Member Profile - Steven Gander, OD

December 17, 2021
Member Spotlight for December

Where do you currently practice?
East Grand Forks and Crookston

Where are you from originally?
East Grand Forks

What school did you graduate from (undergraduate and optometry)?
I finished high school in 1979, I finished at the University of North Dakota in 1983, and graduated from the Illinois College of Optometry in 1987.

What are your hobbies?
I really like to get outside. I enjoy fishing and hunting. In recent years my sons and I have taken up skydiving and SCUBA. One solo skydive was probably enough, but we plan to keep up SCUBA for a long time. I had never sat in a kayak before, but last summer we did several shorter trips and one longer one--27 miles from Fisher, MN to East Grand Forks. That was one of the highlights of the summer. It is so peaceful traveling with the river current among the wildlife. I enjoy running (that sounds weird but it's true) and participate in marathons every so often with my sons and their friends. I also like singing and woodworking. I have an old motorcycle I like to ride. Almost sounds like I have no time to work.

Describe your local community involvement?
Through the years I have been involved with church activities including teaching the high school students in Sunday School (probably have led them astray). I have also been involved in the music ministry. I currently serve as Mayor of East Grand Forks. I'm about one year into my second term. It feels good to give back to a community that has given me so much. I really like the team of people I get to work with at City Hall. Our City Clerk is named Megan. She has been there for a long time. She is teaching me how to be Mayor. Our department heads and city staff do amazing work. We have partnered closely with our business community and residents over the past year to navigate the uncertain waters through which we have passed. I like it.

Tell us about your family and pets?
My wife Rosalynd is the most kind and patient person I know. Any of you who know me are saying, "Ya think?" We have been married for 31 years. We have two sons, Tom--age 28, and John--age 25. Tom is married to Bailey, and they have a son and daughter, Micah and Harper. John is still considering his options. Our dog Tigger was a beagle-basset hound. He lived to be 16 years old. He left us this past April. I still don't know what to do with the last bite of food that I used to toss into his dish. He was a good dog.

Why do you choose to be a member of the Minnesota Optometric Association?
It became clear to me early on that the MOA (with the AOA) plays several key roles in securing our opportunity to help people through the profession of Optometry. Because we are a legislated profession, we need the MOA to advocate for us. We need them to dispel the falsehood that others may put out there, and to educate our legislators as to the truth. We count on the MOA to present a positive perspective of the profession to the public we serve. And we ask them to hold us accountable with continuing education, maintaining the highest ethical standards, and to promote camaraderie within the profession. When one of us experiences hardship of any kind, through the MOA, we are all available to help. They have come through for me on all counts.

What do you like best about the profession of optometry?
I like that we are part of an overarching healthcare team to the benefit of our patients. I have seen this role increase through my 34 years of practice, in large part due to the hard work of others to show the benefit we bring. It is a tribute to every practitioner out there giving excellent service. It brings great peace of mind to our patients to know that we are on top of their eye health care. And we seal the deal when we communicate seamlessly with their family doctor or other healthcare provider.

Describe your favorite memory from your optometric career.
My dad was a naval aviator and airplane mechanic in World War II. When he finished his service in the navy, he became an automotive mechanic. When he retired at the age of 65, he came to work with us grinding lenses. He said it was about like grinding valves, only in metric. For the next 20 years he took care of our finishing lab. The years we spent working together in the profession I love will forever be among my favorite memories.

What fun fact would you like to share about yourselves that your colleagues may not know about you?
I was on "The Price is Right" in 1989. I told Bob Barker that he has beautiful eyes. It all happened so fast. Unfortunately they didn't cut that out of the final broadcast.

Please list any articles you have written or lectures you have provided to educate others on eye care.
I give a two-hour eye disease lecture to the students at the University of North Dakota Medical School every year.

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