Physician Assistant M.S.

Number of Pages


Year Approved


First Advisor

Goetz, Cindy

Second Reader

Hannah Bender


Despite current efforts by medical professionals to reduce the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy (DR), a microvascular complication of uncontrolled diabetes, this noncommunicable disease remains the leading cause of preventable vision loss worldwide (Cheloni et al., 2019). Research estimates 90% of DR cases could be prevented if detected early through routine eye exams, yet certain social determinants of health still remain a significant barrier for many individuals to receive this care. According to Wong & Sabanayagam (2020), only 25% of DM patients in developing countries receive routine care with adequate eye screenings. The goal of this community service project was to identify these barriers and to create a sustainable way for overcoming these barriers in hopes of reducing the progression of DR into blindness. The researchers partnered with Medical Missions Outreach to publicize information on DR by creating an educational poster and implementing a new fundoscopic eye screening station at their pop-up clinic. This community service project was implemented on a five day trip to Trinidad and Tobago in August 2022 where knowledge regarding the importance of adhering to routine eye examinations and close management of diabetes was successfully portrayed to an estimated fifty community members diagnosed with diabetes, temporarily eliminating certain barriers to healthcare. Researchers concluded that by addressing social determinants of health through educational discussion and routine eye screenings, attitudes and behaviors may be modified. This article discusses the growing concern of DR, social determinants of health affecting developing countries from receiving routine care, research methods for intervention, execution of the chosen educational model, and how the sustainability of this community service project would continue to reduce disease burden.

Degree Name

Masters of Science in Physician Assistant

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Terms of Use and License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.