A Clear Vision for Community Care from the Culmore Clinic

(L-R) Clinic Director Maria Obeid, Volunteer Ophthalmologist Dr. George Patterson, Board of Director President Philip Elliot, and Executive Director Lynette Sappe-Watkins applaud the ribbon cutting of Culmore Clinic’s Vision Suite at the 2023 Open House. (Chris Ferenzi Photography)

The Culmore Clinic, a free health clinic serving uninsured adults in northern Virginia, has realized its long-held dream of adding vision care services for its patients. Generous donations from Lion’s Club chapters, vision health organizations, doctors, and community members have allowed the clinic to open an on-site vision suite. Complete with examination equipment and staffed by volunteer ophthalmologists and optometrists, the new suite will provide critical eye exams and vision care to this underserved population beginning November 16th.

The initiative emerged when Drs. George Patterson, Sarah Merrill, and Bill Baer approached clinic leadership about volunteering if the optometry equipment could be secured. This sparked a fundraising campaign that ultimately raised the $35,000 needed.

Lynette Sappe-Watkins

At an October open house, executive director Lynette Sappe-Watkins expressed gratitude for the collective effort to fulfill this vision and address a major gap in care for residents facing barriers like lack of insurance. She remarked, “A vision suite is something that free and charitable clinics like ours only dream of.”

Now patients have access to comprehensive health services under one roof, improving continuity of care and community health outcomes. This locally-funded clinic exemplifies the power of providers, philanthropists, businesses and neighbors uniting around a common goal — quality care for all.

Read the full articles in Annandale Today and on the Culmore Clinic site.

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Angels in Medicine is a volunteer site dedicated to the humanitarians, heroes, angels, and bodhisattvas of medicine. The site features physicians, nurses, physician assistants and other healthcare workers and volunteers who reach people without the resources or opportunities for quality care, such as teens, the poor, the incarcerated, the elderly, or those living in poor or war-torn regions. Read their stories at www.medangel.org.

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