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Natalie Wu, OD ‘19, Receives Award for National Vision Optometry Student Grant Program

Natalie Wu headshot Natalie Wu, Class of 2019

New England College of Optometry, NECO, is pleased to announce that Natalie Wu, Class of 2019, has been chosen as a runner up in the National Vision Student Optometry Student Grant Program focused on the Role of Optometry in Public Health. The competition, sponsored by optical retailer National Vision, invites third and fourth year optometry students to share how they envision ODs can play a positive role in addressing and impacting a national or regional public health issue.

Participants in the competition were asked to consider public health issues such as diabetes, cancer, HIV, and Lyme disease and to submit a 500 word essay or short video detailing how they might impact this issue as optometrists. Public health is an integral part of the NECO curriculum. In addition to taking public health courses, the College has a strong commitment to serving the community and addressing public health issues in community health centers and throughout the NECO clinical system.  

“I chose HIV because I feel like it is often overlooked due to the stigma surrounding it, yet it is a major public health issue,” Ms. Wu explains. “Working at Fenway Community Health during one of my rotations this year exposed me to a lot of patients with HIV and taught me more about the disease and what to look for as an eye care provider. As optometrists, we have the opportunity to monitor HIV in patients and play a part in helping them with their overall health.”  Her essay addressed the issues and presented steps that ODs can take to help combat the issue. 

Ms. Wu was chosen as a runner up and will receive $1,000 from National Vision for her entry. Looking forward to graduation in a few months, Wu notes, “I am excited to be graduating soon so I can start practicing and using my skills to help people improve their quality of life. I plan to return to Vancouver, BC to work in private practice. I hope to continue providing inclusive care to people of all genders, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations and to help spread awareness about how optometrists can play a role in fighting major public heath issues.”

Read more about the award and the recipients from National Vision.


About New England College of Optometry

New England College of Optometry is an independent graduate college of optometry that educates students for careers in eye care delivery, research and education. NECO was founded in 1894 as the Klein School of Optics, and is the oldest continuously operating school of optometry in the United States. NECO prepares the next generation of eye care providers, educators, leaders, and innovators through a rigorous curriculum and extensive clinical experiences.   Through a vast network of clinical affiliations, our students put patient care first, providing vision care to children, older adults, the homeless, and individuals with disabilities through our mobile eye clinic, satellite clinics in schools, homeless shelters, community health centers, and VA medical centers.

Media Contact: Ingrid Hoogendoorn, Director of Communications
phone: 617-587-5722
email: hoogendoorni@neco.edu