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Jeannie Wang, OD ’05, originally wanted to pursue an MD, but after her friend, Rebecca Blanchard Schoepke, OD ’01 encouraged her to consider optometry, she switched her focus and applied to ICO. She never imagined she'd end up at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).

Dr. Wang practices at Lawndale Christian Health Center (LCHC), which has grown tremendously since its humble beginnings in the 80s. What started with a basketball court now spans several city blocks. Today, this health center includes several primary care clinics, an immediate care center, a pharmacy, pediatric and OBGYN care teams, a senior center, a dental clinic, a substance use disorders clinic, a mobile health clinic that visits local homeless shelters, a fitness center, a free fresh produce program in partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden, and of course, the eye clinic.

“[Optometrists] fit really well into the FQHC space, especially for those who want to practice medically based optometry,” says Dr. Wang.  “At LCHC, we see it all, and because we have direct communication with their primary care providers, we’re able to treat the whole patient. I really do believe that community health centers are the future for optometrists. I'm able to treat so many complex patients here, and ICO has prepared me well to do so.”

In Chicago, the wellbeing of a community varies from one zip code to another. During the pandemic, Lawndale led the city in the number of COVID cases. “It comes down to a question of access: access to quality healthcare, education, and economic opportunities,” says Dr. Wang. “Being part of this organization has allowed me to see what economic disparity looks like, and every day I show up to try to even that out with the skills I have.”

“When I graduated from ICO, I thought I would own a private practice on the East Coast. God had other plans for me, and I’ve found my place here. I’m so grateful to have found such a strong community and to know I am having an impact.”

Here is a look into what life is like at this unique eye clinic.

8:07 a.m.
8:22 a.m.
9:00 a.m.
10:15 a.m.
11:38 a.m.
12:49 p.m.
1:27 p.m.
2:15 p.m.
3:45 p.m.
6:05 p.m.
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