Eye and Ear Experts Donate Time and Talent to Mission of Mercy Event

September 6, 2022

Faculty and trainees from UPMC’s departments of ophthalmology and otolaryngology participated in the sixth annual Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh event at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Aug. 5 – 6, delivering free vision and hearing care to more than 1,400 participants.

Mission of Mercy is the signature program of A Call to Care, a nonprofit organization based in downtown Pittsburgh. Initially developed in 2017 to provide dental care to those in need, the event has expanded to include free vision and hearing care as well.

More than 1,000 doctors, dentists, medical residents, trainees, and community members from throughout the Pittsburgh area volunteered for this year’s event, which saw record attendance. Volunteers provided 736 vision screenings and 416 hearing tests and distributed nearly 700 free pairs of glasses and 229 free hearing aids.

“Mission of Mercy provides our faculty and trainees with a great opportunity to deliver essential care, free of charge, to people who may not have access to it otherwise,” says Evan “Jake” Waxman, MD, PhD, professor and vice chair for education at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Ophthalmology. Dr. Waxman founded the Guerilla Eye Service (GES), which brings free eye care to those who have barriers to medical services, in 2005. Participation in Mission of Mercy, Dr. Waxman says, ties directly to that goal.

The next Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh event is slated for June 23 and 24, 2023. Dr Waxman notes that vision and hearing providers, technicians, and trainees are welcome to volunteer.