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Meet Our Faculty

Dr. Cheryl Lerma

Associate Professor
Director of Externship and Residency Programs


First Appt: 1998

Academic Background:

1996; Residency; Primary Care Optometry, Southern College of Optometry
1995; O.D.; Indiana University
1991; B.S.; Indiana University


After completing her residency, Dr. Cheryl Lerma worked for Lifesigns, Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee before returning to the Southern College of Optometry as a full-time faculty member in 1998. She was promoted to associate professor in 2009. Dr. Lerma served as Coordinator of Community Outreach for The Eye Center. Dr. Lerma has also provided didactic instruction in various lecture and laboratory courses. She has been twice named Didactic Teacher of the Year. She is responsible for the Externship and Residency programs for the College.

Dr. Lerma’s professional clinical areas of interest include adult primary care and ocular disease management.

Dr. Lerma is a member of the American Optometric Association (AOA), Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians, and the West Tennessee Optometric Physician's Society. She has been a clinical and senior examiner for the National Board of Examiners in Optometry since 1999 and as the Assistant Site Director for the Memphis exam since 2008. She has served as Southern College of Optometry's AOA Healthy Eyes for Healthy People representative, chaired the Faculty Affairs Committee for several terms and has also served the faculty in the capacity of Secretary and Vice-Chair. Dr. Lerma has been certified as a CPR Instructor through the American Red Cross and provides CPR training to the SCO third and fourth year students.