As we begin working in clinic, we’re realizing fast that treating patients in optometry entails much more than simply patching up a patient with glasses or eye drops; once they leave the exam room, we are sending them back out to unsupervised environments marred by non-compliance, inability to afford certain brands of medications, and other preventable issues.
To find out how we can provide better sustainable service for our patients, the SUNY chapter of the Student American Public Health Association (SAPHA), with help from OptometryStudents.com, interviews a faculty member of the SUNY School of Optometry, Dr. Mark Sherstinksy, O.D., M.P.H. about his decision to pursue a Masters in Public Health.
Dr. Sherstinksy is currently a supervisor in Group Practice Clinic and also teaches the epidemiology class during the summer of the third year of the SUNY optometric program. He graduated from the University of Berkley, College of Optometry in 2001, did his residency at SUNY in 2002, and received his Master’s in Global Public Health at NYU in 2010. We highlight what made him follow the path that he did and how public health is a vital–and sometimes underutilized–facet of the clinical setting.
While transitioning from being optometry students to budding clinicians, it’s hard to shake off that nagging urge to get the “right answer”, be it for a measurement, diagnosis, or treatment plan. Dr. Sherstinsky gives insight on how getting an MPH enables him to see his patients “in a different light” and to undertake a treatment that is commensurate with their lifestyles and needs, even if it’s not the conventional solution. Certain pockets of the population (grouped by race, neighborhood, socioeconomic status, etc.) are afflicted with specific problems that can be mitigated through public education, encouragement, and awareness. We may be treating people one at a time, but remember, the community is also your patient.