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New England College of Optometry is committed to partnering and collaborating with organizations and schools globally to share skills and expertise in optometric education and patient care.

orbis logoORBIS

New England College of Optometry (NECO) and Orbis International (Orbis) have formed a formal partnership to address the global unmet need for refractive and low vision services, with the goal of reducing avoidable visual impairment in low-income regions of the world. Orbis is an international non-profit committed to the elimination of avoidable blindness through healthcare provider training. This partnership expands Orbis’s impact through its Flying Eye Hospital, hospital-based trainings, community partnerships, and telehealth programs to help address the challenge of uncorrected refractive error, currently responsible for 43% of the world’s visual impairment.

Over the past two years, NECO faculty and alumni have shared their expertise in low vision, contact lens, myopia, and pediatrics through direct and online training to local practitioners and medical experts onsite in China, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Zambia, and India and globally through live lectures. 

NECO-ORBIS Volunteer Program

The NECO-Orbis Volunteer Program invites alumni, teaching faculty, and clinical faculty to share their knowledge and skills with international practitioners.  Participants can become involved by leading hands-on training programs in an international hospital setting or aboard the ORBIS flying hospital, or locally by providing online mentoring, telehealth consultations, and live lectures through Cybersight, Orbis’s telehealth and clinical education portal.

Dr Malkin holding card for eye patientThese outreach programs are designed to help local doctors learn new techniques, analyze and diagnose challenging patient cases with colleagues globally, and improve the quality of care they provide. 

What does volunteering for Orbis entail?

NECO faculty and alumni are invited to participate locally through online webinars and internationally through on-site global trainings.

Global Opportunities

On-Site Hands-On Training

On-site, hospital-based programs are available for NECO faculty and alumni to participate in annually and last for one to two weeks. Faculty are matched with programs in accordance to the needs of the partner hospitals as well as the volunteer's specialty knowledge. Typical programs include providing lectures as well as hands-on training and patient care. Clinical services are provided in a teaching hospital setting to share knowledge and skills.

Local Opportunities

Online Telehealth Training

Volunteers have access to and provide live international webinars, online telehealth mentoring and consultations, and educational resources for global practitioners about their specific topics of expertise through Orbis' educational telehealth portal, Cybersight. 

COORD: China Optometry and Ophthalmology Resource Development

In 1988, under the leadership of Dr. Guang-Ji Wang, the Wenzhou Medical College established the first department of optometry in China.  A decade later,  Dr. Wang, now a NECO faculty member, initiated a cooperative project with several US optometry schools to develop six departments of of optometry in Chinese medical schools. This project became known as the China Optometry Resource Development Project (CORD).  

In 2017, NECO was pivotal in helping to develop COORD-2, a new consortium of five US optometry schools and over 100 medical schools in China to develop optometry programs in parallel with their ophthalmology departments.  In the summer of 2017, Drs. Scott, Wang and Meng Xu attended the inaugural meeting in Hangzhou to sign the long-term agreement.  In November, Dr. Bina Patel, director of NECO’s international programs, helped coordinate the first working session, held at SUNY’s College of Optometry.  This is one more example of how NECO’s impact extends far beyond the local area.