Optometry Residency Application Process and Program Completion Criteria - Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center
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Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center


Optometry Residency Application Process and Program Completion Criteria




  • Applicants must have earned a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree, or will have earned such a degree, by the time of matriculation from an Accreditation Council on Optometric Education accredited school or college of optometry.
  • Applicant should have a minimum cumulative grade point average in the optometry professional curriculum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Applicants must have successfully completed parts I, II, and III of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO).
  • An interview by the TVAMC optometry staff with concurrence by the UABSO residency committee may be necessary.
  • By congressional law, candidates must be citizens of the United States.
  • The Tuscaloosa VAMC affirms that all residency applicants will be evaluated without regard to sex, race, color, creed, national origin, or non-disqualifying physical disabilities.

Program Application Deadline: February 15


Selection procedure

Interested candidates for the residency positions, including official ORMatch applicants, are directed to the TVAMC optometry residency web pages and are provided an electronic copy of the TVAMC Residency in Primary Eye Care / Ocular Disease Handbook (or are sent a hard copy if needed).   Applicants may contact the Residency Director or the Residency Supervisor from the ORMatch website to obtain more information about the program. Dr. Schifanella usually corresponds with interested potential candidates via email and/or phone prior to and during the ORMatch application process.

The application process officially begins with the resident registering with ORMatch. The resident applicant registers with ORMatch by submitting agreement to compliance with ORMatch Rules, an Applicant Agreement, OE Tracker Number, and a registration fee. Once registered, the resident applicant will submit the following documents to ORMatch:

  • A page of applicant contact, educational, and NBEO information
  • Letter of intent
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Unofficial optometry school transcript
  • Identification of 3 references who will submit letters of recommendation

In addition to the above documents, the program requires a copy of the NBEO score report (photograph or screen shot is acceptable). The applicant should upload a copy of the NBEO score report as supplemental information on the ORMatch application to the program. Official transcripts are required for all applicants and should be sent directly to Dr. Schifanella. Finally, the resident applicant should submit his or her ranking of residency program preferences to ORMatch by the ORMatch deadline.

Whenever possible for the applicants, the program coordinator and the staff optometrist interview qualified applicants. On-site interviews are strongly encouraged, as it gives applicants the opportunity to see the facility, meet the staff and coordinator, and become familiar with the clinic environment. Although each Primary Eye Care / Ocular Disease resident candidate is strongly encouraged to visit TVAMC, a personal interview is not mandatory. Telephone interviews may be arranged if a visit cannot be scheduled. Dr. Schifanella is responsible for inviting resident candidates for interviews and for arranging the interview schedule for each candidate. The interview typically consists of the visiting candidate meeting with Dr. Schifanella, Dr. Whitaker, Dr. Prewitt, and the current residents. The candidate's meeting with Dr. Schifanella includes a one-on-one interview, a review of the residency requirements, and a tour of the TVAMC Optometry Clinic.

Following the interview, Dr. Schifanella requests input regarding the candidates from Dr. Whitaker, Dr. Prewitt, and the current residents. She then ranks the candidates and shares this ranking with Dr. Whitaker and Dr. Prewitt. Based on these discussions, the ranking may be modified. The final ranking list is reviewed and approved by the Residency and Fellowship Programs Advisory Committee and the Dean prior to the match. Finally, Dr. Schifanella enters the official ranking into the ORMatch system. Official notification of matches is sent to all parties by ORMatch one week after the matching deadline date. Following the match, Dr. Schifanella contacts the candidates and letters of acceptance are sent to the incoming residents.

Resident applicants who do not match will be informed of such by ORMatch. The names of residency programs which also did not match and the name of unmatched applicants will be available on the ORMatch website at the earliest possible date after the match. After official notification of non-matched status by ORMatch, interested parties can proceed with independent negotiation in filling residency programs.

United States citizenship is required to qualify for VHA appointment in a paid VA optometry resident position funded by the Office of Academic Affiliations.  Reference: VA Handbook 5005/57, Part II, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3.g.(1) & (5)(c), dated June 14, 2012.

The resident must obtain a license in at least one state.

Application Materials and Procedures Contact Information:

Lisa Schifanella, O.D., M.S.

Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center

3701 Loop Road East

Tuscaloosa, AL 35404




When a resident successfully completes the training program, the Director of Residency Programs recommends to the Dean of the affiliate (UABSO) the granting of a certificate. Criteria for residency completion are as follows:

  • The resident is required to deliver clinical services at a level which is satisfactory to the clinic staff.
  • The resident is required to write a paper based on original research, literature review, or a clinical case suitable for publication in a refereed ophthalmic journal.
  • The resident is expected to perform in a professional manner in the delivery of patient care services and to observe those proprieties of conduct and courtesies that are consistent with the rules and regulations governing the clinic.
  • The resident is required to participate in and complete the requirements set forth in the curriculum.



Contact Information

Lisa L. Schifanella, OD, MS

Optometry Residency Program Supervisor
Tuscaloosa VAMC Optometry Clinic
3701 Loop Road East
Tuscaloosa, AL 35404
(205) 554-2847
(205) 554-4628

Program Information




UAB School of
Optometry *


Optometric Residency Matching Service*

VA Optometry Service 

View Residency

Contact Information

Lisa L. Schifanella, OD, MS 
Residency Supervisor
Tuscaloosa VAMC Optometry Clinic
3701 Loop Road East
Tuscaloosa, AL 35404
Phone:  (205) 554-2847
Fax:      (205) 554-4628


* Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs Website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites. The link will open in a new window.