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The History of Brookside Optometric Group


After 20 years, it’s fun to reminisce about how and why the partners came together as Brookside Optometric Group. Professionals practicing in the same city get to know their colleagues, but several of us had pre-existing relationships. Since many of us have served on the faculty at the University of California, there were teacher-student relationships. For example, Drs. Hisaka, Prima and Demshar instructed me and I, in turn, instructed Dr. Vanover. Going back even further, Dr. Hisaka was Dr. Fujii’s Sunday school teacher!

Aside from our friendships, in the 1990’s we began to see that it was increasingly difficult for solo practitioners and small groups to continue to deliver the same high quality care to their patients as in earlier decades. Dr. Hisaka developed the notion that by coming together in larger numbers with increased efficiency, we could preserve and even improve our care of patients.

So in January of 1998, Drs. Hisaka, Prima, Melrose and Melrose (formerly San Joaquin Optometric Group), Drs. Demshar and Vanover (formerly Valley Optometric Care) and Drs. Skinner and Hsu joined together under the banner of Brookside Optometric Group. I will never forget a fairly long Sunday that the doctors, staff and volunteers worked from early until late co-mingling the charts from the 3 offices. We all became alphabetizing experts.

The advantages of the large group practice quickly became evident:
  • a large, beautiful optical boutique with many more stylish frames to choose from
  • affordable technology – not only could we share our existing instruments but as new ones have been invented, our increased buying power enables us to purchase the very latest and best technology to care for our patients
  • specialization – we have doctors who specialize in certain types of care, such as Drs. Skinner and Winnick, who are contact lens experts. In managing the practice, each of us brings our organizational strengths, such as Dr. Vanover, who is a veritable IT specialist or Dr. Bob Melrose, who is a social media whiz.
  • time spent with patients – market forces in health care keep pressuring practitioners to see more and more patients per day. At Brookside Optometric Group, the efficiencies of the large group allow us to devote the time needed to each patient to solve their problems.

Over time, more doctors have joined us as both partners (Drs. Fujii, Laurel) and associates (Drs. Chow, Scheer, Winnick, Girn, Nguyen). Dr. Jon Loo merged his practice with Brookside Optometric Group 3 years ago. And Dr. John Zeiter spent a day per month with us for many years to facilitate our referrals and communication.

It is rare in our profession for optometrists to come together in a large group and even rarer for the group to stay together over time. As partners, we remind ourselves that collaboration and cooperation are the keys to continued success.

We remain so grateful to our loyal patients and staff who have shared this journey with us. Our fondest wish is that we will deliver first rate care and caring for another 20 years.

Check out these fun before (20 years ago) and after photos of our doctors!


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