Eye Clinic Now Open On Lavaca Public Schools Campus

A school-based health project that began with a medical clinic and dental office now boasts an optometrist on campus as well. The Lavaca Eye Clinic officially opened its doors on Monday, April 1st. School officials, clinic personnel, and a chamber of commerce representative attended the ribbon cutting event.

"By adding an optometrist to the clinic we can now truly educate the whole child by meeting their medical, mental, dental and optometric needs," said Cristi Cleveland, Lavaca Public School’s Director of Coordinated School Health.

Dr. Hon Chung is an optometrist from Van Buren who will practice at the Lavaca Wellness Center every Monday. Students and teachers are able to be seen by medical personnel during a brief break from the school day without having to miss hours or even an entire day. It’s especially helpful for parents who live in Lavaca but work in Fort Smith or farther away.

"I decided to practice in Lavaca because of my experience with [the] Magazine wellness center where I have been their optometrist for the past year," Dr. Chung said. "It has been very rewarding and I look forward to the same in Lavaca.

Lavaca Eye Clinic patients should call (479) 674-4321 for an appointment. The school’s wellness clinic is one of 14 school-based health centers in Arkansas.

"I think school-based health centers are the way of the future for rural communities and is a win for all involved," Chung said.

Currently, the school is receiving $525,000 in grant funding over a period of three years to support building the infrastructure for the Wellness Center. This is the third and final year of the grant. Once the grant funding runs out, the doctors involved will pay rent/utilities to the district for the spaces occupied, creating a funding stream supporting the school.

Dr. Chung says he’s looking forward to practicing in Lavaca.

"I grew up in Barling and Fort Smith. When I was a child, Lavaca might as well have been in the next state because it was so far away. When I first started to look into being a provider for Lavaca, I was pleasantly surprised by what a tight knit, happening place Lavaca is. I was also surprised by how many people I already know from the area. It’s like coming home."