Dr. Paula Newsome making heart sign with hands

Meet Dr. Paula Newsome

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When the world told her “no,” Dr. Paula Newsome learned to answer back, “just watch me.”

It’s because of that perseverance and ability to forge her own path that she’s now known as the first female African-American optometrist to open a practice in North Carolina and to become a fellow in the American Academy of Optometry.

Just before starting college, Dr. Newsome was inspired to go into the field of optometry when she walked into her doctor’s office for an eye exam.

“I was in this gentleman’s chair for maybe 20 minutes or so,” she said. “I went in there blurry. I came out clear, and I said, ‘I want to find out more about this field.’”

Although deciding on her future career path was easy, the journey itself was challenging. Dr. Newsome found herself losing out on jobs and opportunities, not because her resume was lacking, but because of her gender and the color of her skin. Despite those roadblocks, Dr. Newsome found a way to continue doing what she loved, opening her very own private practice in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Here is Dr. Newsome’s story.


  • Patricia Bishop says:

    I enjoyed reading Dr. Paula Newsome’s story. She’s an inspiration and perfect role model to everyone to be persistent in their goals and not take “no” for an answer, especially when you know you are qualified in your field. I grew up in a segregated state and know only too well what the sting of racial prejudice is like. The world is slowly getting better in erasing racial prejudice from the hearts of people through “one person at a time”. Thank you, Dr. Newsome, for paving the way for others to be able to succeed in whatever profession they chose by the sacrifices you made and the examples you set before us. I am so proud of you!

  • Rebecca Johnson says:

    Love Dr. Newsome! “I don’t believe in barriers!” Thank you for highlighting her awesome achievements.

  • Dr Newsome has been so inspiring to me since I first got to know her over 10 years ago. I am so blessed to call her my friend and colleague. She has no limits to her visions and challenges me professionally to achieve more. Her patients are truly blessed to have her. She is a gift to the optometry profession.

  • Donna Martin says:

    Dr. Newsome has a passion for what she does and it comes through in every conversation I have had with her. I have a newfound respect for this awesome woman. Congratulations Dr. Newsome for making a difference in your industry and in your community.

  • When you get to know her, it doesn’t take long to realize what type of person she is. She’s motivating,all-inspiring, dedicated, and committed to not only inspiring herself but all others who encounter her. She is the epitome of success by breaking so many barriers for other African American women to follow in her footsteps. Thanks Dr. Newsome for all you continue to do to inspire so many including myself. Congratulations for all of your achievements. There’s more to come, I’m sure.

  • Bravo Dr. Newsome! Dr. Paula Newsome is an awesome doctor. I know this because I trained under her over 25 years ago! She is such a positive person-you go in for an eye exam and leave with your heart uplifted. Personal and professional
    -the epitome of Excellence! THANK YOU for graciously and continuously sharing your wisdom and love of Optometry.

  • A true Class Act! Continue to pave the way for other optometrist of color.

  • What an inspiring story. Thank you Dr. Paula Newsome for following your passion. Optometry is better because of Doctors like you.

  • Alton A. Williams says:

    Dr. Newsome is a true inspiration and gift to mankind. As this video demonstrates she has so much “capacity.” She can do so many things well. She is a true “Eagle”.

  • Wardsworth A. and Carolyn B. Soders says:

    First, let me say that the photo of you is beautiful. The photographer did a super job, and of course the subject was a very good one so the photo just speaks truth . Now for the review of the review of Meet Dr. Newsome; I can only say “WOW”. I know that the family is very proud of you and all that you have done to truly Maintain America’s GREATNESS. Carolyn and I are proud to say that we know this Great American.

  • re says:

    This is inspiring to read and a welcomed news report as we conclude Black History month. I hope that the Diversity and Inclusion committee will have Dr. Newsome to speak at an upcoming VSP event.

  • Deborah Schaefer says:

    Congratulations Dr. Paula!

  • Cudos to You Dr.Newsome! A Visionary for Vision! Please continue to Embrace Your Passion to serve EVERYONE with Superior Service,Encouragement and the Grace to Achieve!

  • Lisa Fuller says:

    Wish I lived in Charlotte.

  • Tracee says:

    Pure Awesomeness

  • Carolyn says:

    Love her passion and determination, so encouraging.

  • Shaunda says:


  • June Hesser says:

    Great story truly an accomplishment. Every race, gender income status, should reach for the stars like she has. Follow your dreams. If you believe you can do it, you will find away. If you don’t think you can, you won’t. We need more leaders like her to train the brain that anything is possible.

  • Debra says:

    Awesome! Inspiring!

  • Reality says:

    You are American and Americans earn their way. ‘Nothing unusual, here.

  • Missy P says:

    Glad to see her success! Great job!

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