Brookhaven native working to advance optometry

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Brookhaven native is working to make sure Mississippi’s optometry industry continues to move forward through the Mississippi Optometric Association’s inaugural Leadership Optometry Class.

Dr. Josh Patrick, who has practiced optometry for a little over three years now, said the success of the optometry profession in Mississippi depends on a supply of leaders who have the background, knowledge and innovative thinking to lead the state association.  0908Patrick

“As a class, we have learned a great deal about the legislative process, and we have also taken on a couple of group projects,” he said.

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One of those projects has been to create a full endowment for a scholarship at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis in honor of Helen St. Clair, who was the executive director of the Mississippi Optometric Association for more than 30 years. Although they have successfully completed the project, they are continuing to accept donations so that in the future they can offer more than one scholarship.

They are also working on a second project that will include putting together a seminar for school nurses and administrators.

“We want to educate those who are in the schools about how to detect childhood vision issues and what steps to take to ensure that those kids do not get behind because of vision problems,” he said.

Becoming part of the class consisted of two parts. First, he was nominated, and then he had to apply for the program.

“I chose to apply because I wanted to gain a better understanding of the inner workings of the MOA and its board so that in the future I can continue to improve upon the foundation laid by others,” he said.

Patrick graduated from the University of Houston College of Optometry and completed his externship in Austin, Texas. Now, he works for Hattiesburg Eye Clinic in a new location in the Oak Grove area.

“I knew I wanted to do something in health care, and when I was in undergrad at Mississippi State, I decided that optometry was the path I wanted to pursue,” he said. “The visual system and vision in general is very fascinating to me and to make a positive impact on how people see the world is very rewarding.”

Although he didn’t decide until college, optometry has always fascinated him.

“Growing up going to Dr. Mark Smith, I was always intrigued by all the cool gadgets he had and thought that it might be something I’d like to do,” he said. “When I was in high school, Dr. Mike Ware let me shadow him, and he showed me a little more about the profession. “

In addition to his involvement with the MOA, Patrick is a member of Temple Baptist Church, the Pine Belt Young Professionals and the Contact Lens Society of America.