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New Optometry Service Opens at West Oakland Health Center




From left to right: West Oakland Health Center  Board member Gregory Nash, Board President Lloyd Ware, Board member Michelle Byrd, Board Treasurer Preston DuFauchard, Dr. Geraldine Vayson, wielding scissors, WOHC CEO Benjamin Pettus, Mayor Libby Schaaf, John Flanagan, UC Berkeley Dean of School of Optometry, Chief of Operations Aisha Brown of Kieth Carson’s office, and a glimpse of Rebecca Gebhart, interim director, Alameda County Health Care Services Manager.

This past Monday morning, August 28, an historic multi-generational group joyously assembled to cut a ceremonial ribbon opening the newest health service at the West Oakland Health Center (WOHC) on Adeline at 7th Street in Oakland.
UC Berkeley School of Optometry Dean John Flanagan, has partnered with WOHC CEO Benjamin F. Pettus to open the newest service at the center, taking neighborliness to a whole new level. UC School of Optometry Associate Dean Cristina Wilmer was also present, and Lloyd Ware, president of the WOHC board of directors happily announced he grew up “across the street”.

Ware, a city employee along with Board member Michele Byrd, listened attentively as Mayor Libby Schaaf offered enthusiastic thanks and congratulations for the new Optometry Service. Representatives from Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office and County Supervisor Keith Carson’s office were there.

This was a Who’s Who group of community leaders and activists of several generations, displaying some of the biggest smiles, and appreciation for vision care now available to the community. Almost every individual attending uses vision correction, so this was personal!

Mr. Pettus offered opening remarks as Master of Ceremonies, and with particular joy, hailed Dr. Geraldine Vayson, Pharmacy Director, to come forward and cut the ribbon opening the Optometry Service.  Dr. Vayson was the first African-American woman graduating in the first class from UCSF, with the degree of Pharm D.  She helped develop that degree program.

WOHC’s mission is to improve the health and socioeconomic status of communities by providing preventive care and treatment for diverse neighbors. WOHC strives to be a community hub of health, well-being, connection and inspiration, with four locations in the East Bay.

To use services at the WOHC, go to, Locations tab, to find telephone numbers to call and register.



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