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Residency Profile: Greater Los Angeles / Sepulveda VA Medical Center, North Hills, CA


Greater Los Angeles / Sepulveda VA Medical Center, North Hills, California

Established: 1992

Positions: Three

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Programs Faculty

Co-Coordinators: Steven Ferrucci, OD and Brenda Yeh, OD

Mission Statement

The mission of this residency program is to provide optometric practitioners with the experience, skills, training, and knowledge necessary to develop advanced competence through direct patient care in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of diseases and disorders of the eye and the ophthalmic manifestations of systemic disease as part of an interdisciplinary team to a predominantly geriatric population. Additionally, the resident will further their optometric knowledge by engaging in didactic and scholarly activities.

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Program Goals

1. To ensure that the resident acquires sufficient experience in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of diseases of the ocular and visual systems.

2. To ensure that the resident develops advanced skills and competence in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of diseases of the ocular and visual systems. 

3. To ensure that the resident develops advanced knowledge in order to diagnose, treat, and manage diseases of the ocular and visual systems. To reinforce and expand the resident’s knowledge base in ocular disease and ocular manifestations of systemic disease. 

4. To instill in the resident the importance and value of professional development

Program Objectives

1.1:  The resident will have no less than 1200 patient encounters in a primary and secondary care setting.
2.1:   The resident will diagnose, treat, and manage multiple cases of ocular diseases. Common ocular disorders encountered on a weekly basis include dry eyes, cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, as well as urgent care patients.
2.2:   The resident will acquire hands-on experience in advanced techniques such as scleral depression, gonioscopy, epilation, foreign body removal, rust ring removal, OCT and OCT Angiography interpretation, VF interpretation, fundus photography, pachymetry, and more.
2.3:   The resident will detect and diagnose ocular manifestations of systemic diseases, communicate with patients’ primary provider and specialty providers through consults, and order laboratory tests and imaging studies as needed.
3.1:   The resident will attend weekly seminars and lectures presented by VA faculty affiliated with MBKU.
3.2:   The resident will write a manuscript (research paper or case report) suitable for publication in a reviewed healthcare journal, or prepare a poster suitable for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry or other similar conference. Additionally, a PowerPoint presentation or poster will be presented at SCCO residency forum held in the Spring. The attending optometrists will guide the residents in this process.
4.1:  The resident will be encouraged to attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry or other similar national conference.

Typical Weekly and Daily Schedule at the SVA

  • The residency will be one calendar year in length, beginning on (or about) July 1, continuous for 365 days, and ending on (or about) June 30.
  • Normal duty hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (40 hours of assigned duties per week), although clinical patient care activities may conclude after 4:30 p.m. on some days, and the resident is required to remain until all patient care activities are concluded. Optometric Grand Rounds are on Thursday afternoons. There are no on-call, evening, or weekend assignments.

The resident will spend approximately 80-90% of their time in direct patient care activities. The resident will perform full comprehensive primary and secondary eye examinations, consult with various health care practitioners and ophthalmologists in co-management of systemic conditions and ocular manifestations, prescribe oral and topical therapeutic medication, perform non-invasive procedures, and order laboratory and radiology studies as indicated for diagnosis and management.

Routine clinics are scheduled every 30 minutes with some flexibility to allow for urgent walk-ins and consults.  Since the site has 3 residents, our residents “share” clinics in the fact that they see patients who have arrived rather than strictly seeing a set schedule.  This helps reduce patient wait times and promotes teamwork.  If a resident has a vested interest in a specific patient due to the nature of the condition or for the improved continuity of care, the resident is encouraged to continue to care with that patient.

Residents Weekly Schedule

Resident #1

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:00 AM to 12 PM Patient Care Patient Care Patient Care/Nursing Home* Patient Care Patient Care
1 PM to 4:30 PM Patient Care Patient Care Patient Care/Admin Time Clinical Seminar Patient Care


Resident #2


  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:00 AM to 12 PM Patient Care Patient Care Patient Care Patient Care Patient Care
1 PM to 4:30 PM Patient Care Patient Care/Admin Time Grand Rounds

Clinical Seminar

Patient Care


Resident #3


  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:00 AM to 12 PM Patient Care Patient Care Patient Care Patient Care Patient Care
1 PM to 4:30 PM Patient Care Patient Care Patient Care Clinical Seminar Patient Care/Admin Time

*Nursing Home eye care services are provided bedside to patients who live on campus. Comprehensive or problem focused exams will be performed by residents with mobile/hand-held equipment. This rotation has been temporarily suspended due to COVID.

Type and Number of Patients

The resident will provide and manage a minimum of 1200 patient encounters to the Veterans through direct patient care. This population is predominantly geriatric with primary and secondary eye care needs. The resident will encounter varying degrees of patient complexities and co-morbidities which serves as an advanced clinical learning platform.

Scholarly Activities w Lecturing Opportunities

The resident will spend approximately 10-20% of his time in scholarly and didactic activities. Didactic training is emphasized through weekly attendance of the Optometric Clinical Seminars on Thursday afternoons. Conducted as a series of lectures and workshops by members of the residency faculty, staff, and invited guest speakers, this program is designed to present the essential core of optometric knowledge in a manner conducive to learning and retention. To achieve this objective, each of the sections of the course curriculum contains related aspects of basic and clinical science. As an educational program, the Optometric Clinical Seminars serves primarily as an adjunct to optometric residency training.

The resident will also present a formal presentations to the GLAVA Optometry department at one Clinical Seminar and at the SCCO at MKBU Residency Forum; these presentations help the resident become comfortable with public speaking and provides a sense of achievement. The resident is encouraged to submit posters and/or presentations to national meetings such as the American Academy of Optometry (AAO); attendance at AAO, or a similar national meeting, is encouraged and the resident is given Authorized Absence. Additionally, the resident must complete a publishable quality paper or case report.


For 2023-2024, the optometry resident is paid an annual stipend of $50,505. The stipend is determined by VA Central Office and is subject to review once every two years. Any changes mandated by VACO will be implemented by the WLAVA. Paychecks are deposited via Direct Deposit biweekly.


Health Health insurance is available. Premiums will vary depending on type of coverage selected.
Holidays All federal holidays are observed by the Eyecare Center (New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day).
Educational Travel "Authorized absence" is granted for attendance at the American Academy of Optometry meeting in October or equivalent national professional meeting. A travel stipend is provided by SCCO from funds generated by attendance at the Grand Rounds Clinical Education program by private practitioners. “Authorized absence” will only be granted for a second National Optometry meeting if the resident is lecturing or presenting a paper or poster.
Vacation Residents accrue 4 hours of "annual leave" (vacation) and 4 hours of “sick leave” per 2-week pay period, for a total of 13 days/year each. Annual leave must be requested ahead of time to ensure that it would not interfere with patient care or educational activities. Unused annual leave is reimbursed at the conclusion of the year.
Liability Professional liability is covered by the VA under the Federal Employees Liability Reform and Tort Compensation Act when performing activities within the scope of the training program at the VA. Liability coverage does not include care provided through “moonlighting.”
Continuing Education Residents earn over 120 continuing education credit for attendance at Optometry Clinical Seminars.
Information Resources

The VA has numerous ophthalmic, primary care, and healthcare specialty online journal and textbook subscriptions.

The VA has a medical library that can obtain print copies of articles by request.

The SCCO Library provides a journal service to residents. Remote access to journals is also available.

Local university libraries are open to the public.


Application Requirements

  1. Applicant must apply through the OR Match and follow the application guidelines. The deadline for application  submission is January 31.
  2. Applicant must have earned an OD degree, or will have earned such a degree by the time of graduation, from an  accredited school or college of optometry.
  3. Applicant must have taken and passed Parts I and II and TMOD of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO)  examination.
  4. Except under extenuating circumstances, only candidates with a cumulative grade point average of 2.50 or higher  on a 4.00 scale for their optometric education will be eligible for consideration.
  5. Three letters of reference are required from full-time faculty members or Attendings who have been most  responsible for the clinical education of the applicant.
  6. Applicant must provide CV, letter of intent, official NBEO scores and official optometric transcripts.
  7. Applications will be evaluated by the Residency Coordinator.
    1. Interviews are required.
    2. Interviews may not be offered if the applicant does not meet the application requirements.
    3. Interviews may not be offered if the request to schedule is after the application deadline.
  8. Applicant must be eligible  for licensure as an optometrist in a state, territory, or commonwealth of the United  States, or the District of Columbia and attain broad-scope licensure, including full therapeutic privileges, prior to  the residency start date of July 1.
  9. By congressional law, candidates must be citizens of the United States.

Upon receipt of the ORMatch application, The Residency Coordinator will then assemble the application materials and create a file for each applicant. Although not a prerequisite for selection, interviews, typically in person or via video conference, are requested of specific candidates based upon the quality of their credentials, their supporting documents, and the quantity and quality of competing candidates. Viable candidates are directly informed that, if selected, documents in support of their credentials must be submitted for verification as required by facility policy. Candidates are advised that they must obtain State licensure that includes therapeutic licensure; however, a California license is not required.

Selection Procedure

No candidate will be discriminated against based upon race, color, sex, religion, creed, national origin, age, or non-disqualifying physical impairment.

The ranking process is initiated when the Residency Coordinator receives notification from ORMatch of a resident candidate’s application to the program.

The Residency Coordinator must receive the following documentation for a candidate to be considered for a residency position:

  1.   ORMatch application
  2.   Curriculum Vitae
  3.   Transcripts of NBEO scores
  4.   Transcripts of optometric education
  5.   Three (3) letters of recommendation
  6.   A brief statement regarding a desire to complete this residency program (letter of intent)

An interview will be granted based on the quality of the credentials, supporting documents, and the quantity and quality of competing candidates. Following interviews and just prior to the deadline date for submission of a ranking list to ORMatch, the Residency Coordinator ranks candidates in consideration of the combined relative quality of each applicant’s credentials, interview, and other intangible factors such as their professional characteristics.

Each candidate will be ranked based on the following criteria, with the weighting system as below (approximate) :

Interview 50%
GPA 10%
NBEO scores 10%
Letter of Intent 10%
Letters of Recommendation 10%
Special qualities/characteristic (intangibles) 10%
  Communication skills
  Ability to get along with others


The Residency Coordinator submits a ranking list of preferred candidates to ORMatch. Simultaneously, candidates independently submit a ranking list of preferred programs to ORMatch. Utilizing these ranking lists, ORMatch algorithmically matches residents to programs. ORMatch subsequently informs the program and the candidates of the outcome. In the event of not being matched, the Residency Coordinator can pursue interested candidates from the remaining unmatched pool or may consider any other qualified individual.

The SCCO at MBKU Assistant Dean of Residencies is informed by the Residency Coordinators of the name of the matched candidates. The Assistant Dean of Residencies then simultaneously submits the name of the matched candidates to the Associate Dean of Clinical Education and Dean of SCCO at MBKU. The matched candidates’ names are then recommended to the President at MBKU, and the candidate is appointed as a resident affiliated with SCCO at MBKU.

Requirements for Residency Completion and Awarding of Certificate

  • Be present for complete academic year from July 1 through June 30 for the entire tour of duty exception on approved vacation, sick or authorized absence days.
  • The resident is required to keep a detailed log and report the following quarterly: Patient Encounter and Diagnosis Log (or VA CPRS Encounter Activity Report), Referral Log, Activity Log, Reading Log, Faculty Evaluations, Program Evaluations, and Final Evaluation of Residency Program. All of the submissions will be reviewed by the Asst. Dean of Residencies and the Residency Coordinator.
  • The resident is required to provide patient care services at a minimum of 1200 patient encounters at a level deemed satisfactory to the Chief of Optometry / Residency Coordinator in line with the highest levels of current optometric standards of practice.
  • The residents are required to Attend the Greater Los Angeles VA Optometric Clinical Seminars Program, except on approved sick, vacation, or authorized absence days.
  • The residents are required to prepare and present a lecture for SCCO at MBKU at the annual Residency Forum.
  • 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.
  • The residents are highly encouraged to attend the American Academy of Optometry Meeting or another pre-approved meeting.
  • At the conclusion of the residency program, the resident must go through an “out process” which includes turning in his or her VA badge, keys to the facility, clinic coats, and de-activated in the computer system.

Program Accreditation

The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) continued the status of “accredited” for the program in 2014. The next currently scheduled site visit is May, 2023.


Housing is not provided by the VA for residents.  There is ample housing available in the local area.

Local Activities and Attractions

Cultural Activities, Entertainment and Dining


Parks & Recreation



Current Residents

Sara Ahdoot, OD
Sonya Apinyavat, OD
Sharon Han, OD

Former Residents

Grace Kim, OD
Jason Lee, OD
Eric Zhang, OD

Norman Chung
Jennifer Kwock
Billy Wang

Christina Lim
Kate Truong
Satenik Melkumyan



Steven Ferrucci, OD
Residency Co-Coordinator
Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center and Nursing Home
16111 Plummer St.
Sepulveda, CA 91343
818.891.7711 x32383 • Fax: 818.895.9535 • e-mail: 

Brenda Yeh, OD
Residency Co-Coordinator
Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center and Nursing Home
16111 Plummer St.
Sepulveda, CA 91343
818.891.7711 x32358 • Fax: 818.895.9535 • e-mail: 

Judy W.H. Tong, OD
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: 714.992.7809 • e-mail: