Marshall B. Ketchum University is pleased to announce that the renowned non-profit healthcare organization QueensCare has awarded the University Eye Center Los Angeles (UECLA) with a $50,000 grant supporting its Underserved Vision Care Program. Over its many years of operation in the city of Los Angeles, UECLA has been an essential component of MBKU’s students’ optometric education and an indispensable healthcare provider to the community. An affiliation with QueensCare – itself a crucial lifeline for the underserved and uninsured of Los Angeles – is a distinction for which MBKU is deeply grateful.
“It is such an honor that QueensCare has chosen to partner with UECLA through this grant,” says Joan Rubio, Vice President of University Advancement. “Given their sterling reputation for caring for the underserved communities in and around Los Angeles, it validates the work we are also doing in these communities. The ability to come together with QueensCare and to extend arms further into the City of LA with their support is so vital.”
QueensCare pursues its mission of compassionate healthcare directly and in collaboration with other organizations. The grant money contributing to UECLA comes at a critical time for the clinic, its doctors, and its patients. The funds will in part support the imminent expansion of specialty vision services at UECLA. This is an exciting development that will positively impact the people of its community – as UECLA is the only clinic in the area able to offer these services. “I am particularly appreciative that a portion of the QueensCare grant is specifically earmarked for extended care,” says Dr. Dashaini Retnasothie, the UECLA co-director. “There is a notion that it is sometimes difficult to get patients at community clinics to return for extended care. However, what we have found is that if you can provide them the specialty services, they do come back because it changes the way they see and what they’re able to do.”
Dr. Lisa Wahl leads the UECLA with Dr. Retnasothie, and she is also thankful for the opportunities this grant affords. “The QueensCare organization knows more than anyone there is a need for this type of care in the community,” she says. “And this grant increases the great motivation that we already have to provide excellent quality care to these patients who may not be able to afford it or have access to it – or even know that it exists.”
The other factor making the timing of QueensCare’s grant particularly critical is the COVID-19 pandemic, revealing cracks and chasms in healthcare, particularly among low-income and underserved demographics. MBKU and QueensCare are among those organizations that are filling in the gaps. “The optometric services we provide to the community are essential right now, as we are seeing unique vision issues with so many children migrating to online learning,” says Joan Rubio. “Because schools are closed, we are temporarily not able to do some of the outreach programs we were doing. The QueensCare partnership is doubly beneficial because it allows MBKU to continue to reinvent ourselves during the pandemic, while at the same time, continuing the care that we’ve done for so many years.”
MBKU’s President, Dr. Kevin L. Alexander, has expanded the long legacy of serving the community while educating compassionate healthcare providers. This mission, with service at its core, already unites it in philosophy with organizations like QueensCare. “MBKU’s relationships with non-profit groups that provide health care to our shared communities are such an important part of fulfilling our mission,” says President Alexander. “We are thrilled and deeply grateful to collaborate with QueensCare on our work in Los Angeles. We look forward to continuing a partnership through which many of the underserved in our community can receive high-quality healthcare.”