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Salem VA Medical Center

Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center Optometry Residency

Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center Optometry Residency Building

Philosophy:  To prepare optometrists for the provision of comprehensive primary optometric care for the adult patient.  This requires mastery of clinical examination skills and development of astute clinical acumen.  Our program is designed to facilitate professional growth focused on clinical problem solving and assimilation of experiences from multiple ophthalmic and medical specialties. 

Facility: The Salem VA Medical Center is a 298 authorized bed teaching hospital, providing a full range of inpatient and outpatient care services, with state-of-the-art technology as well as education and research.  The medical center provides primary care as well as specialty care, mental health, and extended care and rehabilitative services.  There is an exceptional simulation center on site with an active education department.  Salem VAMC has optometry school affiliations with Southern College of Optometry, Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry, the University of the Incarnate Word - Rosenberg School of Optometry, University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry.  Medical School affiliations include the University of Virginia Medical School, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine.  Including medicine, optometry and other healthcare professions, Salem VAMC has over 80 affiliations with colleges and universities.

Salem VA Medical Center Campus

Learning Opportunities:

Clinical: We provide, via guided experience, the opportunity to diagnose and manage a variety of ophthalmic pathologies and conditions.  Our clinical privileges are designed to allow us to provide exceptional ophthalmic care.  Residents typically have a multitude of experiences in diagnosing and managing anterior segment, posterior segment and neurologic diseases.  Low vision care is also provided.  Clinical experiences are gained via provision of care in the eye clinic, as well as rotations through multiple medical specialty clinics, and on-call services.

Salem VA Clinical Learning Opportunites

Didactic: Residents have the opportunity to learn from presentations and workshops on different medicine and ophthalmic topics.  We deliver focused presentations and workshops where the attendings’ intent is to teach the residents the necessary skills and knowledge to handle various related ophthalmic consequences of systemic disease.  Residents also have the opportunity to attend presentations at medical grand rounds.

Typical Didactic

Interprofessional: Rotations through different medicine clinics, along with the instruction in concepts of medicine, are the forte for this program.  As a resident, you will have to opportunity to work in the clinic with various medicine physicians who specialize in different practices.  The resident will have the opportunity to see patients in their clinic and learn from their experiences.

Typically Scheduled Clinical Rotations

*External ophthalmology rotation pending approval by Office of Academic Affiliations

Scholastic:  Residents will have the opportunity to develop skills in teaching students and other professionals regarding topics in ocular disease.  Additionally, residents will receive guidance on the preparation of a manuscript of publishable quality

Ophthalmic Presentation/Discussion Schedule

Learning Environment:

Learning Environment:  We believe in providing residents an opportunity to not only see a vast array of pathologies, but to be actively engaged in the cognitive processes of developing pertinent diagnoses,  along with relevant differentials, and appropriate treatment plans.  It is through actively engaging in the decision process that clinicians can develop proficiency in analytical skills.  Patients are commonly followed longitudinally in the resident’s clinic affording the resident the opportunity to gain feedback in clinical outcomes.  An attending is dedicated to resident supervision on any given day without the distraction of seeing a separate clinic.



Dr. Daniel Eckermann is Chief of the Optometry Section.  He received his OD degree from Ohio State University in 1984 and completed a VA residency in Chillicothe & Columbus, Ohio in 1985.  He came to the Salem VA Medical Center immediately after his residency.  He established an affiliation with Southern College of Optometry for the creation of a student externship rotation as well as the residency program, and he is part-time clinical faculty for the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine at Virginia Tech.


Dr. Daniel Eckermann

Dr. Scott DePoe joined the staff of the Salem VAMC in 2013. He received his OD degree from Southern College of Optometry in 2012 and completed a residency in hospital-based primary care optometry at the Memphis VA Medical Center.  Dr. DePoe is active within the VHA Optometry Field Advisory Committee structure.  He is the Student Externship Program Director at the Salem VAMC.  He also serves as an attending in the supervision and didactic instruction of the residents.


Dr. Scott DePoe

Dr. Alicia Greene graduated from the New England College of Optometry in 2011 and completed a residency in hospital-based primary care optometry at the Salem VA Medical Center in 2012.  Dr. Greene became a member of the Salem VA staff in 2015 after gaining 2 years of experience at a private practice in Lynchburg, VA. Dr. Greene is the Residency  Program Supervisor at the Salem VAMC.  She is also involved in the education and supervision of optometry externs.


Dr. Alicia Greene

Dr. Curtis Burnley graduated from Southern College of Optometry in 2020. During his time there, he served as a committee member in the SCO chapter of the National Optometric Student Association. Afterwards, he completed a primary care/ocular disease residency at the Fayetteville VAMC in Arkansas. He began working at the Salem VAMC in August 2021. In his free time, he likes to read, write, draw, and cook. 


Dr. Curtis Burnley



  • Optometry residents work with a compressed schedule
    • 10-hour workdays
    • 6:45am to 5:15pm Tuesday-Friday*  (Lunch from 12:15p to 12:45p)
    • Thursday mornings: Didactic and Education Time for journal club, rotations through other clinics, or academic enrichment

*subject to change based on clinic needs


Location: Situated in the Shenandoah Valley with the city of Roanoke, Salem is located between the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains and “possesses all the beauty and grandeur that nature can bestow” 

Salem Virginia




Personal Life: The Cities of Salem and Roanoke are nestled together in a valley boasting the largest municipality in Southwest Virginia.  Its Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had a population of 315,251 during the 2020 census.  The area is renowned for its natural beauty.  There are a multitude of natural, cultural, and social activities available within the valley. (

Abundant Natural AttractionsArea Attractions


Contact Information:

Alicia M. Greene, OD
Optometry Residency Supervisor
Salem VA Medical Center

Eye Clinic 112E1
1970 Roanoke Boulevard
Salem, VA  24153

(540) 982-2463 Ext 2829

[email protected]

Cheryl E. Mengelt, O.D.
Director of Residencies
Southern College of Optometry

1245 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN  38104

(901) 722-3201

(901) 722-3244

[email protected]