Weise with Blazer football player

To say that Collat MBA alumna Kathy Weise, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O., has a strong vision would be an understatement. A pioneer in the introduction of UAB Blazer Vision, a partnership between UAB Athletics, School of Optometry and Department of Ophthalmology, Kathy effortlessly blends cutting-edge medicine with business fundamentals. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Not only is Dr. Weise the director of UAB Eye Care Pediatric Optometry Services, professor of optometry and pediatric residency supervisor within the UAB School of Optometry, she also is leading several National Institutes of Health-funded projects. These projects study the progression of near-sightedness in children as well as optimal methods of treating lazy eye. She is also the local principal investigator on an NIH research application proposing to study vision issues after concussion, relying on her local research with UAB Athletics and Children’s of Alabama.

Her success, Dr. Weise says, is an amalgamation of driven research in medicine and strong business acumen.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in 1992 from Iowa University, she received her doctorate of optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago in 1995. Shortly after, she relocated to Birmingham and completed her residency in family practice with a concentration in pediatrics at UAB in 1996.

“My father told me to rent furniture while I was in Birmingham since I didn’t plan to stay long. I ended up loving UAB and Birmingham, and I’ve been here for 22 years now,” she says.

Weise with childIn 1997, Dr. Weise became the pediatric residency supervisor and the director of Pediatric Optometry Services in 2004.

As she pursued her medical career, Dr. Weise saw the need to understand basic business principles. She began picking up business courses at night and immediately applying the lessons learned to her work during the day. In 2005 she graduated from the UAB School of Business with her MBA.

The diversity of students within her business classes surprised Dr. Weise. “The professors were very approachable, and they wanted to build on our differences, what we brought to the table. I not only had business students in class with me, but also nurses and other medical professionals who wanted to succeed in business.”

With a business degree, she’s been able to bolster her career in medicine with applicable, real-life business practices. “In medical school, you’re taught about medicine, but there’s so much more to it.”

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In her leadership roles within UAB Optometry, Dr. Weise appreciates her educated focus on business aspects of healthcare that may be unique at the table. In fact, she appreciates it so much, she hopes to inspire and facilitate future doctors. In 2016, she helped spearhead the UAB OD/MBA, optometry’s first truly-combined degree program in the nation.

Weise on football fieldWith the reintroduction of UAB Football, Dr. Weise has taken her medical and business mindset out of the classroom and onto the field, assisting with the introduction of UAB Blazer Vision, which pairs leading optometrists with UAB athletic teams to provide comprehensive, first-response care for eye-related illnesses and emergencies – even from the sidelines!

She also works with Children’s of Alabama and other UAB professionals to study the effects of mild traumatic brain injury and sports-related concussions, offering pre-season and mid-game screenings for UAB athletes.

“We make sure athletes are receiving adequate eye care on the field and off. We also test athletes on the field if they show signs for a concussion. We want 100% of athletes to receive the best care possible.”

Dr. Weise has utilized her multi-faceted academic background to push medicine and business to the forefront in innovative ways, whether that’s business fundamentals in the classroom and through partnerships in Birmingham or through new medical technology that serves the local community.

Although a native of Iowa, Dr. Weise has found a home in Birmingham and UAB. She loves being surrounded by a burgeoning city that still has a small-town feel. You can find her teaching medical students, providing quality eye care and researching cutting-edge techniques to diagnose vision-related illnesses.

But, most recently, you can find her on the sidelines, cheering on and providing eye care to her favorite team: the UAB Blazers.

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