“I probably felt a certain obligation to go into a field where I could help people,” he said. “I thought about optometry, because that’s an area where you can help people relatively quickly.”
Dr. Price said that although being a good student in science and math helped lead him to his profession, he also likes the optics aspect of the profession as related to the physics of science. He said that although being a good student in science and math helped lead him to healthcare, it was a specific interest in physics that drew him to his profession.
Dr. Price and his family returned in December from a six-year stay in Gressier, Haiti, where he ran an eye clinic. Gressier is about 20 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince.
On Jan. 2, he joined Dr. Duane Mohon’s optometric practice. The doctors have known each other several years and kept in touch while Dr. Price was in Haiti. They met when Dr. Price was doing his internship for an optometrist in Jacksonville and visited Dr. Mohon’s office regularly.
When Dr. Mohon learned that Dr. Price would be coming back to the states, they discussed the possibly of practicing together.
“My job search was very large,” said Dr. Price. “I was looking internationally and in the United States. I knew he would be a good man to work for. He’s a really sharp doctor. His ace in the hole is that his office is close to where I grew up and close to my family.”
Dr. Mohon said that his Piedmont and Heflin offices are experiencing growth and, in keeping up with that growth, they needed a doctor of Dr. Price’s caliber.
“A few years ago, when he was an intern, he visited our office often,” said Dr. Mohon. “We kept the relationship going, and upon his return from Haiti we were fortunate enough to get him to join our practice.”
Dr. Price saw 180-200 patients a week in Haiti. He was the only optometrist in the clinic and was assisted by a port (support) staff of around seven.
He worked in partnership with Mission Christianville Foundation. Known as Christianville Foundation or Christianville Mission, the former is used in the states and the later in Haiti. The main thrust of the foundation involved schools, child sponsorship programs and church planting.
Dr. Price said the idea of going to another country to practice optometry came when he was in about his third or fourth year of optometry school. He knew then that he wanted apply what he was learning to areas not getting adequate medical attention, but he didn’t know where to go.
“I didn’t have a lot of models in that area,” he said. “I didn’t really find a lot of missionary optometrists that I could talk to or see how they went about that.”
After several months of researching, praying and waiting, he learned there was a Christian clinic in Haiti that was going to be without a doctor. That’s when he knew where he’d be going.
He, his wife, Teresa and their three children lived in a house about 500 yards from his clinic. He walked to work each day. The family bought produce and staples locally at the market at the end of their street. For more American type foods, either he or his wife would drive into Port-au-Prince to a grocery store.
Dr. Price said he’s had many memories and emotions since leaving Haiti.
“Looking back over the whole time, I think being there is a little different than being here,” he said. “Sometimes I think in the states doctors are looking for a community or a niche so they can find enough patients to keep practicing. For us, it was the opposite. You’re never in short supply of patients. We were in short supply of doctors. We always had plenty of people looking for eye care and other kinds of care.”
He said making the decision to bring his family home is something he’s still processing.
“There’s not one single reason we came home,” he said. “A lot of things came into it. We’re happy to be home. We missed what we were used to. We missed our friends and co-workers in Haiti.”
In spite of that, they’re happy to be in the states.
Their children, Eleanor 4, Titus 3, and Samuel 10 months, were born in the states when the Prices would take five or six weeks of leave from the clinic. The two older children were born in Minnesota. Samuel was born in Anniston.
The Prices are currently living in his hometown of Anniston, and he’s settled into his job in Piedmont. Going to Haiti or somewhere else is still a probability sometime in the future.
“I’m sure we’ll go back to Haiti for at least a short time,” he said. “We’re still interested in long term missions as well.”
Dr. Price said his children take up most of his time when he’s not at work. The Prices are members of Parker Memorial Baptist Church where he and his wife are Sunday school teachers.
He is also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Optometrists, the organization that started the clinic in Haiti. Dr. Price was supported by that organization.
Dr. Price’s parents, Tom and Carla (Smith) Price, live in Anniston. He graduated from Faith Christian School in 1999, Samford University and received his optometry degree at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
Contact Margaret at email@example.com.