Dr. Chaka Norwood is a native of Mound Bayou, MS. She received her Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Houston. She also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Jackson State University and a Master of Public Health (Health Administration) Degree from the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Dr. Norwood is a licensed optometrist in Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas.
Dr. Norwood’s externship training includes extensive eye disease diagnosis and treatment at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK and Santa Fe Indian Hospital in Santa Fe, NM.
For the past eight years, Dr. Norwood has been the owner and optometrist at Norwood Family Eye Care, LLC in Memphis and Jackson, TN. Immediately after graduation, Dr. Norwood took an employed position in private practice for two years before opening Norwood Family Eye Care. She has also been employed at Well Child, Inc as a school-based optometrist. She is currently the optometrist at Marshall County Correctional Facility. She is also the optometrist for the Bolivar County School-Based Clinics which is a multi-disciplinary clinic consisting of nursing, dental and counseling services. To focus more on the need for diabetic eye care and education and to expand her practice, Dr. Norwood will be opening a private practice in Fall 2020.
Dr. Norwood was awarded a Healthy Eyes Healthy Children Grant in 2019 to assist with her efforts in performing eye exams at the Bolivar County School-based clinics. In the program’s inaugural year, 338 comprehensive eye exams were performed, 202 pairs of glasses were dispensed and of those 202 pairs of glasses, 97 were first-time glasses wearers. In the second year, which was cut short by COVID 19, 382 comprehensive eye exams were performed, 260 pairs of glasses were dispensed and of that 110 were first-time glasses wearers. Students and staff are seen through the program at no cost even if they are not able to afford the exam and glasses or have no insurance.
Dr. Norwood is a member of the American Optometric Association and the National Optometric Association where she has served on the board as Region III Trustee for the past five years. As a regional Trustee, she is charged to foster relationships with the administration and students at the optometry schools in her region. She is also a member of the Mississippi Optometric Association and serves as a board member of the Mississippi Vision Foundation. She also serves as a Legislative Key Person for MOA.
While at the University of Houston, Dr. Norwood was a member of the American Optometric Student Association, Texas Optometric Student Association, and the National Optometric Student Association where she held the position of President and Secretary and received the National Optometric Student Association Officer of the Year Award and received the 2010 National Optometric Student Association Scholarship Award. While serving as president of NOSA, the UHCO chapter won Chapter of the Year at the NOA convention for the chapter’s community service projects. Dr. Norwood was also a Gold Key Optometric Honor Society member and served on the Graduation Committee.
Dr. Norwood is an active member of Jackson State University Memphis Alumni Chapter and has been a featured alumnus in Jackson State University’s Alumni Publication in April 2020. Dr. Norwood is also an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc and participates in numerous community service projects, such as voter registration, food drives, and health events. Being a member of Black Eye Care Perspective, she is part of a movement to reach students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in order to increase the number of Black students matriculating through optometry school.
Dr. Norwood has been selected to speak on several occasions about her background and career path as an optometrist. Dr. Norwood is a yearly speaker at Raleigh Egypt Middle school for career day. She has been a speaker for the EYES on Success Program at SCO for undergraduate students interested in Optometry. Dr. Norwood was also selected as the keynote speaker at the Tech Savvy Conference at Delta State University and has also been an instructor in the learning labs of the conference. The Tech Savvy Conference helps young girls become more exposed to careers in S.T.E.M.
Dr. Norwood participates yearly in the National Optometric Association’s community services events where she performs exams for an underserved community in the host city for the convention. She also performs vision screenings at local health fairs in Memphis and in the MS Delta. She helped to sponsor a back-to-school drive for communities in Memphis and her office was a designated drop-off location for school supplies.
Dr. Norwood was a recipient of the PayPal Community Empowerment Grant for Black-owned Business and is a certified Women’s Owned Business with the TN Office of Diversity Business Enterprise.
Dr. Norwood has a passion to serve and help where she can; she became an optometrist to help children like herself who could not see well and could not afford glasses or contacts. She is serving the exact community she grew up in the MS Delta and it brings her great joy and pride to know she is helping a student that was once her. She is an encourager of students to be the best they can be in any career path but suggests optometry as a top choice.
When not caring for patients, Dr. Norwood enjoys spending time with close friends and family, exercise, movie nights, and traveling.