Charlene Trinidad, OD, Is Not Afraid of the Unknown and it Really Shows


When people think about jobs in the medical field, they are often hampered by the fact that it takes years to attain what turns out to be a difficult profession. Often times, the message being sent out is mostly about the intensity of the job and the long hours. For Charlene Trinidad, OD, this is all true of course, but more than that, being an optometrist is just as much about having a good time as it is about helping and healing people. Her dedication is evident in the fact that the she moved her entire life to Henderson, Nevada after she graduated from Western University of Health Sciences in 2014. The then new OD on the block moved to a city where she was not only a novice in the profession, but only knew about five people there.

“I moved to Nevada for an ideal career opportunity as a managing optometrist,” she explained. “I'm extremely family oriented and super close to my family and friends so the thought of moving further away from them terrified me. I knew maybe five people, at most, in the new city I would be living in, but I decided I was just going to go for it and make the most of it.”

Five years later, Trinidad is still an associate and managing optometrist at Kopolow & Girisgen, OD PC and she has also added the title of homeowner to her list of accomplishments.

Dr. Trinidad’s eponymous Instagram page was created with the purpose of showing followers the ins and outs of being an optometrist. “I wanted to really highlight the positive, enjoyable, and rewarding aspects of my career while being honest about the struggles and difficulties of getting to where I am now. Being a doctor is not for everyone, but for anyone who ever felt like this might be their calling, I wanted my page to serve as reassurance that nothing worth having comes easy, but something worth having is always worth the effort.”

In addition, she also wanted her to showcase her personality beyond the white coat. From her quick wit to her free-spirited attitude, it is clear Dr. Trinidad is always down for a good laugh through it all. While she takes patient care very seriously, Dr. Trinidad also emphasizes the fact that it doesn’t have to be conducted with a sense of severity all the time and she wanted that to come across on her page.

“A lighthearted approach was definitely the route I wanted to take because that's honestly how I connect with my patients, which has always worked very well for me,” she told VMail Weekend. “That approach has also allowed my Instagram audience to become engaged with and really benefit from my content. I hope the message comes across that when it comes to work, even working as a doctor, it does not have to always be by the book, so strict, and so old-fashioned.”

Keeping in mind that she is in fact a practitioner with a lot of eyes on her, Dr. Trinidad also uses her Instagram page to promote awareness to various industry-wide campaigns. She has been a participant in the #SheCanBeBoth campaign, which celebrated the multifaceted lives of women in health care as well as the #WhyEyeCare campaign, which gave $1 to Fighting Blindness Canada for each shared post that used the hashtag.

For her, participating in such campaigns is a way to support people in the field the same way she has received support over the years. “I felt it was important to support others and their purpose, especially since I have received so much support from so many people in the Instagram community as well,” she said. “And some of these campaigns deserve to be highlighted and shared, and if I stand for a campaign's message too, I feel I should openly share and show my support for it.”

When it comes to curating content for the page, Dr. Trinidad is always thinking about her audience. Her primary focus is to make sure that those who are not familiar with optometry and its terminology leave educated. She also prioritizes honesty—making sure that as much as she loves a good laugh, the profession does have its challenges, which are not to be overlooked.

For anyone who may be unsure or is going through any particular challenge, Dr. Trinidad also offers inspirational content from her own life experiences. “I put myself in others' shoes. I think to myself that if I was looking at some random doctor's Instagram, what would I care to see or read about?” she said. “As long as anyone can take away anything, I will feel my page has served its purpose. Whether someone learns a little, gets inspired a little, smiles a little, or gains anything positive or beneficial at all from visiting my page, my only hope is that my Instagram page is of value to anyone who sees it.”

As many of her peers have also admitted, finding time to create content for Instagram can be challenging. Dr. Trinidad, like many others, prioritizes patient care above anything else, so when she doesn’t get any down time, she limits her activity. If, at some point she realizes she’s been gone for some time or encounters something worth sharing immediately, then she creates time to do so.

While she has found Instagram to be a source of education and expression for herself, Dr. Trinidad is still weary of the fact that Instagram is a social media platform and only showcases curated content from people. Her goal is to also remind followers that the lives we live offline are as equally, if not more, important.

“As much as social media has served such a positive purpose with my doctor Instagram, I think it’s important to remind others to never compare their lives to the lives of others. People won’t always share what’s not post-worthy, people won’t always caption what they really feel, and to be honest, some people live a different life from the life that they choose to share on Instagram,” she said.

“No matter how prevalent social media is, I believe that our ability to connect and to make our own positive impact in the world should exist far and beyond what is on Instagram.”