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GrandRounds Southern College of Optometry Receives Historic Gift An agreement between the Optometry Association of Louisiana  (OAL) and  Southern College of Optometry  (SCO) last month has resulted in the transfer of a $1.5 million trust to SCO made possible by the estate of the late Dr. Mark W. Franks, a 1955 SCO graduate and longtime Louisiana optometrist. Following his death in 1989, Dr.

Franks and his wife, Mary, bequeathed approximately $500,000 to the OAL to establish a low interest loan trust for Louisiana optometry students who attended SCO. After several years of legal and financial transactions to establish the trust, it finally came to fruition in 2000, at which time the college agreed to help administer the loan program with oversight from the OAL. To expand upon the potential impact originally envisioned by Dr. Franks more than 30 years ago, an agreement was reached this year to donate the ex-

isting trust fund and its control to SCO to form the Mark W. Franks and Mary Franks Scholarship and Loan Fund. The fund’s total current value is approximately $1.5 million, making it the single largest bequeathment gift in the college’s 87-year history. Dr. Franks was born in 1922 in Owasso, Oklahoma. After working in construction, he served in World War II then pursued an engineering degree before switching to optometry. He worked his way through SCO by serving as a draftsman on a Memphis railroad yard.    


SCO was established in Memphis in 1932 and is the only accredited optometry college in Tennessee. One of only 23 optometry colleges in the nation, it has a student body of about 500.

BMHC, Christ Community Health Services Open Homeless Clinic Baptist Memorial Health Care (BMHC) and Christ Community Health Services (CCHS) have opened a clinic for the homeless that will complement already-existing mobile healthcare services offered through Baptist Operation Outreach. The new facility, located inside Catholic Charities of West Tennessee’s main building at 1325 Jefferson Ave., opened March 1. The facility, available to patients Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, includes two exam rooms, a lab, a waiting area and staff offices. Patients who receive care at the clinic will also have access to dental and vision services, as well as immediate access to support services through CCHS. The mobile clinic travels several days a week to locations that serve the homeless and offers free acute and primary care, disease management support, prevention services and medication. “We are proud to be the largest provider of healthcare for the homeless in Memphis through our partnership with Christ Community Health Services,” said Jason Little, president and CEO of BMHC. “It is an important part of our mission. . .” “Providing comprehensive health care and access to other vital needs, such as housing, food and clothing, in one location has been a part of our vision for Baptist Operation Outreach for many years,” said Shantelle Leatherwood, CEO of CCHS. “To see that vision realized along with the impact we’ve had on so many lives is beyond gratifying.” Since 2004, Baptist Operation Outreach has grown from a staff of four with less than 500 patient visits to a staff of 10 with more than 3,000 patient encounters in 2018. The staff now includes a physician, nurse practitioner, behavioral health provider and social worker.

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