Our Distinguished History
In 1904, Marshall B. Ketchum, MD, a pharmacist, esteemed member of the medical community and early leader of the profession founded the Los Angeles School of Ophthalmology and Optometry. Dr. Ketchum strived to create a college with the highest possible quality of education and felt that practitioners of optometry had a deep responsibility to the community and visual needs of individual patients. Ketchum was among the early pioneers of optometry, advocating for the use of the retinoscope to determine the refractive status of the eye.
In order to meet the expectations being set by collaborative practice models for our students and future health care providers, President Kevin Alexander, OD, PhD, moved forward with deliberate plans to transition the Southern California College of Optometry from a single-discipline, independent college into a leader among small health care educational institutions.
Learn more about our history.
A Message from the Dean
As the dean for the Southern California College of Optometry, I thank you for your interest in our program.
As we seek to reimagine the future of health care education, we're making significant investments in technology to enhance our curriculum. The Eyesi Direct and Eyesi Indirect simulator systems enable students to learn BIO and direct ophthalmoscopy, without having to dilate friends, roommates or significant others. Learning is made fun, and valuable practice time is made accessible.
As a future optometry student, you'll be making a substantial investment of time and resources into your future career. There are many reasons why Marshall B. Ketchum University’s SCCO is worthy of your consideration. Here are just a few:
1 — Our Amazing Faculty
First and foremost, our faculty is committed to excellence in teaching. Whether in the clinic or the classroom, they are truly invested in their students’ success.
- Lecture and lab courses are taught by the same faculty who teach in clinic, carrying through foundational concepts to clinical application in patient care.
- Faculty are committed to being available, mentoring, and supporting student achievement.
- SCCO invests in faculty development, by continuing to advance their teaching skills, curriculum, and adapt technology to meet the needs of the modern student.
- Our faculty team are recognized leaders in the profession, serving in national and state professional associations and shaping the future of the profession.
2 — Innovative Technology
We invest in technology for both the classroom and clinic that enhances learning and showcases excellence in patient care. Simulation equipment, lecture capture and flipped classrooms are all deployed strategically to help students learn more quickly and confidently.
- VRMagic Simulators enable students to practice key clinical skills, such as binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy, at their own pace to be confident and efficient before they even see their first patient. VR simulators allow students to access real-life patient cases in the first clinical year.
3 — Exceptional Clinical Education
- Ketchum Health Anaheim, MBKU’s state of the art clinical facility, showcases optometry’s primary care role, and offers sub- specialty services including Cornea/Contact Lens, Pediatrics/Vision Therapy, Low Vision Rehabilitation, Dry Eye Clinic, Acquired Brain Injury, Sports Vision, among others.
- Patient care begins early in the curriculum. First year interns conduct vision screenings and observe third and fourth year clinicians. Second year interns begin seeing their own patients in the winter quarter.
- SCCO's Clinical Outreach Program has more than 80 clinical sites in the U.S. and abroad. For the fourth year of clinical education, students select three rotation sites, tailoring their last year of clinical education to meet their interest in the various areas of optometric clinical practice. The scope and variety of patient care experience provided through such an expansive program is enviable.
4 — Interprofessional Education for a Changing Health Care System
- Providing the majority of eye and vision care in communities, optometry’s primary care role continues to evolve, helping to meet gaps in patient care access.
- Optometrists are often the first to detect a systemic condition that affects a patient’s overall health (examples include diabetes, hypertension, and neurologic disease). Increasingly, the optometrist is recognized as a key member of the primary care team of medical professionals, as patients seek efficient, effective, quality care.
- To prepare our students for this role, MBKU has incorporated both interprofessional education (IPE) and collaborative practice (IPC) into the curriculum. Through IPE, optometry students learn alongside physician assistant and pharmacy students, as well as faculty about their respective roles and professions. Ketchum Health Anaheim is our flagship clinical site, providing collaborative practice opportunities that highlight communication, teamwork, and quality care amongst multiple providers.
5 — The Business of Health Care
- SCCO prepares future practitioners for both patient care and successful business practices in a diversity of settings.
- In addition to an extensive practice management curriculum, a student-led private practice club provides opportunity for leadership development, engagement with nationally recognized speakers, and networking opportunities with successful practicing optometrists that pave the way for career success.
6 — Student-Centered Culture
- The Student Achievement Center provides support services to help every student become a caring, inspired health care professional through academic and personal growth. Examples include peer advisor group, free tutoring services, counseling services and more.
- Co-curricular activities include student government, a leadership certificate program, Career Symposium, networking and community service activities.
- Personalized assistance with financial aid helps our students to be well-prepared to meet their obligations after graduation. Our graduates' loan default rates are consistently less than one percent.