VA Medical Center, Boston Health Care System, Jamaica Plain Campus, MA

Optometry, Rm B8-46
150 South Huntington Ave
Boston, MA  02130
VA Boston Health Care System

Phone: (857) 346-6669 / (857) 346-6669
Fax:  (857) 364-6538

Externship Supervisor
Doug Rett, OD
Phone: (857) 364-6040
Fax:  (857) 364-6538

Additional Faculty
Baharak Asefzadeh, OD
Paul Marescalchi, OD
Anthony Cavallerano, OD
Tak Chau, OD, Clinic Director
Susan Rodgin, OD
Nyssa Connell, OD 
Gerald Selvin, OD Chief of Optometry, Boston VA Healthcare
Robert Dunphy, OD  
Cheryl Landry, OD

Kevin Toolin, OD
VA Boston Healthcare System- Brockton Campus
940 Belmont Street
Brockton, MA 02301
Phone: (774) 826-1106

Program Description
The Jamaica Plain Campus of the VA Boston HCS has been designated to be the principle ambulatory care VA facility in the Boston area.  A new ambulatory care addition came on line in Spring 2000 and it houses primary care clinics, day surgery units and Operating Rooms.  VA Boston HCS is affiliated with Boston University Medical Center, Tufts New England Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School.  Trainees in all medical and allied health disciplines rotate through the various clinics of the JP Campus.

A full range of hospital medical, surgical, allied health, and mental health services are located at the JP Campus as well.  Additionally, our clinic is adjacent to Ophthalmology with cooperative interaction on some patients in order to properly manage them.

The workload at the JP Campus can be quite high.  Patients are mostly male, geriatric veterans with a high prevalence of ocular and multi-system disease (hypertension, diabetes, cataracts, glaucoma, anterior segment, retinal and neurological presentations).

Weekly Grand Rounds and presentations are held with attendings, residents, and students from the other VAs in the Boston Healthcare System (West Roxbury and Brockton).  Students will be expected to participate in a Grand Rounds literature review once during their three-month rotation.  Students may also have to do a case presentation during weekly Grand Rounds.

Additionally, clinical rounds take place at Jamaica Plain several times a week to review interesting cases.  Students are expected to present a single, formal case report as a part of the Jamaica Plain clinical rounds.

Students will gain experience in performing and interpreting visual fields.  They will also gain experience in imaging techniques including HRT and OCT.


Not provided

Equipment Required

Short clinic jacket, Trial lens set, Trial frame, Near point cards, Biomicroscopy lens (60, 78, 90, or super-field lens), 3-mirror gonioscopy lens, 20 or 28 Diopter condensing lens, Diagnostic kit including transilluminator, retinoscope and direct ophthalmoscope, Color vision test, Amsler grid, Stereoacuity tester

External Rotations


Extern Responsibilities
Students should be highly motivated and prepared for a demanding clinical rotation often requiring after clinic hours.  There is a significant emphasis on the diagnosis and management of ocular disease.

Students are expected to be academically prepared for dealing with a high eye disease population.  The expectation is that you are prepared, so please review your ocular disease notes; review glaucoma, anterior segment, systemic disease with emphasis on diabetes, hypertension, vascular occlusive disease, and neuro-ophthalmic disease.  Students should have a basic understanding and skill level in the performance of tests including Humphrey visual fields, gonioscopy, pachymetry, and scleral depression.

All students must be present the first day of each rotation at 8:00 a.m. for computer training and orientation, and fingerprinting.  No patients can be seen by any student until all of these requirements are met.  There are no exceptions to this policy.

Additional Requirements

  • A formal case presentation at JP rounds (rounds are scheduled several times per week during clinic hours)
  • Attendance at weekly Friday afternoon Boston VA Healthcare rounds
  • Literature review at 1 of the weekly rounds
  • Assigned readings
  • Possible health fair on a Saturday
  • Completion of VA paperwork, submission of SS#, evidence of tuberculin test results prior to start of rotation.
  • All the necessary forms, paperwork, and medical documentation must be submitted to Dr. Kevin Toolin at lease 4 weeks in advance of the start of your rotation.  In addition, it is imperative that your social security number is given to Dr. Toolin no later than 30 days prior to the start of the rotation.

Site Hours
7:45am - 5:00pm

Directions to Clinic
Take I-90 E/Massachusetts Turnpike/Mass Pike toward Boston (toll road). Take exit 22 toward Prudential Center.  Merge onto Huntington Ave/RT-9.  Continue to follow Huntington Ave/RT-9 until left at So. Huntington Ave (1.9 miles). Follow So. Huntington Ave up the hill for 0.3 miles to the VA, which is on your left.

Local directions:  The Jamaica Plain Campus can be reached via the MBTA Green Line by riding the E line to the end: Heath Street Station.  The VA is adjacent to the trolley stop.  There is parking available.

View Externship Programs in a larger map