Since she was little, Allison Raff, OD ‘22, ‘23Resident, knew she wanted to be a doctor. While an undergrad student at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, she learned about different professions and decided she wanted to have a specialty. Her choices came down to dentistry, optometry or podiatry.

Allison Raff HeadshotA friend who was attending optometry school suggested she shadow her in the practice she was working which sold her on the optometry profession. After taking a year off after college to work as an optical coordinator, she applied and was accepted to the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University Doctor of Optometry Accelerated Scholars program.

“Optometry is so cool because people are very worried about their eyes, it’s one of the senses people are really afraid to lose,” said Dr. Raff. “We can really help and reassure patients. When they get to our office they can’t see but when they leave they can and that’s pretty amazing.”

Her interest in a Pediatric Residency stemmed from working in a daycare during her undergraduate years.

“I looked forward to going to work every day. I’m good with kids and I enjoy being around them. Pediatrics is not for everybody – I felt like that’s a talent I didn’t want to waste. I spent six months at the Veterans Affairs on my rotations and was always thinking how I wanted to go back to peds,” said Dr. Raff.

She said although her residency has been very busy the experience has been good and she’s learning a lot, such as precepting Doctor of Optometry students.

“The faculty are amazing. You learn bits and pieces of how everybody treats the patients which is what makes you the doctor that you are,” she said. “I think that is really special. There are some insanely smart people at PCO/Salus and I have a lot of respect for them.”

She didn’t think she would like teaching but said she enjoys it more than she thought. “As a fourth year, when I had third years shadowing me in the pediatric department at The Eye Institute (TEI), I found myself gently quizzing them. Talking things out because I learn better when I talk things out with other people. I was worried that students would ask me a question, and you have to know how to answer all those questions. Then one of my preceptors said – no you don’t, you can look it up or research it together or have a conversation about it, which made me feel better,” said Dr. Raff.

She’s thinking of applying for a faculty position at PCO/Salus when she completes her residency – to stay and never leave!