New optometrist welcomed to WHC
In an effort to improve healthcare service delivery and meet the needs of its patients, the Osage Nation has been seeking and recruiting the doctors people need to staff the WahZhaZhi Health Center. The evolving staff now boasts the addition of a new optometrist, Marshall Walker, who began working at the health center on Dec. 7. The clinic opened its doors on Oct. 1 and has since focused on increasing the number of staff doctors.
“Optometry is a needed and appreciated service that many of our patients will benefit from, children and adults alike. Eyesight is such a valuable sense to have, preserve and use for learning and living,” said Dr. Tom Foreman, WahZhaZhi Health Chief Medical Officer, about the addition of an optometrist to the WHC staff.
Marshall has a prestigious education and career in optometry. He received his undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma and graduated from optometry school at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. He then had an internship at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Florida and residency in ocular disease and surgery through Northeastern State University in Oklahoma City. He has worked at the Huhukam Memorial Hospital in Arizona and as a staff optometrist for the Cherokee Nation. Marshall is currently a clinical assistant professor at NSU Oklahoma’s College of Optometry.
Marshall said, “It is an exciting time as the Osage Nation exercises the right of self-governance by delivering healthcare to the patients at WHC. I am happy to join the staff at WHC and be an integral part of the multi-disciplinary healthcare delivery team by providing eye care services for patients. It is an honor to be at the horizon of this great new venture for the Nation.”
Already seeking to improve the health of the people served by the WHC, Marshall emphasized the importance of access to routine eye care. He said, “Many eye conditions that cause devastating loss of vision have no symptoms and can only be diagnosed by comprehensive eye examinations by an eye specialist—optometrist or ophthalmologist. In addition to refractions (exam for glasses) and routine ocular health exams, I am trained to manage medical eye conditions from traumatic eye injuries to glaucoma and can detect serious underlying conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.”
Marshall was in Pawhuska on Nov. 25 to finalize paperwork and was welcomed to the Nation by Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. Standing Bear has encouraged and supported efforts to improve the healthcare services provided by the WHC as part of his admiration’s goals.