Residency Profile: Chinle Service Unit IHS

Residency Programs

Chinle Service Unit IHS

Established: 2008
Positions: 1

Chinle Service Unit IHS
Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility
Indian Health Service
Chinle, AZ 86503

Program Faculty

Residency Director: Brandon Runyon, OD, FAAO


  • Adriana Medina, OD
  • Joel Causey, OD
  • Valerie L. Sharpe, OD, FAAO
  • Monica L. Faley, OD, Chief of Optometry

Mission Statement

The mission of the Chinle Service Unit Optometry Residency Program is to provide qualified post-doctoral optometry graduates with an advanced educational experience focused on primary eye care and ocular disease management in a hospital based setting.

The vision of the program is to foster an attitude of life long learning that will continue to guide residents beyond the completion of the program, promoting patient centered clinicians who are capable of providing high quality and safe optometric services.

Residents will receive clinical and didactic training that will insure the development of advanced competencies in eye, vision, and health care.

Residents will be exposed to the Navajo culture in a fashion that facilitates the development of culturally sensitive, compassionate care. 

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Program Description

Program Goals & Objectives

GOAL 1. Enhance the resident’s skills in primary eye care and ocular disease management.

  • Objective 1.1: Provide the resident with an extensive primary care patient base.
  • Objective 1.2: Strengthen the resident’s ability to diagnose, treat and manage ocular disease by providing a variety of challenging and complex optometric cases including, but not limited to, the following: ocular disease, trauma, unusual refractive errors, and ocular related systemic disease. 
  • Objective 1.3: Increase the resident’s experience with pre- and post-operative care. 

GOAL 2. Expand the resident’s proficiency with specialized diagnostic instrumentation.

  • Objective 2.1: The resident will develop skills in performing and interpreting retinal imaging with optical coherence tomography (OCT), fundus autofluorescence (FAF), and ophthalmic ultra-sonography (B-scan).
  • Objective 2.2: The resident will develop skills in performing digital anterior segment and digital fundus photography with fundus autofluorescence.

GOAL 3: Strengthen the resident’s ability to provide patient-centered care through patient education, communication, and shared decision making.

  • Objective 3.1: The resident will develop skills in providing both direct and translation assisted patient education, communication and shared decision making in a cross cultural setting.

GOAL 4:   Provide advanced optometric clinical training in a hospital-based setting.

  • Objective 4.1: The resident will function effectively within a multidisciplinary health care environment, promoting the resident’s competence in interfacing with practitioners in other health care disciplines (ex. emergency medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, radiology, public health nursing, mental health) and developing skills in providing coordinated care through appropriate communication and collaboration.
  • Objective 4.2: The resident will develop an understanding of, and learn to appropriately utilize the support services that are available within a medical health care system    
  • Objective 4.3: Provide an opportunity to observe ophthalmologic sub-specialists and other health care practitioners in a clinical setting and thereby learn to function effectively within inter-professional environments, demonstrate understanding of the role of other professionals and communicate and collaborate more effectively with other practitioners.

GOAL 5: Expose the resident to contemporary methods of ongoing provider performance improvement, quality assurance, and peer review.

  • Objective 5.1: The resident will learn to apply current methods of assessing provider performance to facilitate improvements in patient care through practice pattern modification and self-adjustment.

GOAL 6: Foster the resident’s ability to advance and master their knowledge base by analyzing the best current scientific information and assist in integrating this knowledge into patient care through evidence-based clinical decision making.    

  • Objective 6.1: To expand the resident’s knowledge base by emphasizing the importance of maintaining a current awareness of standards of care within the medical community at large and of applicable clinical and scientific literature.  The residents will be expected to integrate and apply this knowledge into patient care through evidence based clinical decision making.

GOAL 7:  Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to join the global discussion among members of the medical community through the presentation of clinical experiences and/or research.

  • Objective 7.1:  To instruct and advise the resident in the preparation and presentation of a clinical lecture.         
  • Objective 7.2: To educate the resident on the process of manuscript preparation and require that the residents meet SCCO at MBKU’s mandated deadlines.
  • Objective 7.3: The residents will develop an understanding of and experience the responsibilities of an optometric educator. 

Typical Daily or Weekly Schedule in Clinic

  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Start Date: typically begins on August 1st and continuing through July 31st.
  • Hours:
    • Monday – Friday with lunch from 12pm – 1pm (scheduled 80 hours every two weeks)
    • After completion of the first month, a “flex schedule” may be approved which includes one weekday off during each two week pay period.
    • Detailed hours and schedules for the resident are specified in the CSU Residency Manual.
  • Call Schedule:
    • The resident will be on-call after hours for one week per month (6:00 PM to 8:00 AM on weekdays and 24 hours per day on the weekend).
    • The on-call experience is structured to provide increasing independence in providing after hours services.
      • The first month of the program is spent on team call with an attending
      • After the first month, the resident will have an assigned attending for backup during each of their scheduled call weeks for in-person or phone consultation as needed.
      • Resident will provide call services independently when deemed appropriate by residency coordinator.
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Didactic Activity 8:00-8:30
Direct Patient Care 8:30-5:00 8:30-5:00 8:30-5:00 1:00-5:00 8:30-5:00
Lunch 12:00 – 1:00
Scholarly Activity       8:00-12:00  
Administrative Time 5:00-5:30 5:00-5:30 5:00-5:30 5:00-5:30  

On-site Observations:

  • The resident will have the opportunity to observe on-site medical disciplines and optometry specialties over the course of the program.
    • On-site optometry specialties: optometry minor procedures clinic (lump and bump clinic – established in 2014)
    • On-site medical disciplines: emergency medicine, radiology, pediatrics, internal medicine/family practice, general surgery, and pharmacy.
    • On-site medical specialties: rheumatology, dermatology, neurology, cardiology, and other specialties are on-site periodically and may allow for observation.

Ophthalmology Observations:

There will be scheduled time for clinical and surgical observations with ophthalmology sub-specialties during the course of the program.

  • On-site ophthalmology: no full time or part-time ophthalmology at Chinle Hospital
  • Off-site ophthalmology: cornea/refractive surgery, cataract, retina, glaucoma, oculoplastics, and neuro-ophthalmology.

Type and Number of Patients

  • Approximately 80% of the resident’s time is spent in clinical care:
    • Direct patient care with full technician support
    • Primary and secondary eye care services for management of anterior and posterior segment ocular disease
    • Outpatient, inpatient (adult and pediatric), and emergency department care settings
    • Minimum of 1,200 patient encounters
    • Prior residents have seen an average of 2,000+ patients per year
  • Patient demographics:
    • All ages from neonate to elderly
    • Across the spectrum of development
  • Specialty Optometric Care:
    • Opportunity for observation in the CSU Optometry Minor Procedure Clinic (“lump and bump” clinic).
    • Direct care in minor procedures clinic is subject to optometric training and state licensure.
  • Post-operative care provided for several sub-specialties of ophthalmology:
    • Cataract
    • Glaucoma
    • Retina
    • Cornea
    • Oculoplastics

Teaching Responsibilities

The resident will be required to periodically assist in the education of medical students, Army medics, and staff technicians, but not at the exclusion of an independent patient care schedule.

Lecturing Opportunities

The resident will be required to present at least:

  • One (1) continuing education lecture topic to the CSU Medical Staff during a scheduled lunch time CME
  • One (1) continuing education lecture at a national optometry meeting or IHS Optometry meeting.

Scholarly Activities

Scholarly activities will include the following:

  • Residency Reading List:
    • A reading list covering various topics in ocular and systemic disease will be maintained and updated periodically by the resident in collaboration with the faculty.
  • Residency Discussion Series:
    • Program faculty will conduct formal discussion and/or case presentations on topics supported by the articles from the residency reading list throughout the program.
    • Topics covered include ocular trauma, B-scan ultrasound, neuroimaging, laboratory testing, post-operative care, uveitis, minor surgical procedures (with wet lab), lasers, infectious keratitis, and others.
  • Journal Clubs:
    • Participation in the Navajo Area Indian Health Service (NAIHS) residents Journal Club
    • Participation in the CSU Optometry Journal Club
  • Inpatient Rounds:
    • Participation in internal medicine/family practice and pediatrics inpatient rounds.
  • Thesis Paper:
    • Preparation of a manuscript of publishable quality.

Requirements for Residency Completion and Awarding of Certificate

  • The resident is required to keep a detailed log of all required program activities, which will be reviewed by the SCCO at MBKU   Assistant Dean of Residencies and the Residency Coordinator
  • The resident is required to provide patient care services at a level deemed satisfactory to the Residency Coordinator and faculty, in line with the highest levels of current optometric standards of practice.
  • The resident is required to submit a publishable quality paper based upon original research, literature review, and/or clinical case or cases suitable for publication in a peer reviewed optometric journal. 
  • The resident is expected to deliver patient care services in a professional manner and to observe those proprieties of conduct and courtesy that are consistent with the rules and regulations governing SCCO at MBKU and the IHS.
  • Upon evidence of satisfactory performance in meeting all requirements of the program, the resident will be awarded a Certificate of Residency Completion by SCCO at MBKU.

Additional Employment Opportunities



The annual residency stipend will be approximately ($64,228) based upon a GS-9 step 1 in the federal pay scale system.


Health The resident is responsible for obtaining his or her own health insurance; employee related health immunizations are available to the resident at no charge.
Holidays All federal holidays.
Educational Travel Appropriate travel leave to attend an approved continuing education conference. Typically residents do not receive a travel stipend.
Vacation 12 days of annual leave (4 hours accrued per 2 week pay period)
12 days of sick leave (4 hours accrued per 2 week pay period)
Liability Malpractice coverage provided under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Continuing Education The resident is expected to attend the Biennial HIS Eye Care Conference in Fullerton, CA or the Navajo Area IHS meeting in Durango, CO. Additional CSU medical staff continuing education opportunities are available.
Information Resources N/A


  • Must be citizens of the United States of America
  • ​Must have earned an O.D. degree from a school or college of optometry accredited by the Council on Optometric Education prior to the beginning of the residency program
  • Must have passed all parts of the NBEO examinations and furnish the CSU Residency Program with official copies of the results.
    • Passage of ISE is recommended (but not required)
    • Passage of ISE is required for residents who wish to provide direct care in the Optometry Minor Procedures Clinic during the program.
  • Applicants must be eligible for licensure as an optometrist in a state, territory, or commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia
  • ​Required Application Materials:
    • Optometry Residency Matching Service (ORMS) application
    • Letter of intent including a statement of goals applicant hopes to achieve during the residency program
    • Curriculum vitae (CV)
    • Minimum of three (3) letters of recommendation from faculty members and/or clinical preceptors commenting on personality and professionalism
    • Official transcripts for all optometric education
    • Official copies of NBEO scores
  • Interview:
    • An interview is mandatory either in person or via telephone for competitive applicants
    • Interviews will be scheduled based on application information and quality of credentials
  • Application Deadline:
    • A completed application must be submitted to the Optometric Residency Matching Services, Inc. (ORMatch) no later than January 31st of the year during which the applicant is applying for a residency.

Selection Process

The selection process is guided by a ranking system where the following components will be scored:

  • GPA
  • ​NBEO scores
  • Letter of Intent & Goals
  • Letter of Recommendations commenting on personality and professionalism
  • Interview

All residency program applicants will be evaluated without regard to sex, race, color, creed, age, national origin, or non-disqualifying physical disabilities

Program Accreditation

Accredited by the ACOE.


Housing is located on site at the Chinle Hospital federal compound in Chinle, Arizona.  Typical rental costs for one to three bedroom apartments are $280 - $450 per month respectively.

Local Activities & Attractions

  • Chinle is located in the heart of the Navajo Indian reservation with abundant opportunities to experience a vibrant Native American culture.
  • Chinle is an outdoor lovers paradise with unlimited access to hiking, camping, biking, climbing, skiing, snowboarding and more in the vicinity.
    • Canyon de Chelley National Monument (only 5 minutes away)
    • Mesa Verde, Canyonlands & Arches National Parks (3 hours away)
    • Flagstaff, AZ & Mount Humphrey (3 hours away)
    • Moab, Utah (3 hours away)
    • Telluride & Durango Mountain resorts (4 hours away)
    • Grand Canyon National Park (4 hours away)

Site Visit & Interview Schedule

Interviews will be scheduled based on application information and quality of credentials.

Site visits typically last one half day (~4-5 hours), and are scheduled as a morning or afternoon session on select dates in January and February. Both sessions includes lunch with the CSU Eye Clinic staff doctors at a local restaurant.

Please contact the Residency Coordinator for available dates. Special requests for alternative interview dates due to extenuating circumstances will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Contact Info

Brandon Runyon, OD, FAAO
Staff Optometrist, Optometry Residency Coordinator
Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility
PO Drawer PH
Chinle, AZ 86503
928.674.7839 • Fax: 928.674.7700 • Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Judy W.H. Tong, OD, FAAO
Assistant Dean of Residencies
Southern California College of Optometry at
Marshall B. Ketchum University
2575 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92831-1699
714.449.7429 • Fax: 714.992.7811• Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)