Stephanie Wachs and Michael Marll were two in a group of first year Georgetown Medical students who partnered with CLB as a part of their Service Learning course in the 2015 fall semester. The class is designed to teach teamwork skills in assisting under-served medical communities and the visually impaired community is one such group. CLB provided a tour of the facilities, training on how to be a sighted guide, and opportunities to interact with those in the visually impaired community.
Neither Stephanie nor Michael had much experience working with patients with vision loss so this opportunity was very enlightening for each.
Both raved about the experience volunteering with CLB and interacting with CLB clients in their daily environment. Stephanie says “It is a rewarding experience that will teach you a great amount about a community of people not many people know a lot about.”
Both students were able to spend time with CLB clients, including at the White Cane Day Walk on the National Mall. Each guided a client on the walk from Judiciary Square to the United States Capitol in a show of awareness for those with vision loss. After the walk back, there were speakers on various topics in the visually impaired community.
Both were amazed to hear stories of how patients were able to adjust to living with vision loss. From a professional standpoint, both learned about the frustrations and limitations visually impaired patients have with doctor’s visits. Often a patient is diagnosed with vision loss, but not told what to do for the residual ramifications such as loss of independence. Michael said “My experience with CLB has driven home the need for care providers to ensure their patients are aware of and able to utilize local organizations and rehabilitative services.” CLB works diligently to ensure that medical personnel are aware of the rehabilitative services and local organizations available to assist patients adjust to their lives after medical diagnosis and treatment.