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By: Laura Damron |
September 8, 2018
Experiencing another culture and learning from its health care
practices are just some of the benefits four Kentucky College of Optometry
(KYCO) students gained from their recent trip to China. The experience was led
by KYCO Director of International Relations and Assistant Professor of
Optometry Xiaojing Yu, Ph.D., O.D.
Initial planning for the trip included two spots for KYCO
students. Yu knew the decision would be difficult given the number of
applicants and her desire to give as many students as possible this
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After a meeting with UPIKE President Burton
Webb, Ph.D., two additional spots were added.
“I want to give special acknowledgment to President Webb’s office
for its great support, paying two students’ international airfare,” said Yu.
“Because of such generosity, more KYCO students were able to have this
invaluable international experience. I also want to acknowledge Dr. Bacigalupi
[KYCO Dean], KYCO faculty and staff and the international office for their
With optometric care as the focus of the journey, students spent
two weeks shadowing optometrists and ophthalmologists and working with
“Optometry is a new and uprising field in China,” added Yu.
“Through this educational trip, we were not only able to bring professional
support, but our students had the opportunity to see a different way of patient
management that will offer them diverse perspectives in their future careers.”
Students were notably impressed by the intentional design of
patient care areas. The facility in which they learned and served included not
only a 3D perceptional hallway, but also a museum used to teach children about
the importance of eye care.
Students also gained insight into how efficient the practices of
optometrists and ophthalmologists must be to treat the large and growing
patient population in the country.
With a successful inaugural trip behind them, KYCO students and
faculty look forward to their continued relationship with China. It is the hope
of Yu to coordinate future trips with more students and to develop exchange
opportunities for both students in China and at KYCO.