Friday, December 14, 2018

Holiday Edition: Week of December 14, 2018

Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Alumni, Board Members and Friends,

It’s been another busy week at Salus with most of our students completing their last set of final exams. As finals begin to wind down, there were several "finals food experiences" Monday through Wednesday outside the café and Learning Resource Center ranging from bagels to yummy sandwiches to hot beverages. Additionally, mentors from the Peer Mentoring Program gave out stress reliever goodie bags Monday and Tuesday. Hopefully, all these extras helped to ease the stress and facilitate great outcomes on the exams.

The Hafter Student Community Center gym held its first Active Educational Workshops on Wednesday, December 12, where members have the opportunity to learn about different health, fitness, nutrition and/or wellness topics in a small setting with a trainer on staff. The first was Ride & Learn – a leisurely cycle class limited to 10 participants as they learned stress management techniques. 
If you haven’t had the chance to check out our new virtual tour of the campus, check it out here We recently partnered with YouVisit, LLC – an immersive technology company that connects schools with prospective students across popular platforms via virtual reality tours to design a complete walking tour of the University’s campus, giving prospective students unlimited access to the grounds of the University that can be viewed from at home on a computer or on a mobile device. Congrats to Alexis Abate and Lesley  Westerfer and their team for getting this all together. 

Thanks to Dr. Lindsay Bondurant and Bob Serianni for presenting a very informative Grand Rounds presentation at The Eye Institute this morning. It was great to see the interaction between optometry, audiology and speech-language pathology.  We need to have more of these interprofessional discussions within each of our programs and in the continuing education setting. Well done!
Today, in addition to everything else going on, we will be hosting State Representative Mary Jo Daley both at the Elkins Park and East Oak Lane campuses. The visit provides yet another opportunity for us to educate our state legislators about what we do at Salus. This is extremely important as the legislature takes on scope of practice bills for optometry and other professions.

Today is the annual holiday party where we get a chance to thank and recognize all of our very talented and dedicated Salus faculty and staff for the work they’ve done in support of our mission over the last year. Many of our folks will be receiving Service Awards ranging from five to thirty-five years.  Reflecting on that, most, but not all, of our students weren’t even born when some of our folks started here!  That puts things into perspective. The people who have been here the longest represent the shoulders all of us have been standing on as we move the University forward. I thank everyone for their hard work and dedication to the important work we do here.

Finally, I’ll be off the grid for a couple of weeks so I wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone a very safe and joyous holiday season. 

Looking back, it’s been a pretty productive year at Salus. We’ve updated curricula in several programs, renovated classrooms, added exam rooms at The Eye Institute, dedicated the Lombardi Classroom, celebrated the 10th Anniversary of becoming a University, said farewell to several of our faculty and staff and welcomed new ones, just to name a few things from 2018. Next year we celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of our founding college, Pennsylvania College of Optometry. And what a party that will be! 

So, whether you celebrated Hanukkah last week or will be celebrating Christmas or Kwanzaa, I hope you’ve taken the time to reflect on all the great things that have gone on in our small world at Salus. Our University has served as an enabler, not just for our students, but also for everyone we care for on a daily basis.  Every child we see in the Philadelphia, Norristown, Abington or Jenkintown schools benefit from life-changing services that only we are providing. Having the opportunity to serve those who are less fortunate is a gift that we should cherish and be thankful for.  I am grateful for the commitment of our faculty and staff and the talented students who have chosen to attend Salus.  I want to take this opportunity to thank all of them for their hard work and dedication to the University. Special thanks to our alumni for your continued philanthropic support, which helps make many of the things we do possible and finally to our volunteer Board of Trustees for their time, support and invaluable guidance. 
Enjoy your well-deserved time off.  Spend time with family, friends and significant others. Recharge your mental batteries and get ready to hit the deck running when you return in January.  Be safe and look out for one another. 


Friday, December 7, 2018

Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Board Members and Friends,

Greetings from a chilly Elkins Park!

We have one week of finals behind us with the last week coming up more quickly than many students would like. That said, it’s been fun to see our Learning Resource Center (LRC) serving as the campus hub of activity during these important testing weeks.

In support of our students, my office provided the super-sustenance of bagels and cream cheese for students who made it to the LRC in the morning and our Institutional Advancement team will keep the carb theme going by providing famous Philadelphia pretzels today! We know how excited the Help Desk is about the pretzels, so hopefully, lots of you will share their excitement :-). There are probably more surprises in store for next week as finals week winds down.

There's no better way to de-stress from all these exams than with the help with some furry friends! Today, the LRC will host another pet therapy event to help students de-stress during finals week and the Hafter Center is hosting another Paws & Mats yoga session with kittens from Hart2Heart.

On the clinical front, registration is underway for The Eye Institute's Real World Diabetes Series - a free diabetes education course in partnership with Temple Health. Participants will learn healthy meal planning, how to stay physically active and other important ways to manage their health. The class starts January 10th - so please pass on this information to anyone who may be interested. To register they can call 215.276.6070 or email

Finally, today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Naval Station Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, without warning and without a declaration of war, killing 2,403 American servicemen and civilians and injuring 1,178 others. The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships and damaged four others. It also damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one mine layer. Aircraft losses included 188 destroyed and 159 damaged. In a speech to Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the bombing of Pearl Harbor "a date which will live in infamy." The United States declared war on Japan December 8, 1941. The course of these events transformed the United States into a world power and ultimately defined America’s “Greatest Generation,” those who fought tyranny across the globe and won. Please take a moment to reflect on this and all those freedoms that have not come freely to all of us.

Have a great weekend. Be safe and look out for one another.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Good Luck with Finals: Week of November 30, 2018

Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Alumni, Board Members and Friends,

Greetings from our Nation’s capital where Melissa Vitek, OD, FAAO, interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs; Brooke Kruemmling, PhD, COMS, associate provost; and I are attending the annual meeting of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s (MSCHE). MSCHE is the overarching accrediting body for Salus. It’s always enlightening to learn about trends in accreditation and to see what other colleges and universities are doing as well as ensuring we remain in compliance within the standards we are accountable for. 

Later today, I head up to New York along with Dennis Washington, vice president for Institutional Advancement and Don Kates, CPA, vice president for Finance, to represent Salus at the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Society. Most of our regional politicians head up to New York City this time of the year to network and learn about constituent needs and wants. This presents a great opportunity for us to market the University and lobby for state funding for some of our most important projects. By keeping our local legislators informed about all the great things we’re doing for our students and the local communities we serve, we’ve been successful in the past in obtaining significant state grant funding for things such as the renovation of The Eye Institute, to include the lower level and our newest primary care clinic.  This time we’re hoping to lobby for funds towards making improvements at the Elkins Park campus.

Around campus, lots of great things are happening as well. 

Rachel Ditoro, MSPAS, PA-C, associate professor in the Physician Assistant Program, was interviewed by the Physician Assistant Education Association about the work our PA program is doing in Competency Based Education (CBME). 

We’re always trying to enhance our current academic partnerships and develop new ones. We're happy to announce that we have signed two new articulation agreements with the University of the Sciences:  a 3 + 4 Doctor of Audiology Degree Program and a 4 + 4 Doctor of Audiology Program. These help to develop pipelines of qualified students for all of our programs. 

I’m very proud to inform everyone that the University's Veteran’s Readiness Initiative (VRI) was recently awarded the Union League Veteran’s Club Table 2018
Philanthropy Award. The award was accompanied with a nice monetary donation to the program. Karen Hanson, PhD, program development ; Linda Casser, OD, FAAO, coordinator of Interprofessional Education, and I were all on hand to accept the award during a special ceremony at the Union League of Philadelphia just prior to Thanksgiving. 

As we prepare to enter finals week at the University, I want to wish everyone lots of luck (although I know you won’t need it because you all have been studying so hard) and thank the faculty for the great job they’ve done in preparing everyone so well! Have a great weekend. Be safe and look out for one another. 


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving: Week of November 20, 2018

Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Alumni, Board Members and Friends,

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this week with friends and family, I want to take a moment to offer my gratitude to our extended Salus family – students, faculty, residents, staff, alumni and board members – for the energy, compassion, enthusiasm and cooperation that has made this past year so very successful for our University. What an honor and pleasure it is to work with such a committed group of professionals as we envision new ways to keep Salus moving forward. The spirit of improvement and dedication to excellence is truly inspiring.

It can sometimes be too easy for us to take for granted the freedoms afforded by this great country in which we live, which provides us the very opportunity we have during this holiday to gather peacefully with our friends and loved ones;  a situation brought into sharp focus over the past few months with the extraordinary challenges facing others in so many regions of our country and the rest of the world.

As we prepare for this week’s holiday, I want to thank you for what you do every day to make us a very special place to learn, work and support our community.  I also want to thank you for what you do to keep Salus University on its continued path of progress and innovation.

Tanis and I wish you all a very safe and restful Thanksgiving. 


Friday, November 16, 2018

Blogging in the Clouds: Week of November 16, 2018

Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Alumni, Board Members and Friends,

Greetings from the air as I head up to Boston to join our speech-language pathology and audiology colleagues at their annual American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) conference. Isn’t technology great?! I’m excited to see their posters and interact with many of our students, faculty and alumni! Dr. Aravamudhan represented OCA at the convention attending her CAA board meeting and making a presentation on her research project with mild Traumatic Brain Injury patients.

I hope everyone survived our first taste of winter weather yesterday. It was quite a surprise! Even with our pre-winter surprise, things remained busy at Salus.

On Tuesday evening our staff from The Eye Institute was honored with the Montgomery County School Nurse Association’s (MCSNA) School Health Partnership Award in recognition for the School Vision Programs. Tanis and I had the honor of attending, along with Dr. Brandy Scombordi, Dr. Luis Trujillo and Cathie Muhr.

Last week I mentioned that Dr. Bisant Labib became the 15th diplomate in the Comprehensive Eye Care section of the AAO. What I didn’t’ know at the time was that Dr. Labib made history by being the youngest female to ever attain this historical achievement - many congratulations to her!

Given the almost total devastation of the town of Paradise, California from the terrible fires out there, I felt compelled to mention that in this week’s update. Here are some staggering stats as of yesterday:

California officials said they've identified most of the 59 people known to have died in wildfires that started a week ago. Searchers recovered eight more victims of the "Camp Fire" north of Sacramento on Wednesday along with a third victim of the "Woolsey Fire" near Los Angeles. In the "Camp Fire," 130 other people are still unaccounted for. The blaze has destroyed nearly 9,000 homes and forced at least 52,000 people to evacuate.

If you are interested in assisting those affected by devastating California fires, the Red Cross has a separate pull down item "California Wildfires" for this purpose on their "Donate Now" page.

As we approach this weekend, please keep the folks in California in your thoughts and prayers. Have a safe and restful weekend!


Friday, November 9, 2018

Greetings from San Antonio: Week of November 9, 2018

Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Board Members and Friends,

Greetings from San Antonio where I’m attending the annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry, along with many of our PCO faculty and students.  It’s been a great meeting with several of our faculty and students attaining professional recognition in the form of academy diplomate status and practice excellence recognition.  Congratulations to Dr. Bisant Labib, Co-Chief of Suite 3, who earned her Diplomate in Comprehensive Eye Care and to Susan Barnes and Kathrine Boas, both from the PCO class of 2019, for receiving a VSP Practice Excellence Award.  We’re extremely proud of all of you!  Also, several of our faculty and students are presenting lectures and posters throughout the meeting. PCO is making a huge splash in San Antonio!!!

Just a reminder that Dr. Trego and PCO will be hosting an Alumni and Friends reception in the Grand Hyatt, Texas Ballroom F, 4th Floor later today at 6:30 p.m.  We hope everyone who’s in San Antonio for the Academy meeting can join us!

Congratulations to Radhika Aravamudhan who has just been named the Dean of the Osborne College of Audiology!

Rachel Ditoro, MSPAS, PA-C, associate professor, College of Health Sciences, presented three talks to Physician Assistant Program educators at the annual Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Forum in Anaheim, CA: “Competency-based Medical Education (CBME): Beginning with the End in Mind” parts one and two, which provided an overview of CBME, its core components, and its utilization in PA education.  Ditoro also co-presented a third talk, “Early Remediation Using a Competency-based Education Model” with Donna Agnew, MSPAS,PA-C,DFAAPA, interim dean, College of Health Sciences, addressing targeted remediation for identified deficits.  It’s great to see our folks lecturing on the national stage.

Congratulations to our Looking Out For Kids charity fundraiser team for orchestrating what has been our best event to date last Saturday night.  We had over 300 people in attendance including Senator Vincent Hughes and our Lighthouse Award recipient, Donna Frisby-Greenwood.

Special thanks to Kate Braemer and the team in Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations for putting all this together. Special thanks to Rosemary Connors from NBC10 who served as our co-host and to all of our sponsors, including National Vision, Lindy Property Management Co., Conicelli Toyota, Fox Rothschild, E.B. Reilly, MyEyeDr, Office Depot, T3 Construction, U.S. Vision and many others.  Also, special thanks to our Board of Trustee members for your attendance as well to all those who contributed time, wine, money and artwork to the silent auction.  It looked like everyone had a great time! For more info, check out our website.

The Keneseth Israel Reform Congregation is holding a concert featuring the Main Line Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Don Liuzzi, 68-member musicians, a guest narrator, and soloists on Sunday at 7:15 p.m. Salus students, faculty and staff have been invited to attend this great event.  Admission is $10 and tickets will be available at the door.

It looks like it’s going to be a nice cool weekend in Philadelphia! Get out the hot chocolate and settle in with your books if you’re studying, or try to get outside and enjoy what’s left of the fall leaves.  There will be snow on the ground before we know it!  Have a wonderful weekend!


Friday, November 2, 2018

Looking Out for Kids Fundraiser: Week of November 2, 2018

Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Alumni, Board Members and Friends,

It’s been another productive week at Salus with preparations for our LookingOut For Kids charity fundraiser being completed for tomorrow night’s event. So far over 300 people have registered to join us at the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue to help raise money for this very worthy charity. We’ll also be honoring our Lighthouse Award recipient, Donna Frisby-Greenwood, at the event.

On Wednesday, I was interviewed by Rosemary Connors, who will co-host the event, at the brand-new NBC 10 studio in the Comcast Innovation Center in Center City.

Also on Wednesday, the office of Student Affairs held The Ultimate Treat Event in the afternoon outside of the Café with treat bags, baked goods, and raffle prizes – and plenty of students donning Halloween costumes. It was great to see everyone enjoying all those treats. I suspect there are many hours of gym time scheduled to offset the goodies we all enjoyed. 

Dennis Washington, our vice president for Institutional Advancement, and I spent Monday and Tuesday in Florida visiting several of our alumni. We had the opportunity to spend some time with our oldest alumni, Dr. Morey Powell who is 103 years old. It was great to catch up and hear Dr. Powell’s insights on what the country was like almost a century ago as compared to now. Our conversation made the “good ole days” sound pretty good!  We had named one of our new classrooms after Dr. Powell and used this opportunity to present him with a picture of the plaque that is now outside the Powell classroom. He was extremely excited. We also visited Dr. Michael Hecht and Dr. Ronnie Snyder. Dr. Hecht is a classmate of mine and Dr. Snyder is a graduate of the class of 1967.

Last week the StudentOccupational Therapy Association (SOTA) celebrated World OT Day by tabling outside of the café. World OT Day (which was on October 27) aims to spread awareness about what occupational therapy is and the importance of OT worldwide. The SOTA officers provided their peers and faculty members with an interactive “two truths and a lie” game to test knowledge and see what the Salus community already knew about OT. SOTA gave out lollipops with fun facts about OT, baked goods, and OT balloons. Overall, SOTA successfully engaged and educated the Salus community about the scope and importance of occupational therapy.

At last week’s Academy of Doctors of Audiology annual conference, the meeting opened with an all-day symposium on comorbidities in the audiology patient. This has been a major project for Dr. Victor Bray as the symposium's organizer. Dr. Bray delivered the opening and closing talk as well as covering one of the content areas in a panel discussion. We believe this was the first time there has been an all-day symposium focused on the topic of comorbidities in an audiology patient. Congratulations Dr. Bray for helping to get the Salus name out there!

Later today, during Salus Time, we’ll roll out our Interprofessional Clinical Care initiative in room S305A. Dr. Karen Hansen has been leading the charge on this initiative for the past few months, working with clinic directors in each college, in an effort to tie together our clinics in a meaningful way that enhances inter-clinic communication as well as patient referrals. The staff will be unveiling our new Salus Interprofessional Questionnaire and explaining its significance to the process. This is open to everyone and I would encourage you to attend if you’re going to be on campus. 

Finally, Daylight Savings Time ends early Sunday morning, so don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour Saturday night. That gives us an extra hour of sleep as well as an extra hour to raise money for Looking Out For Kids Saturday evening. Have a great weekend!