By Sophia Rodriguez
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
The east side has given Bowden Eye Care & Health Center – sponsored by the University of the Incarnate Word – a “Best Community Partner” award, showing the center’s impact.
San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside – or SAGE – said Bowden gives back more than it takes from the community, said SAGE Executive Director Jackie Gorman.
“The place is a community place,” Gorman said. “Folks feel comfortable there. The Bowden Eye Care & Health Center is an asset to the community.”
Bowden, 2547 E. Commerce St., held its grand opening on June 5, 2013, Since opening, the center has seen “a steady increase in the amount of patients,” said the director, Dr. Randall S. Collins.
The clinic is a full-service facility operated by both licensed optometrists and student-interns from UIW’s Rosenberg School of Optometry. Services provided include routine exams and special testing. The center accepts insured and un-insured patients. Un-insured patients can receive affordable health care with costs based off a sliding-scale method.
And there much potential for growth, Collins stressed.
“There is a maximum number of patients per licensed physician,” he said. “We operate using about 14 or 15 rooms, but have 40. We just need more licensed optometrists to reach our full potential.”
The student-interns who facilitate the exams are third-year students at the Rosenberg. They assess patients from start to finish with the help of proctors. The students, who come from all over the country, said they find the Bowden to be a valuable experience for their professional careers.
Student-intern Tung Tran, 28, transferred to Rosenberg from New Orleans. At Bowden, Tran said, “the experience can range from seeing a 90-year-old man who can’t see very well at all to an 11-year-old boy who needs minor adjustment.”
Kristina Yun, 26, another student-intern, said she chose to transfer from the University of California-San Diego to Rosenberg “because it was a community-driven school.”
Twenty-eight-year-old Bach Nguyen, 28, a student-intern who transferred from the University of Houston, said, “There is a lot of satisfaction from knowing how productive I am (at the center). Giving people a better quality of life is something I experience every day.”
John Martinez, 22, from San Antonio’s west side, was waiting at Bowden for his father-in-law who had come there for service.
“The clinic has great customer service, and is affordable,” Martinez said.
SAGE’s Gorman also noted the center has opened its doors to dozens of companies that need space for meetings, many of whom have received grants and other resources through SAGE to expand.
Before Bowden opened, there was only one eye-care facility on the east side. Gorman’s vision for the area is for it to become more of a mixed-income and united part of town where people can find affordable and high-quality housing developments, adding value to the area.
“The (east side) is a great place to live,” Gorman said. “If you’re ever looking for anything to do, come check out the restaurants, clubs and entertainment venues. There is a little bit of everything.”