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June 11, 2014

College Expands Partnership with Bowery Mission into Harlem

The SUNY College of Optometry’s partnership with The Bowery Mission, one of New York City’s most respected organizations providing services to the city’s homeless and vulnerable, has expanded to East Harlem.

Last year the College signed an agreement to provide those served by The Bowery Mission’s lower Manhattan location with full-service, no-cost, comprehensive eye care. Three days each month, SUNY Optometry’s Dr. Jack Chen, along with interns from the College, visit the site to provide care to a wide range of people. Thanks to broad support solicited by the Optometric Center of New York, the College’s philanthropic foundation, equipment was purchased and provided for the program as well.

The continued support from a range of foundations and individual donors has enabled the College to expand its relationship with The Bowery Mission to include the organization’s new Men’s Center in East Harlem. The center is expected to house up to 60 men in a transitional residential setting and provide services to both the residents and members of the neighborhood in need.

"We are pleased and honored to have the SUNY College of Optometry spearheading the health care services at our new Men’s Center and providing full service eye care to residents,” said Matt Krivich, The Bowery Mission’s director of operations and community relations. “The people served by The Bowery Mission have benefited greatly as SUNY Optometry has provided excellent care at our lower Manhattan location. We are excited to be expanding our existing partnership into East Harlem."

Renovations to the space were recently completed and the Men’s Center in Harlem includes two fully equipped diagnostic examination rooms. All services, including any necessary optical devices such as glasses, are provided to those served free of charge.

The SUNY College of Optometry has been steadily increasing its outreach into the community. It was announced recently that the College will manage the care at two New York City public school vision centers as part of an initiative by the United Federation of Teachers and the global vision care nonprofit OneSight called “ProjectNYSee.” Also, thanks to a recent grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the College will also be hiring a fulltime outreach coordinator to manage and cultivate the institution’s robust efforts within the community.

“Our partnership with The Bowery Mission has been fruitful for us in a variety of ways,” said SUNY Optometry’s President Dr. David A. Heath, “It has provided us with another opportunity to fulfill our mission of providing service to our community and it has also given us the ability to further enhance our students’ clinical experiences while also promoting the value and importance of public health.”