With vision care often overlooked, the Mobile Eye Clinic Undergraduate Connection (UMEC) at UCLA has worked tirelessly to provide free vision care to underprivileged communities in Los Angeles. As an undergraduate-led division of the UMEC, the organization aims to shape members into future leaders through clinical exposure and professional development. With a clear focus on the LA unified school districts and pre-schools, the UMEC’s impact has been life changing for all the communities it has served. With over 14,000 vision screenings conducted in over 40 school districts in the past year, UMEC is dedicated to serving. As a newly formed organization, their philanthropic efforts and work to improve healthcare has inspired a movement of change, and they are just getting started.
Winnie Liu, one of the co-founders of the organization, has played an integral part in the establishment of the group. What started as a simple idea has sparked various projects and committees. With a powerful staff comprised of ophthalmologists, undergraduate students and volunteers, UMEC has become a tight-knit group ready to expand their mission. Liu, in particular, has helped create a foundation that allows all of the group’s ideas to be heard and implemented. Motivated by her own medical struggles, Liu has always known that she wanted to help others. Luckily, UMEC has become the perfect place for her to do so. As Liu immersed herself more and more with the work of UMEC, she also came to realize that vision affects everyone; it is not specific to just one demographic. Therefore, without it, any individual will have a hard time function in society. Through this realization, Liu understood the importance of vision care; most specifically, for those that are just developing such as children in pre-school who live in underserved communities.
Through their amazing work with underserved youth, the UMEC’s undergraduate group has had a significant impact on these communities. With their passion continuing to attract volunteers, pre-med undergraduate students are not just receiving clinical exposure, but they are also building life-changing skills. From patient compassion, to creating leadership learning experiences, UMEC’s members are making a positive difference in the lives of their patients and their families.
Along with their extensive service in the LA communities, UMEC’s annual reports have become vital to their organization, serving as a tool for improvement by allowing the group to identify how to improve and expand their patient outreach. Overall, the annual report has enabled the group to focus on growth, improvement and better service. Through internal analysis, UMEC has been able to better serve their communities by having some of the most skilled undergraduate volunteers. By providing free vision exams, eye glasses and care, UMEC’s undergraduate volunteers are inspiring the future healthcare professionals of tomorrow.
“We would like to thank Dr. Coleman, the director of the Mobile Eye Clinic and our volunteer supervisor Kara Mondino for giving us the opportunity to get it all started,” says Liu as she thanks everyone who is involved. She appreciates each and every one of the volunteers who continue to motivate her and others to give back to the communities.
It is from their efforts to create a positive difference and their devotion to service that the UCLA Volunteer Center Fellows are proud to award the Mobile Eye Clinic Undergraduate Connection at UCLA with the Mongelli Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement for Fall 2018.
To learn more about how you can get involved with the organization you can visit their website at https://uclahealth.org/mobile-eye-clinic/ or their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/uclamobileyeclinic/.