As a youngster, Korey Patrizi, OD, Resident ‘21
, had some significant eye issues. She was in and out of eye doctors’ offices and even had a couple of surgeries over the years to correct her problems. So she definitely wasn’t a stranger to the optometry profession.
“I think it (optometry) was always in the back of my mind,” said Dr. Patrizi, who joined the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University faculty in July 2021.
During her undergraduate years at the University of Pittsburgh, while exploring career options, Dr. Patrizi initially thought she might go into environmental sciences or environmental law. But she did some research at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and worked in the pediatric ophthalmology department there where she had hands-on experience shadowed some optometrists.
That’s what sealed the deal and she decided on a career in optometry.
After graduating from Pitt with a biology degree, and a dual minor in chemistry and philosophy, Dr. Patrizi took a gap year to return to her hometown of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, to work in physical therapy for a small private practice, ostensibly to garner some patient-care experience.
Then it was off to the University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg (IWR) School of Optometry in San Antonio, Texas.
“Part of the reason why I ended up down there was because I was open to a new change of scenery for at least four years,” said Dr. Patrizi. “When I applied for residencies I had that same attitude. I was fine staying in the south but eventually I wanted to get back up north.”
And, PCO/Salus turned out to be the perfect fit. As it turned out, the reason she chose PCO/Salus for her residency was similar to the reason she chose IWR — the desire to find and fit in with her “people” and the feeling of comfort she experienced during the interview process at PCO/Salus. In addition, not only is PCO/Salus closer to Wilkes Barre, but Dr. Patrizi has a brother that lives in Philadelphia.
“When I interviewed at PCO/Salus, the people were really welcoming. The faculty here is really dynamic and diverse. It’s a big faculty, my school was pretty small. So I knew I would get a lot of different perspectives,” said Dr. Patrizi. “It just felt like home. I just really meshed well with the people I interviewed with and it just felt right.”
She started her residency in primary care services in July 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic, and her experience at PCO/Salus convinced her she had made the correct career choice.
“I knew I wanted to teach eventually, so when I got here and saw here how the clinic is set up as far as who you’re working with, I thought it would be the best opportunity to learn how to be a good instructor and mentor,” she said. “I didn’t know in what capacity I would be teaching, whether I’d be a preceptor at an external site for students or if I actually wanted to teach at a school. But I knew either way this would set me up for success.”
Dr. Patrizi applied for the PCO/Salus faculty position hoping it would be a good long-term fit. As an instructor, her current duties include mostly teaching in a clinical setting — The Eye Institute — and working in the primary care suites with second- and third-year students. She is also involved in the Clinical Skills Lab and is teaching a Clinical Problem Solving (CPS) class.
“My residency solidified the fact that I love working with students. I loved my residency experience and if I can in any way give back and get involved with the residency program as well, that’s another thing I’d like to do,” she said. In addition, Dr. Patrizi would like to conduct some research while at PCO/Salus and get involved in some future mission trips.
When she does have free time, she likes to explore the cities in which she lives, and is now starting to become more familiar with the Philadelphia area. She also likes to cook and attend concerts.
“If I get some money to play with, I’m usually buying a concert ticket,” she said.