Dr. Irwin Suchoff was many things to many people. On Wednsday, March 21, Dr. Neera Kapoor wrote,

Today, a truly wonderful man, Dr. Irwin B. Suchoff, passed away. Irwin was a great optometrist, leader, thinker, mentor, friend, husband, father, and human being.

I consider myself a very lucky girl to have had this wonderful man in my life for so many years. Over the last few days, many have spoken about the man we lost and the impact he had, not only on the profession, but on our personal development. He was a mentor to so many, though I am not sure that this was a role he actively pursued. It was much more organic than that.  He had whatever it takes to be an effective mentor, and we flocked to him and held him close.

I found this model of clinical mentoring. It screams “Irwin”:



What is clinical mentoring?

It is a sustained collaborative relationship in which a highly-experienced health care provider guides improvement in the quality of care delivered by other providers and the health care systems in which they work.

What are the components of mentoring?

Yes, the mentor should have a superb knowledge base, but what you do as a mentor is about RELATIONSHIPS. You find ways to connect, with heart, to another human being. Building this relationship takes time and is an ongoing process, even over years of working together. You must begin by paying attention and observing what is going on, at every level. You must be actively listening, but without judgment. Mentors are role models all the time. Feedback is given from mentor to mentee, but also from mentee to mentor. Mentors are always learning. Growth and learning happen over time, relationships deepen over time. Ideally there will be return visits, emails, and phone calls.

Let’s pay it forward.

In honor of this wonderful man, become a mentor. Look around you. I am sure you don’t have to look very far to find someone who would want to build a relationship, with heart, to be a better doctor or therapist and a better human being.

Watch a wonderful video put together by Irwin’s son-in-law, Scott.

Donations can be made in his name to:

College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD.org/donations)

or Optometry Cares AOA Foundation (aoafoundation.org)

*Model of clinical mentoring from I-Tech, International Training and Education Center for Health   https://www.go2itech.org/resources/clinical-mentoring-toolkit/