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National Award for Oyate Health Center Optometrist

RAPID CITY – The head of the Oyate Health Center’s Optometry Department has been awarded a national award for his work serving our relatives in Indian Country and his contributions to improved care in Rapid City.

Dr. Derek Almer, OD., is the 2022 recipient of the Lester Caplan Award. This honor recognizes a PHS civil service optometrist who has demonstrated exemplary work towards the mission of the Public Health Service and whose achievements have enhanced the health and vision of American Indians and Alaska Natives. The mission is to “Protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of the nation.”

The Lester Caplan Award from the Optometry Professional Advisory Group of the Public Health Service is awarded annually to one commissioned corps optometrist and one to a civil service optometrist.

Dr. Allmer’s leadership has drastically improved appointment availability and the number of relatives who receive care at the Oyate Health Center in Rapid City. The new Oyate Health Center set to open in November of this year will allow for further expansion of the optometry department.

The USPHS Commissioned Corps is one of the nation’s uniformed services — a branch committed to the service of health. Officers advance our nation’s public health, serving in agencies across the government as physicians, nurses, dentists, veterinarians, scientists, engineers, and other professionals.