Fullbright Scholar visiting WMU's vision studies programs

Contact: Joel Krauss

Dr. Patrick Emeka Okonji, a senior research fellow at the University of Lagos, has received a Fulbright Scholar grant to visit the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies at WMU between January and May 2021. Through the visit, he will study the department's best practices and standards for academic training and research to establish a similar program at his home institution.

Dr. Okonji in the CHHS building

Dr. Okonji is currently working with a team of experts at the Department of Ophthalmology at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital to establish a West African Regional Research and Training Centre for Low Vision Studies. The center will be first of its kind, offering credentialed programs in low vision, including orientation and mobility, vision rehabilitation counseling, and vision rehabilitation therapy. It will also be home to cutting-edge research in low vision rehabilitation.

"In addition to working with faculty on research projects related to low vision rehabilitation, I will also be studying different teaching methodologies and curriculum aspects necessary for an effective, integrated approach to teaching low vision rehabilitation specialists," says Dr. Okonji. "I hope to better understand how this kind of coursework and teaching fits into this department, the college, and the larger community."

He will also spend time in the low vision clinic at the Unified Clinics at WMU to explore ways to incorporate clinical education in low vision rehabilitation preparation.

Dr. Okonji earned his Master of Public Health and Ph.D. in vision rehabilitation at the University of Northumbria in the United Kingdom. His professional experience and research interest include future applications of technologies for vision rehabilitation, health informatics and rehabilitation using digital-inclusive approaches. He has published papers on information and technology access from the perspectives of groups with vision impairments.