Have you met Dr. Mary Van Hoy? She is a petite powerhouse who clearly has lived her life thinking outside the box. In fact, there isn’t even a box in sight when you start talking with Dr. Van Hoy about her optometric career.
After graduating from the Indiana University School of Optometry, Dr. Van Hoy became an army optometrist from 1971 to 1973, stationed at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, TX. One day, she opened a closet and found a bunch of vision therapy equipment. Inspired to include more vision therapy in her work, she began to shift her focus from active-duty patients to their children.
After completing her army service in 1973, she returned to Indianapolis and opened her practice cold. While the practice grew and grew, Dr. Van Hoy began to realize that what she really wanted was to focus completely on vision therapy. So in 2008, she sold her practice to open another one!
Dr. Van Hoy continued to learn and grow in order to offer her patients a broader range of therapeutic options. This led her to become certified by the Sensory Learning Institute, and to offer a supra-modal approach to learning that combines light with vestibular and auditory processing.
Meanwhile, in Seattle, Dr. Van Hoy’s daughter was working as an occupational therapist. Her patients included children with significant sensory processing challenges, and reached out to mom for help with some of the more challenging cases. Dr. Van Hoy traveled from Indiana to Washington and used her Sensory Learning Institute credentials to provide specialized therapy techniques, referring patients to COVD colleagues for the optometric piece of the puzzle. She began to see the power of collaboration in helping high-risk and underserved populations.
Dr. Van Hoy was spending more and more time in Seattle, so she needed a place to live. Her solution was the ultimate “out of the box” decision: a floating home on Lake Union! There are 32 floating homes in her community, called Tenas Chuck or “Little Water.” Dr. Van Hoy now spends two weeks per month in Seattle and the other two in Indianapolis. And for those few extra days per month, she is thinking about how she can reach out and help more people.
Dr. Van Hoy has met some incredible people since starting her work in Seattle, including neurologists, chiropractors, film makers, suicide prevention counselors, and veterans. Like her, they are all passionate about their work and about reaching out to underserved communities. Dr. Van Hoy has been thinking about how she can help our veterans and Wounded Warriors. She feels she can provide the missing piece in their recoveries as part of a multi-disciplinary team. One of her newest ideas is to take her skills on the road with a bus! Instead of waiting for patients to find their way to her, she could take her services to them.
Dr. Van Hoy’s message to all the good people of COVD: COLLABORATE! CONNECT! Build a TEAM. Get involved! Think outside of the box. Open a closet and start a vision therapy practice. You don’t have to wait for her bus to come to your town. She wants all of us to find the bus routes in our own towns and communities and then invite others to join our journeys. You will be amazed at how many people you will be able to help.
Thank you Dr. Mary Van Hoy for sharing your inspirational story!