FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31, 2012
San Antonio, TX — Congressmen Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) and Lamar Smith (R-TX-21), along with University of the Incarnate Word President (UIW) Dr. Lou Agnese, announced today that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded the University of the Incarnate Word a $1 million federal grant for specialized optometric equipment to be used at the new UIW Eye Care and Health Institute in San Antonio’s Eastside.
“With just one private optometrist available to serve the Eastside of San Antonio, this clinic will not only provide necessary medical treatment to San Antonians, it will also give an opportunity for students to complete their medical practice requirements. The grant is helping to alleviate eleven percent of the total project cost – bringing taxpayer dollars back home for a project that is centered on serving the community,” said Congressman Cuellar.
This public facility will increase access to health care for residents of the inner city by providing professional eye care services to the community. UIW will construct a three-story, 30,000 square-foot clinic that will serve 25,000 patients yearly. When fully operational, the clinic will create and sustain an estimated 40 to 50 new jobs.
“There is a significant need for this facility in this part of San Antonio,” said Dr. Agnese. “Some of the diseases that can destroy vision such as diabetes and glaucoma are over-represented in areas like the Eastside. So we’re very appreciative of the efforts of Congressmen Cuellar and Smith in making this critically-needed clinic a reality for San Antonio.”
Patients will be served by licensed eye care doctors and interns from UIW’s Rosenberg School of Optometry. In addition, UIW will partner with St. Philip’s College to assist in training students and increasing the number of nearby residents qualified to serve as ophthalmic technicians. Future doctors will also be able to train at the clinic and an estimated one-fourth of the 65 graduates yearly will remain in the area to practice.
“The new Eastside eye clinic will provide professional care to an underserved community in San Antonio and create jobs for medical professionals in the area.” Congressman Smith said. “Vision problems make it harder for kids to learn in school and eye infections, if left untreated, can lead to permanent vision loss. The clinic will help San Antonio residents get much-needed eye care regardless of their ability to pay. And this federal grant will ensure that the doors to the clinic open sooner and residents have access to eye care faster.”
Eddie Zavala, Communications Director
Rep. Henry Cuellar
Office: (956) 725-0639
Kim Smith, Communications Director
Rep. Lamar Smith, House Judiciary Comm.
Office: (202) 225-3951
Associate Director of Public Relations
University of the Incarnate Word
Office: (210) 805-3689