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Brookside Optometric Group

2018 Highlights from Brookside Optometric Doctors

Brookside Optometric Group doctors and partners share their most meaningful and memorable patient stories from the year!

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Dr. Linda Hsu: Helping Patients See Their Best

I have been in practice at Brookside for more than 30 years, along with my husband and partner Dr. Kurt Skinner. The most meaningful part of my work are the relationships I have developed with my patients throughout my practice.

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Dr. Rosie Melrose: Cultivating Strong Relationships

I am most excited by the variety of general practice, never knowing who will walk through the door to my exam room next. It's so interesting to work with people of different ages, occupations, ethnicities, and interests—I learn new things from my patients every single day! On one of my favorite mornings, I examined a 93-year-old patient followed by a 3-year-old patient, both ends of the spectrum of life!

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Dr. Richard Vanover: Committed to Comprehensive Eye Care

I really enjoy working with children and their parents, and the opportunity to help them understand what their child’s vision is like and what the future can hold for them. It’s important for me to get the parents to realize the visual process and why it’s important to have the child wear their glasses or follow my instructions for the best long-term outcome (and what the possible outcomes can be if they don’t!).

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Meet the Staff: Lizbeth Hernandez

As an optician in Brookside Optometric Group’s optical department, Lizbeth works with patients to help them select frames or lenses ideal for their prescription and lifestyle. Once the frames are selected and the order is placed, she sends the frames off to the lab.

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Dr. Camille Weissenberg: Committed to Family Eye Health

The most rewarding part of my practice is helping people who are new to glasses. I’m passionate about primary eye care, and it is exciting to see people get their first pair of glasses and see clearly for the first time, or see clearly for the first time in years.

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Meet the Staff: Julie Ohta

As part of the Brookside Optometric Group family for 33 years, Julie plays an important role as the frame inventory control specialist and manages our extensive frame inventory. During a typical day, she orders frames for patients and the frame room, receives and tags frames, and meets with frame sales reps to select the latest styles for the practice.

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Meet the Staff: Cherise Manning

As an optician at Brookside Optometric Group, Cherise fits glasses and contact lenses to ensure that each patient has optimal vision. During a typical day, she works closely with our doctors and patients and maintains patient contact lens orders, including logging prescription contact lenses as they arrive from our suppliers and maintaining our in-stock inventory of lenses.

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Best of San Joaquin 2018

Thanks for once again voting us “Best of San Joaquin” in 2018, for the 8th year in a row! We appreciate your ongoing support as Best Optometrist, and we are honored to have you all as our patients!

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Brookside Optometric Group Partners with Discovery Challenge Academy

Brookside Optometric Group is proud to partner with Discovery Challenge Academy to provide free eye exams and new glasses to local high school students. Based in Lathrop, Discovery Challenge Academy (DCA) opened in January 2017 as a partnership between the California National Guard and San Joaquin County Office of Education.

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Dr. Vikram Girn: Helping Patients Thrive

The two areas of practice that I especially enjoy are pediatric eye exams and specialty contact lens fittings for patients who have limited vision even with glasses.

As an eye doctor, you realize that children with uncorrected vision conditions perform poorly in academics. What surprised me was how many children who are underperforming in school have underlying vision problems! These could be easily diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam by your optometrist. Working with young kids has the potential to change their academic potential and much more.

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Level Up Your Eyewear: Level Smart Glasses

Want to track your daily activity and give back to those in need simply by wearing your glasses? Now you can do both with Level smart glasses.

Designed in the U.S. and handcrafted in Italy, the smart glasses are a perfect mix of style and function. Built-in activity-tracking technology logs your daily activity, step count, calories burned, and more. View your activity throughout the day on your phone—the glasses sync wirelessly with the Level mobile app, and if you ever misplace your glasses, you can easily track them down using the app.

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Dr. Leila Chow: Preserving and Restoring Sight

In the summer between 6th and 7th grade, my parents enrolled me in a summer school class where I was bored to tears. My mother suggested that I help the teacher, who was my 6th grade teacher, with some of the students in the class instead of being bored. That was the start of my life long involvement with volunteerism and community service.

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Meet the Staff: Bryce Bacich

As a tester at Brookside Optometric Group, Bryce conducts a few simple tests on patients to produce a picture of their eye health before they meet with their optometrist as part of a complete vision analysis. He enjoys interacting with Brookside doctors, staff and patients, solving problems, and helping people in any way that he can.

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Dr. John Demshar: Giving the Gift of Sight

When I was in my early 40s and my sons were in high school, I began to feel like it was time to give back. When I was a youth, my father was asked by the local parish priest to build a small church in a remote area to serve people who could not make it to the city on Sundays. He would take us there on the weekends, and we would do the clean up work.

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Meet the Staff: Pat Coleman

Pat manages the in-house finishing lab at Brookside Optometric Group. As bench optician, he produces prescription eyewear for patients, solves problems with difficult prescriptions, and assists the retail staff.

Brookside’s optical lab is the only lab in the state that can complete 99% of the work in-house. The optical lab is able to handle complicated prescriptions that other labs aren’t qualified to handle, and can often make glasses overnight, or even while patients wait in emergency situations.

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Dr. Craig Hisaka: Mastering the Art of Optometry

As the Founding Partner of Brookside Optometric Group and clinical professor at UC Berkeley School of Optometry for 40 years, the story of my practice and teaching begins with a commitment to the art of optometry.

I opened the practice 40 years ago and within six months of opening, the practice went viral due to my philosophy, brand, and goals. The backlog of patients has remained four to six weeks for 38 years. John Iacopi, CPA created a completely new and innovative business model designed to give my former optometry students a direct pathway to partnership.

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Meet the Staff: Marie Cholula

As a pre-tester at Brookside Optometric Group, Marie conducts pretest procedures on patients before they meet with their optometrist as part of a comprehensive eye exam. She also helps opticians dispense new glasses, and makes adjustments and repairs to ensure that every patient has comfortable, clear vision.

Her favorite aspect of the job is interacting with patients and assisting Brookside doctors as they evaluate patient eye health and vision quality. She loves to help patients find new glasses that they are excited about wearing, and she enjoys working for a great group of doctors who go above and beyond for their patients and their employees.

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Dr. Yolanda Scheer: Specializing in Eye Care for Kids

My area of specialty is pediatrics. I love working with children! During my rotations in Optometry School, I discovered that it takes different skills and techniques to work effectively with children. Working with kids felt natural to me, and I felt I could make a difference by providing the highest quality vision care for children.

The most rewarding part of my job is getting to know families, providing them with clear eyesight, and being able to offer education on how to maintain good eye health. I enjoy building relationships and being able to watch as families grow over the years.

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Safe Viewing Tips for the 2017 Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse is a phenomenal spectacle that everyone should make the effort to see, and the eclipse of August 21, 2017 promises to be one of the most amazing of our lifetieme. Your mother's (and your optometrist's) advice about not looking directly at the sun still applies. Here are some tips that you should keep in mind. You can get more information about safely viewing the eclipse from NASA.

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Meet the Staff: Heather Brooks

Heather is a pre-tester at Brookside Optometric Group, and greets and conducts pretest procedures on each patient before they meet with their optometrist as part of a complete vision analysis. She also dispenses and adjusts new glasses, and helps keep the practice clean, organized, and running efficiently.

Her favorite aspect of the job is working closely with Brookside doctors to help them evaluate patient eye health and vision quality. The most meaningful aspect of her work at Brookside is the opportunity to help each patient get the necessary tests and photos of their eyes in order to assess that their eye health is optimal.

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Dr. Jim Winnick: Committed to Education

My involvement in optometry has always expanded beyond direct patient care, most significantly in the area of teaching and education. For eight years, I was a clinical instructor at UC Berkeley School of Optometry in the methods lab, primary care clinic, and contact lens clinic. Since moving to the valley, I continue to be involved as a guest lecturer for Dr. Craig Hisaka’s practice management course. I give three lectures to second and third year students: “Career Choices in Optometry,” “Managed Vision Care” and “The Future of Optometry.”

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Meet the Staff: Honey Gale

Honey is an optician at Brookside Optometric Group, and works with patients to help them select frames and educates them about their options for lenses and premium lens coatings. She enjoys meeting new patients and helping them look their best with glasses that provide comfortable vision and fit their personal style.

She also trains patients how to insert, remove, and care for their contact lenses, and she likes the process of helping patients wear contacts for the first time. The most meaningful part of her job is when patients come in to the office to pick up their new glasses, and are pleased with both their crystal clear vision and the look of their glasses.

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Dr. Kurt Skinner: Grounded in the Community

My wife and Partner at Brookside Optometric Group, Dr. Linda Hsu, are celebrating our 30th year in practice living here in Stockton. Through the help and support of my fellow Doctors of Optometry at Brookside, I have developed a bit of a specialty in fitting contact lenses on scarred or irregular eyes—corneas with surface irregularities that are unable to provide a good refracting surface to focus vision, even with glasses.

By providing these specialty-type of contact lenses, patients can often stay functional in driving, continue working, and lead a much more fulfilling life. The reward of assisting someone with more clear and comfortable vision is a feeling I am fortunate to experience every day.

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Meet the Staff: Monica Hernandez

As an optician at Brookside Optometric Group, Monica works closely with patients. During a typical day at the office, she helps patients pick out new frames based on their vision needs and style preferences, educates patients about their lenses, adjusts glasses to ensure a good fit, and assists with eyeglass repair and cleaning. She also works in the specialty testing area, using the Optomap Retinal Scanner and other equipment to maximize the examination experience for patients.

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Meet the Staff: Pheth Xaysana

As assistant lab manager at Brookside Optometric Group, Pheth ensures that all patients experience great customer service when they visit the office. Her role includes helping patients pick out new frames and adjusting glasses for relaxed vision and greater wearing comfort. She ensures that every patient is happy with their glasses, and loves to see them smile when they try on the perfect pair.

In addition to meeting the needs of patients, she also assists doctors and other staff members—she appreciates the opportunity to expand and develop her skills, and finds positive solutions when faced with challenges. Prior to joining the team at Brookside, she worked at National Vision Inc.

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Rosemary Melrose

Dr. Rosemary Melrose is an optometrist and partner at Brookside Optometric Group. Known around the office as Dr. Rosie, she has practiced optometry with her husband, Dr. Bob Melrose, since 1982. The most rewarding aspect of her job is the opportunity to educate patients about their eyes and vision so that they can make the best possible choices for their overall health.

During a typical day at the office, she enjoys seeing a variety of patients of all ages and different cultures, and learning from their unique life experiences. Dr. Rosie strives to create an atmosphere of trust when caring for her patients and is committed to their best interest, whether that means treating their vision problems herself, or referring them to a specialist.

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Meet the Staff: Alicia Salcedo

As a receptionist at Brookside Optometric Group, Alicia is one of the first staff members that patients interact with when they call the office or come in for an appointment. She responds to the needs of patients, multitasks efficiently, and coordinates and communicates with doctors and other staff members to ensure that every patient visit is a great experience.

During a typical day at the office, Alicia greets patients, answers phone calls, schedules appointments, and maintains charts. She enjoys the busy and fast-paced environment, and her favorite aspect of the job is the opportunity to work with patients and staff while continuing to develop her skills by learning new departments.

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Josephine Laurel

Dr. Josephine Laurel is an optometrist and partner at Brookside Optometric Group. Patient care is her highest priority, and getting to know her patients well helps her find the pair of glasses or contact lenses that will fit their needs.

Developing long-term relationships with patients is one of her favorite aspects of the job. She engages with her patients, working to improve both their eye health and overall lifestyle. She enjoys catching up with returning patients and learning about their professions and hobbies, as well as meeting new patients and addressing their eye health and vision needs.

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Richard Vanover

Dr. Richard Vanover is an optometrist at Brookside Optometric Group. The most rewarding aspect of his job is the opportunity to explain a process or condition to a patient in a way that brings them greater clarity and understanding of the situation. One meaningful experience at the office was when he met a patient who came in for an exam solely because she wanted a new pair of glasses. She was in good health, yet during the exam, Dr. Vanover discovered something concerning in her eyes. He used the Optomap retinal scanner to show her the findings, and referred her back to her primary physician for further evaluation.

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Vikram Girn

Dr. Vikram Girn is an optometrist at Brookside Optometric Group. He enjoys working with patients to help improve their vision and comfort, from helping a patient who thought they would never be glasses-free to finally see with LASIK or multifocal soft contact lenses, to fitting a patient with workstation-glasses to help them work comfortably behind a computer screen all day long. The most rewarding aspect of his job is the opportunity to see his patients thrive.

While each day at the office is unique, Dr. Girn typically has a combination of complete eye health evaluations, custom contact lens fittings, and examinations to treat and manage dry eyes, glaucoma, and various eye infections. He enjoys meeting a variety of patients, from toddlers to seniors, and everyone in between. He also works part time at Central Valley Eye Medical Group in Stockton.

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Meet the Staff: Iris Palomarez

Iris joined the Brookside Optometric Group family in 2015. As part of the enrollment department, she assists with scheduling, prepping, and organizing. She enjoys being part of a team that works together to create the best possible experience for patients, and her favorite aspect of the job is working alongside a great group of doctors and staff members who support one another and care for each other.

One especially meaningful day at work was when a patient complained about double vision. Iris referred the patient to one of the optometrists who specializes in double vision conditions and treatments. The patient was extremely relieved after that visit, and Iris appreciated the opportunity to help them address their vision needs. Her experience working at Brookside is one she will carry with her for the rest of her life, and she is thankful to be part of the team.

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Meet the Staff: JoAnn Murphy-Ma

As front desk manager at Brookside Optometric Group, JoAnn is one of the first people that patients meet when they visit the office. She oversees appointment scheduling for all of the optometrists, handles supply orders and recall notices, and manages staff as they check, pull, and prep patient charts.

Her favorite aspect of the job is creating a welcoming environment for patients. When patients come in to the office to pick up their new glasses, she loves to see their smiles as they experience restored vision. As part of the Brookside team for 13 years, JoAnn appreciates working in a family-oriented environment filled with caring and compassionate doctors and staff.

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. John Fujii

Dr. John Fujii is an optometrist at Brookside Optometric Group. He enjoys working in a unique career that gives him the opportunity to build relationships with his patients while addressing their visual needs and making a positive impact on their overall health. The most rewarding aspect of his job is delivering personal and professional care to his patients while working alongside a great team of skilled doctors and staff.

Dr. Fujii has worked in three different ophthalmology offices and was formerly the Laser Center Director for Pacific Laser Eye Center. Working for ophthalmologists gave him greater experience with post-surgical care and complications, and his work at the laser center gave him the opportunity to work with, learn alongside, and train other optometrists and ophthalmologists.

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Linda Hsu

Dr. Linda Hsu is an optometrist at Brookside Optometric Group. In practice for more than 25 years, she enjoys building relationships with her patients and the opportunity to diagnose and solve their vision problems. With an extremely high myopic correction, Dr. Hsu understands firsthand how blurry the world can appear. When she received her first pair of glasses at age eight, she was excited that she could finally see “the leaves on the trees!”

Today, many of her younger patients come back to the Brookside office after receiving their first pair of glasses, and share that they too can now see the leaves on the trees. Those experiences take her back to why she became an optometrist in the first place - to help people see the world more clearly and not miss out on all that life has to show them.

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Leila Chow

Dr. Leila Chow joined Brookside Optometric Group as an optometrist in 2002. Her favorite aspect of the job is the opportunity to help patients receive the highest level of optometric vision care, and she enjoys seeing her pediatric patients mature and grow up.

Dr. Chow studied zoology as an undergraduate at the University of California Berkeley and graduated from the UC Berkeley School of Optometry in 1990. She began her career in private practice in Antioch, but was curious about the more practical side of the optometry business. She sold part of her practice and returned to school at California State University Hayward, where she graduated with her MBA in 2001.

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Kurt Skinner

Dr. Kurt Skinner is a partner at Brookside Optometric Group. The most rewarding aspect of his job is the opportunity to create positive outcomes for his patients. Whether he can provide sharper vision, ease eyestrain from blue light screen exposure, or recognize a disease process and take proactive steps toward treatment, he appreciates the opportunity to help his patients.

During a typical day at Brookside, Dr. Skinner provides comfortable prescriptions for poor or strained visual conditions, including glasses for computer demands and contact lenses for sports. He also offers guidance with laser vision correction or cataract surgery. The advanced instrumentation at Brookside allows him to detect eye disease processes and ocular side effects from systemic diseases.

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Meet the Staff: Beverly Cahoon

Beverly Cahoon joined the Brookside Optometric team as the insurance authorization specialist ten years ago. With her great attention to detail and strong organizational skills, she spends a typical day at the office pulling up to 100 insurance authorizations for patients with appointments and ordering contacts or glasses from a variety of insurance companies.

When a patient is not eligible for a service under their insurance, Beverly calls to advise them before the appointment. She also communicates with insurance companies to track patient coverage, assists the opticians with insurance calculations, and enters new insurance plans into the AcuityLogic management system. Her favorite aspect of the job is helping patients with their insurance coverage and connecting with returning patients.

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2016 Best of San Joaquin

Thanks for once again voting us “Best of San Joaquin” in 2016, for the 6th year in a row! We appreciate your ongoing support, and we are honored to have you all as our patients.

Since 1998, we’ve been committed to caring for our community by providing the highest level of optometric vision care. Thanks for thinking so highly of us, and for choosing our experienced doctors and our professional and compassionate services as the best in San Joaquin County.

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Meet the Staff: Jennifer Hulstine

Jennifer is the optical lab manager at Brookside Optometric Group and has worked on the team for six years. She spends her fast-paced days managing a team of employees, assisting with patient orders for contact lenses and glasses, teaching patients how to wear and care for contact lenses, and providing an optimal experience for all of our patients. She loves to see patients of all ages try on glasses or contact lenses for the first time as a new world of sight opens up to them.

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Meet the Staff: Marilyn Woo

Marilyn is the first person patients meet with when they visit Brookside Optometric Group. As an optician, she pre-tests their eye health before they go in to see their optometrist for the eye exam. After the exam, Marilyn enjoys working with patients to help them choose a frame that fits their individual needs, from fit and shape to color and style.

When a pair of new glasses is ready for a patient, she inspects the product for accuracy with patient prescription requirements, demonstrating a strong attention to detail. She’s also happy to adjust and repair frames as needed and assists with optical dispensing, fitting eyeglasses and contact lenses.

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Meet the Staff: Savanna

When you visit Brookside Optometric, chances are you are greeted by our receptionist, Savanna. Savanna lives with her family in Stockton. She attended Edison High School and Maric College.

Savanna’s many responsibilities include helping the doctors prepare for their day, pulling the charts of the day’s patients, checking in patients, answering phone calls to make appointments or answer patient questions and closing down the office at the end of the day.

“My favorite part of the job is working with Brookside Optometric Group staff and doctors,” says Savanna. “After being here for about a year I consider them my BOG family.”

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Bob Melrose

Dr. Bob Melrose remembers sitting in his pediatrician’s office one day as a child and deciding that he wanted to become a doctor. After graduating from high school in the Bay Area, he completed his undergraduate studies at UCLA and UC Berkeley before beginning his optometry training in 1978 at Cal’s School of Optometry. 

As luck would have it, he met another student in his class, Rosemary Rodic. The two of them fell in love and were married in 1981. After graduation they joined Dr. Craig Hisaka as partners in private practice here in Stockton.

In addition to their practice, Dr. Bob and Dr. Rosie both become assistant clinical professors at Cal’s School of Optometry. They taught there until the early 1990s when the birth of their twin boys, Brian and Kevin, changed their lives forever. Dr. Rosie ended her teaching career to raise their children while continuing to practice at their office. Dr. Bob continued to teach but left in 1994 when an exciting new opportunity came his way.

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Craig Hisaka

Dr. Craig Hisaka is the Founding Partner of Brookside Optometric Group. Born and raised in Stockton, he received his BA, BS and Doctorate at UC Berkeley and went on to earn a master’s degree in Public Health. His daughter, Alexis Hisaka, attended Lincoln High in Stockton, college at UC Davis and the University of San Francisco and now works for LinkedIn. His wife, Julie Hisaka, passed away 3 years ago after 41 years of marriage. She was a popular, innovative and effective administrator at Lincoln Unified School District.

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Meet the Staff: Jana Ballance

Our staff and doctors are the most dedicated and caring group. Today, we introduce you to our office manager Jana Balance.

Jana has been part of the Brookside Optometric Group since 1989 starting as a technician then became office manager in 2002. She has worked for ophthalmologists in San Diego and Stockton many years ago. Her typical workday consists of employee scheduling, employee counseling, meetings with various vendors, updating doctor’s credentialing information, and occasionally helping patients that require special attention.

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Meet our Staff: Veronica Artesi

Not only do we provide great optometry care, but we also have an awesome staff to help you with your every need.  We’d like to introduce you to one of the first people you see when you walk in our doors — our front desk assistant manager, Veronica.

Veronica was born and raised in Stockton.  She comes from the largest families in town, the Castellons and Valverdes.  Veronica had been a patient at our office for more than 30 years when she joined the Brookside team in 2006.  Not only has Dr.  Hisaka been her family doctor for years, but her siblings, their kids and her spouse’s family all are patients of Brookside Optometric. 

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Jim Winnick

After Dr. Jim Winnick completed his undergraduate degree at Cornell University and his doctorate degree at the State University of New York in Manhattan, he came to the west to complete his residency training in Portland, OR. He came down to California to work with an Ophthalmologist in Truckee, CA, but soon moved to the Bay area where he was a partner in large multi-doctor practice for 14 years.

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Meet the Doctors: Dr. Yolanda Scheer

A Professor, Doctor, Optometrist, and Mom, Dr. Yolanda Scheer joined us here at Brookside Optometric Group in September of 2014. A Northern California native, Dr. Scheer has served as an assistant clinical professor at UC Berkeley School of Optometry for the past 7 years, while the same time working as an associate doctor with an Optometric Group in Lafayette for the past 11 years.

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