Primary Care/Health/LV

GRVAGrand Rapids VA Outpatient Clinic

Site 1:Grand Rapids VA Outpatient Clinic
           Douglas Coon, OD & Joy Kerns, OD
           3019 Coit Avenue, NE
           Grand Rapids, MI 49505
           Phone: 616-365-7585
           Fax: 616-365-7509

Site 2:Mercy Health Saint Mary's Health Care
           Diabetes and Endocrine Center (DEC)*

           Mark Swan, OD
           300 Lafayette AVE, SE
           Grand Rapids, MI 49503
           Phone: 616-685-3098
           Fax: 616-685-3095

Site 3:  Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired
             456 Cherry S.E.
             Grand Rapids, MI  49503
             Phone:  616-458-1187
             Fax:  616-458-7113

*Each intern will rotate for approximately 4 weeks to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  On Tuesday will go to ABVI, and Friday to GRVA.  For more information about DEC, click on the DEC link.

Type of Practice:
Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic; Multidisciplinary


The optometric externship at the Grand Rapids VA Outpatient Clinic will provide clinical education in medical optometry.  The program will provide the challenging cases and attending expertise needed to help develop the student’s ocular disease skills.  An interdisciplinary approach for providing care for patients with systemic disease and ocular complications will be emphasized. 

Number of MCO students per rotation: 3

Orientation Instructions:

You should contact Dr. Coon 6 weeks prior to the first day of the rotation to verify dates, times, directions, parking, and any other instructions.  Report to the address above the first day of the rotation for orientation to policies, clinical protocol, administrative procedures, etc.  Completion of hepatitis B series is required (unless waiver is signed) and annual TB testing must be completed.  A FLU shot is also required at this site and Mercy Health St. Mary's, make sure you have this requirement done and a copy to Elizabeth Spedoske, MCO 137C.

BE CERTAIN TO TAKE YOUR CURRENT CPR CRD, PROOF OF FLU SHOT, TB TEST RESTULTS CARD, AND HEP B (OR WAIVER FORM) TO EACH OF YOUR ROTATION SITES. You also will be required to fill out a VA Without Compensation Form which will be provided to you via WebCT email 1 month prior to start date.

If you have any questions, please contact our office at (231) 591-2202 (Elizabeth Spedoske, Assistant Dean's Office) or (231) 591-3845 (Dr. David Durkee, Director of Externships).

Contact Person: 
Douglas Coon, O.D.
Joy Kerns, OD

Clinical Teaching Faculty:
GRVADouglas Coon, O.D., Joy Kerns, O.D. and Mark Swan, OD
Other Clinical Mentors: 
Grand Rapids Ocular Disease Resident 
Support Staff: 
Several clerks, nurses, and technicians

Operating Hours: 
Monday - Friday,  8:00am-4:30pm (No Federal Holidays)

Hours of direct patient care for extern per day:   8 (40 per week)

Number of patients seen by extern per day:   12

Educational Objectives:

Scope of the Externship:

Chart of Patient Examinations


Chart of Patient Examinations


*Average Number of Patient Examinations
Rotation 1 = 451
Rotation 2 = 465
Rotation 3 = 529 

*Average Number of Patient Examinations
Rotation 1 = 250
Rotation 2 = 459
Rotation 3 = 531 

*Average Number of Patient Examinations
Rotation 1 = 521
Rotation 2 = 476
Rotation 3 = 525


*Average Number of Patient Examinations
Rotation 1 = 379
Rotation 2 = 419
Rotation 3 = 359



Instrumentation: The Eye Clinic at Grand Rapids VA is well equipped with the latest in ophthalmic equipment.

Multi-Disciplinary Health Services at Grand Rapids VA

Biographical Sketches of Primary Faculty Members

Douglas CoonDouglas A. Coon, O.D. graduated with honors from the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University in May of 2001 and then completed a residency in ocular disease at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center.  Following his residency, he became an Assistant Professor of Optometry at the University of Houston College of Optometry where he lectured in ocular disease courses and was an attending in the Ocular Diagnostic and Medical Eye Service.  He worked with numerous optometry residents (primary care, contact lens, and pediatrics), 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year optometry students and Family Practice M.D. residents. He worked alongside sub-specialist ophthalmologists in the area of glaucoma, retina, and neuro-ophthalmology and has been certified as an Optometric Glaucoma Specialist by the state of Texas.  The College of Optometry voted Dr. Coon the Clinical Faculty of the Year for Outstanding Leadership and Instruction in the Clinic for the year of 2002-2003.  He joined the Grand Rapids VA Outpatient Clinic in August of 2003 and holds full time appointment. Dr. Coon is one of a handful of optometrists accredited by the National Board of Optometry in Advanced Competence in Medical Optometry (ACMO.)  He is an Associate Clinical Professor at the Michigan College of Optometry and is director of the student teaching program at Grand Rapids VA.

Joy KernsJoy A. Kerns, OD graduated with honors from the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University in May 2004.  She completed internships at Grand Rapids Ophthalmology, Grand Rapids VA and the University Eye Clinic at Michigan College of Optometry.  Following graduation, she completed her residency training in ocular disease at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center in June 2005. Dr. Kerns spent a short amount of time as an independent primary care optometrist prior to joining the Grand Rapids VA Outpatient Clinic in December 2005 as a full-time staff optometrist.  She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Michigan College of Optometry and is responsible for proctoring fourth year optometry interns and also lecturing to the third year ocular disease class.

Grand RapidsThe City of Grand Rapids:

Located on the banks of the Grand River, Grand Rapids is rated among the top cities in the U.S., and combines sophisticated charm with midwestern friendliness. Known for being safe and clean, it’s a “walking” city. The downtown features a major new convention center with five star experiences: hotels, restaurants, and relaxation.  Minutes away from spectacular Lake Michigan beaches and beach towns, Grand Rapids is known for its major art and cultural events, plays, museums, and a world-class botanical garden.
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