University of South-Eastern Norway (USN)
The State University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Moldova
Associate Professor Bonnie Uchermann
The project has established an optometry school at the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Chișinău, Moldova. The program is based on the four year European Diploma of Optometry developed by the European Council of Optometry and Optics.
Funding from Diku supported two-way student exchange and the procurement of clinical equipment. An annual 14-day summer school exposed Norwegian students to the health care challenges of Moldova. In addition, two students from Moldova are undertaking PhD studies in Norway.
Establishment of the project
The University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) is the only provider of optometry studies in Norway and a member of the European Council of Optometry and Optics. The Moldovan government sought assistance from USN to help establish an accredited optometry program in Moldova because of a shortage of qualified practitioners throughout the country.
The key benefit of the program is the training of accredited optometrists in Moldova.
- the historic shortage of optometrists in Moldova meant a lot of young people were misdiagnosed as blind when in fact they were actually near sighted or far sighted. So with the correct glasses they can now see again, says Professor Ucherman.
Advice to others
Professor Uchermann emphasized being mindful of intercultural differences when developing transnational education programs.
- In Moldova it is much more important to communicate through academics with the appropriate rank. Engaging at a lower level can be insulting for some senior administrators if they were not involved in communications.