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Julia Mai

Julia Mai, OD, FAAO

NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Cumberland

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Vision Care for All

Growing up in Virginia, Julia Mai always liked going to the eye doctor. She loved picking out new glasses and she was fascinated with the machines the optometrist used to literally look into her eyes. 

Later on, it was the eye itself that intrigued her, and after graduating from the University of Virginia with a biology degree she came to New York to attend the SUNY College of Optometry in midtown Manhattan. She graduated in 2020, served a residency at BronxCare Health System and joined NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health Cumberland in 2022. 

Dr. Mai had her first direct experience serving people in need during a mission to Panama while she was in optometry school. She and her fellow students brought donated glasses to an underserved community and performed exams and screenings.

“A lot of the patients never had glasses before and having clear vision for the first time was a very big deal,” she said. “Quality of vision can affect every part of someone’s life, and sometimes we take for granted just having a pair of glasses.”

With that experience, and after a training rotation at Gotham Health, Gouverneur, Dr. Mai decided that she wanted to serve the public health care system’s patient population.  “One of the main reasons I choose to work at NYC Health + Hospitals versus a private practice is having the privilege of helping patients who are most in need of care,” she says, adding, “We work with many different types of people, all of whom have their own stories. We never know what someone is going through in their lives, and everyone deserves a health care provider who leads with compassion.”

Dr. Mai is an assistant clinical professor at her optometry school alma mater and works with SUNY Downstate medical students when they rotate through Cumberland. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and has presented posters focused on acute ocular trauma and retinal diseases at conferences.

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