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Residency Profile: Crownpoint Healthcare Facility

Residency Profile: Crownpoint Healthcare Facility

Residency Programs

Crownpoint Healthcare Facility


Established: 1995
Positions: One

Crownpoint Healthcare Facility
P.O. Box 358
Crownpoint, NM 87313-0358
(505) 786-6249
Fax: (505) 786-6435 (ATTN: EYE CLINIC)

Program Faculty

Residency Coordinator: Nazret Weldeghiorgis, OD

Attending: Michelle Mijares, OD, FAAO

Mission Statement

The mission of the residency program is to provide a comprehensive experience in primary care optometry and ocular disease optometry in a multi-disciplinary hospital setting for postdoctoral optometric practitioners to continue to cultivate their clinical and educational growth. Residents in this program will provide optimal patient and primary eye care to Native Americans of all ages in an educational-clinical setting that utilizes a multi-disciplinary team of professionals to direct and carry out patient care. Fostering an appreciation for the culture of the Navajo people will help insure that the resident appreciates and becomes a caring and compassionate provider for all patients with diverse cultures.


Program Description

Program Goals

  1. Strengthen the resident’s primary care and ocular disease skills.
  2. To provide the resident with a practical understanding of the patient care components of an IHS health care system which may be representative of other health care systems that the resident will encounter in their future.
  3. Expand and enhance the resident’s ocular and systemic health care knowledge base.
  4. Provide a forum for the development of the resident’s interest in scholarly activity.

Program Objectives

  1. Provide the resident with an extensive patient base.
  2. Provide the resident with a variety of diverse, challenging, and complex cases such as anterior uveitis, ocular trauma, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, retinal detachment, ocular infections, unusual refractive errors, and others.
  3. The resident will work within and develop an understanding of the interdisciplinary concept of health care.
  4. The resident will develop an understanding of the support services that are available within a medical center health care system.
  5. Require the resident to read at least one ocular health care journal article per week, and encourage the resident to review other health care literature.
  6. The resident will develop an understanding of other health care disciplines.
  7. Review SCCO mandated deadlines in the process of manuscript preparation.
  8. Instruct and advise the resident in the preparation of clinical presentations.
  9. The resident will develop an understanding of and experience the responsibilities of an optometric educator.

Typical Daily or Weekly Schedule in Clinic

  • Duration of program: 12 months (Start date August 1, subject to change based on administrative factors)
  • Clinic hours: Monday through Friday (8:00am – 5:00pm) with lunch from 12:00pm – 1:00pm.
  • The resident has the option of a regular schedule (Monday-Friday 8 hours per day) or a Compressed/Flex Schedule (8 or 9 workdays in a 2 week period) upon approval.  
  • The resident will be expected to take emergency room calls when deemed appropriate.
  • The day is finished after all the patients are seen and the daily case discussions are through.

Rotation through other Services

  • The resident may rotate through several interdisciplinary outpatient clinics within Crownpoint Health Care Facility.
  • In addition, the resident may rotate through Ophthalmology sub-specialties in Gallup, NM, and Albuquerque, NM.
  • The resident may also rotate through several optometry service units within the Navajo Nation during the program, primarily the clinics in Pueblo Pintado, NM and Thoreau, NM.

Type and Number of Patients

Approximately 85% of patient care includes:

  • Providing comprehensive primary eye care examinations on a significant volume of patients with various visual and ocular problems.
  • Participation in the joint management, treatment, and consultation of patients with ocular disease.
  • Co-manage patients with other health care specialties.
  • Provide prescription for eyewear, topical and/or oral medications, perform non-invasive therapeutic procedures (e.g. foreign body removal), and order indicated laboratory testing and imaging studies within the scope of the resident's current practitioner license and current hospital privileges.

Approximately 15% of patient care encounters may include the supervision of 4th-year students.

Teaching Responsibilities

The resident may supervise 4th-year students.

Lecturing Opportunities

  • The resident will present lectures on a regular basis in the Eye Clinic to staff
  • The resident will present a case report at the annual IHS conference.
  • The resident may present an ocular disease presentation to the medical staff.
  • The resident may present lectures to ophthalmic technician conferences within Navajo Nation

Scholarly Activities

A publishable paper suitable for submission to a professional journal is a requirement for completion of the residency program. The resident may choose a topic from a lecture they have presented during the year. Preparation for the paper is done with guidance and assistance from the residency director.

The resident will receive didactic training, which includes:

  • Daily clinical case reviews
  • Weekly clinical discussions/grand rounds
  • IHS journal clubs
  • IHS/NAIHS optometry meetings
  • Hospital multidisciplinary continuing education

Additional Employment Opportunities

Due to the option of an alternate schedule, the resident may have one week day to use, at their option, for moonlighting purposes in order to supplement their resident income and to network for future employment opportunities. Local opportunities require a New Mexico or Colorado state license.


The annual stipend is $91,997 (GS-11, Step 1 in the federal pay scale system) with biweekly disbursements for the 12 months paid through IHS.



The resident has the opportunity to purchase federal health insurance. Employee related immunizations are available at no cost.


The resident receives 11 federal holidays.

Educational Expenses

Expenses related to educational travel are paid by the resident.


The resident accrues 4 hours of annual leave and 4 hours of sick leave in each pay period.


As a federal employee, the resident is covered by the Tort Claims Act. If the resident chooses to engage in outside (moonlighting) activity, s/he is responsible for obtaining adequate malpractice insurance.

Continuing Education

Indian Health Service Optometry meetings are held annually, giving each resident an opportunity to present to IHS optometrists and accrue continuing education credit. Residents may also attend one national (AAO, AOA) meeting during the residency cycle.  

Information Resources

IHS gives NIH access to numerous ophthalmic, primary care, and healthcare specialty subscriptions.

The SCCO Library provides a journal service of up to 5 articles per month per resident on request. Remote access to journals is also available.

Crownpoint Eye Clinic has a modest amount of ophthalmic reference textbooks.



  • Applicants must be citizens of the United States of America.
  • Applicants must have earned an OD degree from a school or college of optometry accredited by the Council on Optometric Education prior to the beginning of the residency program.
  • The applicant must apply through the Optometric Residency Matching Services, Inc. (ORMS) and follow the application guidelines. The deadline for application submission is January 31.
  • Applicant must have taken and passed all applicable parts of the NBEO examinations, including the TMOD.
  • Applicants must provide CHCF residency program with the following: a letter of intent with goals outlined, official transcripts of all optometric education, official copies of NBEO scores, three letters of reference and a curriculum vitae.
  • Ranking is as follows:
    • Interview 20%
    • GPA 15%
    • NBEO scores 15%
    • Letter of Intent 10%
    • Letters of Recommendation 20%
    • Special qualities/characteristics 20%
      • Maturity
      • Professionalism
      • Communication Skills
      • Attitude
      • Ability to get along with others
  • An interview is mandatory either in person or via telephone.
  • 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.
  • All residency program applicants will be evaluated without regard to sex, race, color, creed, age, national origin, or non-disqualifying physical disabilities.

Requirements for Residency Completion and Awarding of Certificate

  • The resident is required to keep a detailed log of all required program aspects, which will be reviewed by the SCCO Director of Residency Programs and the CHCF Residency Coordinator.
  • The resident is required to provide patient care services at a level deemed satisfactory by the Residency Coordinator and faculty, in line with the highest levels of current optometric standards of practice.
  • The resident is required to participate in the Indian Health Service (IHS) Residents Journal Club.
  • The resident is expected to examine a minimum of 1200 patients during the course of the program.
  • The resident is required to submit a paper based upon original research, literature review, and/or clinical case or cases suitable for publication in a peer reviewed optometric journal. A topic for the case report or research project should be selected by October 3rd; the abstract of the case report or research project is due on December 1st; the 1st and 2nd draft of the paper will be submitted by March 1st and May 1st respectively; and the final paper is due on July 2nd.
  • 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 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.

Program Accreditation

The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) continued the status of “accredited” for the program in 2012. The next currently scheduled site visit is 2022.


Government housing is available at a low monthly rate.

Local Activities & Attractions

  • Proximity to wide open spaces and the San Juan mountains of Southern Colorado provide multiple recreational opportunities. Snow season is especially plentiful with Purgatory Ski Resort (3 hours), Telluride (4 hours), and Wolf Creek Ski Resort (4 hours) nearby.
  • National parks and monuments within a few hours drive.
    • Grand Canyon (4.5 hours)
    • Zion National Park (6.5 hours)
    • Moab, UT (4.5 hours)
    • Antelope Canyon (5 hours)
  • Total envelopment in Native American culture.

Former Residents

2021-2022  Fawad Zadran - SCCO
2020-2021  Tina Nguyen - SCCO
2018-2019  Tiffani Jackson - NOVA
2017-2018  Roger Studd
2016-2017  Jennifer Anderson 
2015-2016  Brian Shih - SCCO
2014-2015  Nazret Weldeghiorgis - UCB
2013-2014  Sahil Dosaj - WUCO
2012-2013  Karen Tong - SCCO
2011-2012  Scott Bartlett - UCB
2010-2011  Marisa Kim - SCCO
2009-2010  Mei Huang - SCCO
2008-2009  Raj Bajwa - SCCO
2007-2008  Chris Cordes - SCCO
2006-2007  Luisa Alvarez - SCCO
2005-2006  Stacy Washington - SCCO

Contact Info

Nazret Weldeghiorgis, OD
Residency Coordinator
Crownpoint Healthcare Facility
P.O. Box 358
Crownpoint, NM 87313-0358
505.786.6249 • Email:

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: