Externship Program


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The UABSO Externship Program has been developed to assist our students in optimizing their externship experience during their fourth year of optometry school.  The objective of the program is to expand the educational and clinical experience of the students in order to ensure a large volume of patient encounters and exposure to additional off-campus health care settings in support of the clinical programs of UABSO.
Leo P. Semes, O.D. FAAO
Director, Externship Program
Ms. Cynthia Perry
Program Administrator
History of the Program

The Externship Program at the UAB School of Optometry was begun in 1989 by Dr. John Amos, Director of Residencies, Dr. Lester Caplan, Assistant Dean for Clinical Services, and Dr. James Beisel, who was the first Director of the program. Impetus for the development of externships was provided by a concern that students be afforded the best possible opportunity to participate in the clinical treatment of eye disease. Although most states permitted optometrists to treat ocular diseases with therapeutic pharmaceutical agents (TPAs) at the time, Alabama did not have such a law (it was not passed until 1995). For UAB students to gain formally documented TPA experience, patient encounters were necessary in off-campus clinics and practices at which TPAs were prescribed. Concurrently, the 1988-89 academic year marked the first year of a dramatic modification in the professional curriculum. More...

Program Objectives

During the last year of the professional curriculum, students may spend two terms in private or group practice offices of optometrists or ophthalmologists, in co-management referral centers, in hospitals (e.g., VA, Indian Health, Military), rural health centers or other settings conducive to hands-on training. The purpose of the Externship Program is to provide UAB students with direct clinical experience in the diagnosis, treatment and management of ocular disease, as well as the pre-operative and post-operative care of patients. Also, depending on the site, experience may be gained in the specialty areas of optometry (e.g., contact lenses, low vision, pediatric and binocular vision, sports vision), and in the co-management of patients. More...
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