Diplomate Spotlight – Dean Wetzel, OD

July 30, 2020

Dr. Dean Wetzel has been with Mayo Health System for 29 years. A 1992 graduate of Pacific University, Dr. Wetzel considers himself fortunate to have trained under Dr. Tom Golis at the veterans’ hospital in Hot Springs, South Dakota and completed an externship at Mayo, where he has served as the optometry department chair and as a professor of ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

Having served on many boards and committees within his organization – human resources, finance, lean management, and academia, Dr. Wetzel has come to appreciate the importance of being a voice at the table. “ABO Diplomates are leaders nationwide,” said Dr. Wetzel. “They are advocates dedicated to achieving and maintaining a high standard of practice. I feel that board certification is very important for optometry in the eyes of the rest of the medical field and that it is important for optometry to have this extra competency to show that we too are a profession that is holding its providers accountable for continued pursuits of knowledge. It validates us as an equal in the medical world. “

While Mayo Health System is one of many healthcare organizations that requires its optometrists to be board certified, Dr. Wetzel had his own reasons for pursing the credential. The complexity of the patients he sees on a daily basis at Mayo demands that he stay on the leading edge of technology. Dr. Wetzel believes board certification is an objective testimony which shows a level of proficiency beyond that which is required to practice as an optometrist. Life-long learning with focused continuing education enhances confidence and validates expertise. “I want to go the extra mile,” said Dr. Wetzel. “I want to strive to be the best optometrist that I can be, and I continue to be eager to seek new knowledge and technology to best serve my patients. There are always new advances, and board certification is a great way to keep up on the newest treatments and protocols in every area of our field.”

As a leader in the eye department, Dr. Wetzel has worked with Mayo leadership on LEAN management, Plummer projects adding ERM provision for eye exams, and as a super user for implementing Epic electronic medical health records. He was also a team member for the proficiency award from Wisconsin Forward, serves as an associate professor for the University of Missouri College of Optometry and is a member of the American Optometric Association, Wisconsin Optometric Association, and Minnesota Optometric Association.

For Dr. Wetzel, optometry is a family affair, with both he and his wife practicing for the Mayo Health System in Southwest Wisconsin. They have three grown children; a daughter who is an occupational therapist and is close to making him a grandpa for the second time, a son who is in medical school in Madison, Wisconsin and another son who will be applying for optometry school next year. Dr. Wetzel grew up around farming and has not lost the urge to dig in the dirt. They are fortunate to have land to farm, when not in clinic, and a steady job to support his farming habit. He has also enjoyed serving his community through various board appointments including 4H, local youth organizations, school boards and committee councils.

We thank Dr. Wetzel for his commitment to the profession, his support of ABO and his steady belief in the value of board certification.

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