University Medical Center at Princeton Honored for Vision Care Program

Mar 12, 2008

Program Offers Free Vision Care Services to Medically Underserved in Mercer County

University Medical Center at Princeton (UMCP) has received a statewide Community Outreach Award for a program that provides vision care services for medically underserved people in Mercer County.

UMCP's "Community Visions Services Outreach Program" was recognized by the Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey (HRET), an affiliate of the New Jersey Hospital Association, as one of the state's model programs for providing health services to medically underserved populations.

The award was presented Friday, February 29, at the Hospital Association's annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton.

UMCP identified a serious need for vision care among the county's underserved minority groups. A UMCP survey conducted as part of its Feria de la Salud , an annual health fair focusing on the needs of the Latino community, found that vision care and flu shots were the services most in demand.

Based on those findings, the medical center's Community Education and Outreach Program forged a coalition with groups including the New Jersey Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired -- Project Prevention Unit, the Give the Gift of Sight Foundation and the Latin American Task Force to provide free eye exams and eyeglasses to people in need.

Through this effort, a total of 724 people were screened and 289 pairs of glasses were distributed from 2006 through 2007. Additionally, 20 people were referred for further medical care for possible glaucoma.

As a result of this program, the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired has designated UMCP as its only "fixed site" in Mercer County where people served by the commission can be referred for follow-up care and other services.

Receiving the HRET's Community Outreach Award for UMCP were Director of Community Education and Outreach Alan Axelrod, and Program Coordinator Robbi K. Alexander, RN.

This was UMCP's second consecutive HRET award. The hospital was previously recognized by HRET for a program to improve access and quality of care for uninsured, underinsured and minority groups in Hightstown.

For further information about the Community Vision Services Outreach Program and future vision screenings, contact UMCP's Community Education and Outreach Program at 888.897.8979.