Bascom Palmer faculty members continually volunteer in much-needed ophthalmic missions throughout the world, as do residents and fellows who participate in international efforts as part of their educational curriculum. Faculty members use satellite and digital networks to provide telemedicine and videoconferencing services abroad.
Bascom Palmer physicians are active volunteers throughout the world, including Haiti, one of the most medically underserved countries in the Western Hemisphere. In Mexico, doctors perform cataract surgeries in indigenous communities. A humanitarian initiative is bringing eye care services to towns in the remote Galapagos Islands.
Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a team of physicians and technicians traveled with the Bascom Palmer Vision Van, a 40-foot, custom designed mobile eye clinic donated by the Josephine S. Leiser Foundation, to Louisiana to meet the eye care needs of storm victims and emergency responders. When the devastating Tohoku-Pacific Ocean earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011, the Vision Van was flown overseas to provide support to the hard-hit Sendai province.
In 2017, a volunteer team from Bascom Palmer drove the Vision Van to Key West to provide urgently needed eye care for residents, nurses, and disaster recovery personnel working to restore services in the Lower and Middle Keys that were devastated by Hurricane Irma.
By sending non-perishable medical supplies, setting up an international communications network and arranging transport for patients needing urgent eye care, Bascom Palmer physicians helped Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Bascom Palmer launched “Eye Care Puerto Rico,” an online communications network using social media, to assist ophthalmology patients connect with vision care specialists on the island.
Today, the Bascom Palmer Vision Van continues to help communities across South Florida by providing free vision screenings for thousands of people of all ages. Bascom Palmer participates in annual health fairs and health events throughout South Florida.