New eye clinic opens in Medical Mall
by Bailey Richards
HAZARD — A new state-of-the-art eye center has just opened in Pery County with a world-class facility and optical surgeon.
The new center, located at the ARH Medical Mall in Hazard, is a partnership between ARH and Dr. Raja Goli, and is one of the most technologically advanced of its kind.
Dr. Goli was raised in Hazard after his father started an internal medicine and general surgical career in the area. He said that when he first moved to Hazard with his family in the 1970s, it was a difficult transition for him.
“This was the smallest community we had ever lived in,” said Dr. Goli. “I thought it was a little too rural for me.”
Since then he has come to love and appreciate the community, and despite offers at large practices in big cities, he chose to bring his skills as an ophthalmologist and optical surgeon back to Hazard.
“This is not the same city that we moved into 34 years ago,” he said. “I think it has grown in a very, very nice way.”
Over the last 34 years since Dr. Goli first moved to Hazard, the city has had only two mayors, Bill and Nan Gorman. He credits the two of them for helping Hazard grow, especially in the medical field.
When he was younger, before Roy Campbell donated the land for the Hazard ARH medical center, Dr. Goli remembers shooting rifles on that mountain. But since then the hospital and the entire mountain top have been transformed into a sprawling medical campus with many doctors’ offices, clinics, and pharmacies, along with other businesses and some homes.
“It is now an incredible campus, and once the hospital was constructed then the rest of the community kind of grew up around it,” he noted.
Dr. Goli said that it was through seeing his father and other doctors at ARH and local offices that he realized his dream of going into medicine. He said that his interest in ophthalmology came from watching another local eye doctor, Dr. Syamala H. Reddy.
“He sparked an interest in me, and a lot of the medical community here has helped me in so many ways,” he continued.
Dr. Goli went on to achieve a medical degree from the University of Louisville and after working in emergency rooms and as an internist. He went on to achieve an ophthalmology degree from the University of Cincinnati.
After graduating, he began working with Hazard ARH, developing an idea for a new eye care center as a part of the Medical Mall. Dr. Goli talked to Donnie Fields, the CEO of Hazard ARH, about what they both envisioned for the clinic.
“The perception of ARH is that it is kind of like a public health clinic,” said Dr. Goli, adding that a large part in changing this perception was making the waiting experience more enjoyable.
The clinic has been set up with comfortable seating and an open flow to the rest of the office. The registration desk is open to the waiting room and the examination rooms allowing the staff to keep a constant eye on the whole office. The clinic has been designed to cut down on wait times to see Dr. Goli.
Two large TVs in the waiting room offer facts and tips for healthy eyes as well as brain teasers. Once in the office, general diagnostic equipment is in open rooms that allow for a flow through the office to the examination rooms. The clinic was designed by an architecture group from Atlanta that specializes in ophthalmology offices.
“I don’t believe it is a hyperbolic statement to say there is no small town eye clinic that is going to surpass in technological sophistication,” said Goli.
Dr. Goli has hired a staff of five that are all cross-trained to work reception, assist in examinations, use the diagnostic equipment, and keep track of medical records. The new hires are Brooklyn Wilson, Brittany Gilbert, Ashley Gibson, Tamara Sapp and Liz Neace.
The clinic is now open and accepting clients, and Dr. Goli invited members of the community to come and look around the new office.
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