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Residency Profile: VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System / Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center / Nursing Home, Sepulveda, CA


VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System/Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center and Nursing Home, Sepulveda, California

Established: 1992

Positions: Three

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Programs Faculty

Coordinator: Steven Ferrucci, OD
Residency Faculty:  Brenda Yeh, OD

Mission Statement

The mission of this program is to train the resident in primary eye care at  an advanced clinical level through participating in direct patient care to a predominantly geriatric population.  While working as part of an interdisciplinary team, the resident will enhance his experience in diagnosing and managing ocular disease and the ophthalmic manifestations of systemic disease.  Additionally, the resident will further his optometric knowledge by engaging in didactic and scholarly activities.

Exam Room Exam Room Doctors Reviewing a Case on a Computer Doctors Reviewing a Case on a Computer


Program Goals

  1. Strengthen the resident’s optometric skills in advanced competencies in primary and secondary eye care.
  2. Expand the resident’s knowledge base in diagnosis and management skills in ocular disease, ophthalmic  manifestations of systemic disease, and ophthalmic side effects of systemic medications.
  3. Integrate the resident as a member of the interdisciplinary health care team in a hospital-based environment in  the management of patients with complex systemic disease and inter-related ophthalmic and systemic conditions
  4. Develop the resident’s contribution to optometric education and research through didactic and scholarly activities.
  5. Develop the residents knowledge in the eye care of a geriatric population

Program Objectives

1.1:  The resident will be exposed to numerous encounters with varying degree of complexities by direct patient care  activities in primary and secondary eye care.
1.2:   The resident will provide and effectively manage a minimum of 1200 patient encounters to the Veterans through  direct care.
1.3:   The resident will demonstrate proficiency in advanced primary eye care procedures.
2.1:   The resident will complete a thorough and accurate record of examination.
2.2:   The resident will be presented a variety of educationally unique cases.
2.3:   The resident will read and gain knowledge from a variety of health care and ophthalmic literature.
3.1:   The resident will fully utilize clinical and support services.
3.2:   The resident will make and receive referrals and consults
3.1:   The resident will order laboratory and radiology testing as needed to aid in diagnosis and management.
4.1:   The resident will be guided in the process of lecture or poster presentation.
4.2:   The resident will be guided in the process of manuscript publication.
4.3:   The resident is encouraged to attend pre-approved, educationally rich meetings (AAO, SECO, etc…)

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 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday (40 hours of assigned duties per week), although clinical patient care activities may conclude after 4 p.m. on some days. Optometric Grand Rounds on Wednesday afternoons may extend to 5 p.m. There are no on-call, evening, or weekend assignments.

The resident will spend approximately 80% 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 as well as Fluorescein angiographies, 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 consult.  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 team work.  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 care with that patient.

Residents Weekly Schedule

Resident #1

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


Resident #2


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

time/Admin time

Patient Care


Resident #3


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


Rotation through other Services

Each of the three residents is assigned a specific rotation and will be assigned that rotation for 4 months.  At the end of 4 months, the rotations will switch, so that each resident rotates through each rotation before the completion of their residency. Examples of this are the Flourescein clinic on Friday mornings as well as providing care at our Nursing home on Thursday mornings.

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 20% of their time in scholarly and didactic activities.   Didactic training is emphasized through weekly attendance of the Optometric Clinical Seminars on Wednesday 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 PowerPoint 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 2014-2015, the optometry resident is paid an annual stipend of $39,484.  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.
Holidays All federal holidays are observed by the Eyecare Center (Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s 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 monies generated by attendance at the Grand Rounds Clinical Education program by private practitioners.
Vacation Residents accrue 4 hours of "annual leave" (vacation) and 4 hours of sick leave per 2-week pay period. Annual leave must be taken at times that it would not interfere with patient care or educational activities. No vacation leave is granted during the last 2 weeks of the program in June.
Liability Liability coverage is provided for care of veterans and nonveteran employees referred by Administrative Medicine for eyecare.  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:  it provides up to 5 articles per month per resident on request.  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 recommended but not 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 but occasionally via phone contact, 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 desire to complete this residency program (letter of intent)

An interview will be granted based upon the quality of the credentials, supporting documents, and the quantity and quality of completing 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 upon 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: Patient Encounter and Diagnosis Log, Faculty Evaluation, Referral Log, Activity Log, Reading Log, 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 residents are highly encouraged to attend  the American Academy of Optometry Meeting or another pre-approved meeting.
  • 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.  Topic for the case report or research project is made by September 1st; the abstract of the case report or research project is due on November 1st; the 1st and 2nd draft of the paper is submitted by February 1st and April 1st respectively; and the final paper is due on June 1st.
  • 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 June, 2022.


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

Nicole K Hamilton, OD
Jeffrey Mattson, OD
Alyssa Shandrick, OD

Former Residents

Sarine Ishakian
Huma Siddiqui
Julia Umstead

Paula Matsuno
Melissa Vydelingum
Pedram Youabian

Marzena Gilbert
Nina Tran
Nicole Yang

Jimin Lee
Emily So
Brenda Yeh Lee

Amy Huang
Alex Park
Victoria Rossi

John Shan
Sunny Field

Harlan Synder
Joseph Wu
Yacoub, Robert



Steven Ferrucci, OD
Residency Coordinator
Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center and Nursing Home
16111 Plummer St.
Sepulveda, CA 91343
818.891.7711 x32383 • 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: