EYECARE VSP Vision and Black EyeCare Perspective Establish 'Empowering Equity' Scholarship By Staff Thursday, April 27, 2023 12:21 AM RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—VSP Vision and Black EyeCare Perspective have announced the creation of the “Empowering Equity Scholarship,” which will provide $15,000 scholarships to a pair of eligible optometry students. The inaugural scholarship is part of the ongoing partnership between VSP Vision and Black EyeCare Perspective, an organization that cultivates and fosters lifelong relationships between African-American eyecare professionals and the eyecare industry. "We are proud to introduce the ‘Empowering Equity Scholarship’ in partnership with Black EyeCare Perspective,” said VSP Vision chief diversity officer Marvin Davenport.“This scholarship is another way we’re investing in the education of future optometrists and supporting new pathways that sustain a standard of equity in the profession of optometry." Current optometry students who are expected to graduate in 2024 (OD3), hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and are enrolled in an accredited program part of the Associations of the Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) are encouraged to apply, which they can do here. The deadline to apply is Sunday, June 4. The winners will be announced on Friday, July 7 during the 2023 National Optometric Association (NOA) annual conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which runs from July 6-9. “In just our second year partnering with VSP Vision on our efforts to support the 13% Promise, we have made great strides in our mission to improve and increase the representation of Black individuals and African-Americans in the optometric industry,” said Black EyeCare Perspective executive director Essence Johnson, OD, FAAO, Dipl ABO. “Our goal with this scholarship is to both award and recognize deserving students who are aligned with our cause of advancing diversity in the profession. There is an opportunity for increased access to care and better health outcomes for Black communities when there are more Black optometrists and eyecare professionals," she said. Black EyeCare Perspective (BEP) was designed and created to cultivate and foster lifelong relationships between African-American eyecare professionals and the eyecare industry. BEP is creating awareness and facilitating courageous conversations within the eyecare community through diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. The Black EyeCare Perspective Pre-Optometry Club (BEPPOC) is the first nationally recognized pre-optometry club by the Associations of the Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) that was established in 2020 to ensure not a single, potential Black or African-American student or optometrist is ignored, discouraged or disadvantaged. With a membership of over 160 Black future optometrists representing 76 unique undergraduate institutions, 20 being Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), 90 percent of the inaugural cohort matriculated into a school or college of optometry and was connected to over $100,000 in resources, scholarships and grants.