are two prongs to the same plug if you will. You need both to achieve your mission.
If you are interested in learning more about The Vision of Children Foundation's OD Partner Program, please contact Kara Griffin, Cause Marketing Manager at 858-314-7927 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.