Friday, October 12, 2018

115th Commencement: Week of October 12, 2018

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

Today marks the end of an exceptionally eventful week at Salus. Yesterday marked the 115th Commencement ceremony at the University. For the first time, our Fall Commencement included graduates from all four of our colleges. We bestowed doctoral and master's degrees to over 65 students in the professions of Physician Assistant Studies, Audiology, Blindness and Low Vision Studies, Biomedicine, Occupational Therapy, Public Health and for our international students, Clinical Optometry with an International Advanced Studies Certificate. Special thanks to family members, significant others and friends for supporting all of our graduates and attending yesterday’s ceremony. I also want to thank those Board of Trustee members who took the time to participate. Congratulations to everyone!

Preceding commencement on Wednesday evening, the Physician Assistant program held its traditional Long White Coat Ceremony, along with the honoring the PA Alumnus of the Year Award, Jennifer Heibel, MMS'15, PA-C. Since graduating in 2015, Jennifer has already established herself as a skilled and passionate provider at the Mayo Clinic where she currently works. She has become an expert in palliative care and has even taken a very creative idea and launched a foundation to better care for those in need of that type of care called “ReMEmber” which is pronounced, “Remember Me”. I invite you to read more about Jennifer’s accomplishment.

Victor Bray, PhD, associate professor, Osborne College of Audiology, was elected to a second term as Secretary of the National Academies of Practice during their 2019 Fall Council Meeting in Grand Rapids, Mich. Dr. Bray’s term will begin following the 2019 forum in March. We are very proud of this accomplishment as it continues to maintain the Osborne College of Audiology on the national stage.

Rebecca Blaha, AuD, clinical educator at PEI, was interviewed by KYW for a story about over the counter hearing aids. I encourage all of you to take a couple of minutes to listen to this.

On Sunday, we’ll be holding our quarterly meeting of the Salus Alumni Association Board. I’m looking forward to bringing board members up to speed on all the great things going on at the university, to include our new scholarship initiatives.

A couple of reminders for you:

  • Next week we’ll be holding our Young Alumni event at Yard’s Brewery on Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to celebrate the Salus University’s 10th anniversary. This event is open to everyone so I encourage you to join us for what should be a fun evening.
  • The Looking Out for Kids annual charity fundraiser will be November 3 at Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue. This event is always fun and as most of you know, proceeds all go to our Looking Out For Kids charity, which has been expanded to not only include vision care but now also includes support for audiology and speech-language pathology services. Please get your tickets now.

Finally, it’s going be a nice fall weekend around here so I hope you have a chance to get out and enjoy the nice weather. Be safe and look out for each other!


Friday, October 5, 2018

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

I hope everyone has had a fruitful week.  I’ve been away for most of it, participating in the Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange in Seattle, WA.  Abbreviated as GPLEX, the leadership exchange is an initiative of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia to develop leaders of business, civic, and government organizations into more informed leaders, dedicated to making Philadelphia and surrounding areas into a world class region. Through out-of-region learning visits, like this week’s to Seattle, the Leadership Exchange exposes folks to new insights and ideas, as well as establish connections across sectors and industries. During this year’s exchange in Seattle we were able to see how they address key issues such as homelessness, education, healthcare, crime and the growing influence of Amazon, whose headquarters is located right downtown.  It was very insightful to see how Seattle has developed a Global Health Alliance to help deconflict competing resources and conversely, how the number of homeless people have grown significantly due to the rise in housing costs in the city, primary driven by the tech industry there. I also had the opportunity to network with many of our greater Philadelphia community leaders who hopefully will help to market our Salus brand regionally and provide new opportunities for us to leverage our programs and clinics. All in all, it was a great experience but it’s also great to be back home!

Closer to home, I’d like to congratulate Patricia Mayro, Assistant Professor in the University's Speech-Language Pathology Program, who has been selected from hundreds of applicants across the nation to serve as one of only 15 Apraxia Kids Volunteer Outreach Coordinators. Those selected are highly qualified and dedicated individuals willing to advocate in their communities so that children with apraxia of speech have optimal opportunities to achieve functional speech. Well done Trish!

In our College of Education and Rehabilitation, The Nebraska Center for the Education of Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired’s newsletter dedicated one page to highlight Salus Orientation and Mobility cohort. 

Congratulations to Donna Agnew, MSPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, Director of our Physician Assistant program, who has recently assumed the role of Interim Dean of College of Health Sciences.

Our Osborne College of Audiology was well represented at the Pennsylvania Academy of Audiology this week, with three Grand Rounds presentations and one poster by students Jenna Fenton ‘20AUD, Elisa Hoyos ‘20AUD, Deidre Creegan ‘20AUD, Olivia Bologna ‘20AUD, Maura Kelly ‘20AUD, Maria Ragonese ‘20AUD, and Christi-Marie Williamson ‘20AUD.  Victor Bray, PhD, associate professor, also gave a presentation on Depression and Hearing Loss at the meeting.

Congratulations to Martin Pienkowski, PhD on publishing his article on Tinnitus in the journal, Neuroscience.  

We also congratulate Radhika Aravmudhan, PhD, interim dean, Osborne College of Audiology, who has been elected as the vice-chair for Audiology on the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) Board and will serve on the executive committee of the CAA Board. 
A couple of reminders:
  • Fall commencement is next Thursday at 2:00 p.m. at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Center City.  In addition to celebrating the achievements of our students, we’ll be presenting Dr. Janice Scharre with her honorary degree and she will also be our commencement speaker. It should be a wonderful event. 
  • The 12th Annual Looking Out For Kids Charity Fundraiser is on November 3rd at the Philadelphia Hilton, City Line Avenue. The committee has done a great job in planning this event which should be lots of fun – and most importantly, raise lots of money for this very worthwhile charity.  
  • As we continue to celebrate the Salus 10 year anniversary, join us at Yards Brewing and let's toast to many more years to come.  Invite your colleagues and friends , it only costs $20 (includes food and drinks). It should be a fun party!
As you can see, it’s been a busy week with some busy times to come.  A good reason to get some rest this weekend and get out and enjoy some of this nice Fall weather. Be safe and have fun.

Friday, September 28, 2018

New Appointments & Student Involvement: Week of September 24, 2018

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

It’s been a busy and exciting week at Salus. 

On Monday, we welcomed our Board of Trustees to campus for their quarterly meeting. During each quarterly meeting we try to highlight one of our academic programs and this time Dr. Lauren Sponseller gave a very comprehensive overview of our Occupational Therapy program. These presentations provide a great opportunity to inform Salus board members about all the creative and innovative things happening in each of our programs.

Throughout the week our graduating Physician Assistant students presented their Capstone projects on a variety of topics. Students, faculty, and staff were all invited to attend. I had the opportunity to sit in on a couple of the presentations, which were exceptional.  Congratulations to all of our capstone participants for a job well done!

Speaking of graduation, please put October 11th on your calendar for our Fall Commencement at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Center City at 2:00 p.m. For the first time, ever, every college will be represented at the ceremony. We’ll also be awarding an honorary degree to Dr. Janice Scharre followed by her keynote address, which I’m certain will be insightful and inspiring.

In the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Holly Myers, OD '86 has assumed the role of Chief, Suite 1 Primary Care at The Eye Institute. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Myers on her achievement!

On Wednesday, Salus was represented at Arcadia University’s Health & Wellness Fair and Representative Pam DeLissio’s Senior Expo at the Roxborough Memorial Hospital. I highly encourage you to volunteer for these events as it’s a great way to be involved in the community and spread the word about Salus.

This week we saw some positive movement on the Optometric Scope of Practice bill that’s moving through the Pennsylvania legislature. On Thursday, the bill was passed by the state Senate. Now the bill will go to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for a vote. It will be important for all of our optometry students from Pennsylvania to contact their state representatives to help ensure we have their support for this important piece of legislation. We’ll continue to work closely with the Pennsylvania Optometric Association to get pertinent information to legislators concerning how we train optometrists at Salus.

Finally, thanks to Dr. Stephanie Leburg for her Grand Rounds presentation on “Initial Parafoveal Scotomas, Optic Disc Hemorrhages and Normal Tension Glaucoma this morning at TEI. It was extremely informative!

It looks like we may actually have a nice weekend so if you have a chance, get outside and enjoy the nice fall weather. Be safe and look out for one another!


Friday, September 21, 2018

Fall is Almost Here: Week of September 21st

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

Hello from a cloudy, but cooler Elkins Park! Another busy week at Salus.

Yesterday, The Eye Institute staff was treated to a lunch as part of the Salus 10-year celebration. We’ll do a similar thing on the Elkins Park campus in just a few minutes. All faculty and staff are invited to join in on the fun at the Hafter Center gym from 11:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. today to celebrate Salus’ 10th.

Later today, Salus staff will attend the Stand Down South Jersey – A Veteran’s Screenings to provide screenings to homeless veterans from the New Jersey and Philadelphia area. This is part of our ongoing efforts to care for veteran’s in the greater Philadelphia area.

Please join me in congratulating Jennifer Heibel, MMS ’15, PA-C, our Physician Assistant Alumna of the Year! Ms. Heibel serves as part of the palliative medicine team at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, caring for patients with terminal illness. Last year, she founded a non-profit service, “ReMEmber” (pronounced Remember Me), which provides guidance to hospice patients in composing letters and other personalized projects as a gift to loved ones so as to “capture an unwavering expression of love that lasts beyond the final breath.” We’re so very proud of her – and all of our gifted alumni! Join us in celebrating Ms. Heibel on October 10th at the PA Alumna of the Year Award Reception.


In a brief, but important ceremony last Thursday afternoon, 16 students from the Master of Occupational Therapy (MSOT) Class of 2019 were inducted into Pi Theta Epsilon Delta Mu chapter, the national honor society for Occupational Therapy (OT) students. This was the fourth induction ceremony for the University’s chapter, recognized by the Association of College Honor Societies, and a program of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. Faculty from across programs came to watch and celebrate with the inductees as they pledged their new society.

On Monday, our Board of Trustees will be on campus for their quarterly meeting. Our volunteer board members unselfishly give us a great deal of time, expertise and energy to help Salus continue to innovate and grow, in addition to supporting us financially. Please extend a hearty welcome to them if you see them walking around campus.

If you remember my talk during orientation I mentioned that I will sometimes try to make my weekly update somewhat provocative. The following may or may not be to be considered provocative to you but I’m warning you, just in case. I wanted to talk about appropriate dress while in graduate school.

I am a little concerned that our idea of dressing in the manner becoming a professional student has gotten a bit lax in the classroom and lab setting. I certainly don’t mind if students wear jeans and comfortable shoes to class and lab, however, coming to class in athletic gear (running shorts, yoga pants, athletic tops) is not in the spirit of the dress code guidelines. Performing a Google search prior to venturing into this topic I found mixed opinions on this. A couple resonated with me that I would like to share with you.

What I found was that most experts agree your appearance says a lot about you and that you are treated based on how you are perceived by others. You may think it doesn’t matter how you dress for classes and that wearing athletic gear is acceptable since everyone else does the same thing. One author suggested that if you dress like a college kid, people will continue to treat you like one. If you dress sloppily, people might think you are disorganized or that you simply do not care. The author points out that this is supported by research on social behavior from graduate students, just like you. The bottom line is to dress appropriately for your setting and remember, it is always better to overdress than under-dress! Most references suggested clean and tidy denim pants (jeans) and skirts, capri pants or shorts (excluding short shorts) and athletic shoes that are clean and in good repair would be considered appropriate for classroom and lab settings. I tend to agree.

I’m going to leave the final decision to you, as you are all adults. Nevertheless, I felt you should know my thoughts on this. Please do not be bashful about providing feedback to me on this – I would like to know what you think and would certainly be happy to hear any dissenting (and supporting) opinions on this.

This weekend we transition from summer to fall. I hope you can get out and enjoy the nice weather because before we know it, we’ll be talking about snow! Have a safe and relaxing weekend!


Friday, September 14, 2018

Greetings from Sunny San Diego: Week of September 14th

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

Greetings from sunny San Diego. I apologize for getting this out a little later than normal but every once in a while, I get to go back to my former life as a Naval Officer and this was one of those times. I had the distinct honor and pleasure to be the guest speaker at a retirement ceremony for Captain David Murphy, a physician that worked with me in the Navy for many years. It’s always great to put on the uniform and honor those who serve. As an added bonus I had the opportunity to go for a nice run along the water early this morning which helped to set the tone for the wonderful day that it was. I’ll be back on a plane to our Philadelphia humidity early tomorrow morning. 

Closer to home, I’d like to congratulate Dr. Lauren Sponseller who was presented with the Making a Difference Award from the Breastfeeding Resource Center in recognition of her commitment of time and generous support of that organization. This show of appreciation is so well deserved - Lauren is a great example of service in action and we should all wish her a hardy "Congrats" for her efforts!

When you have a moment between studies, make sure to check out the new art exhibit hanging in the D’Arrigo Family Gallery in the Hafter Student Community Center. The show exhibits member work from the Summer 2018 Cooperative MamaCITA - an award-winning arts collective that provides its members a collective voice within the art world. All members are professional artists and mothers. The show runs from September 5 through October 28, with an opening reception today, September 14 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Thanks to our resident artist, Elynne Rosenfeld for making all this happen!

The PCO Private Practice Club (PPC) invited Dr. Kristin O’Brien to talk to students on Thursday evening about her journey from student to doctor and how she not only deciphered what she was going to do with her career, but more importantly, why.  It was extremely well-received.  Thanks to Dr. O’Brien for taking the time to help educate our students.
Buckets for Blindness, a 3v3 basketball tournament to raise money for the Foundation Fighting for Blindness is Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Hafter Center and is open to students across all programs. The cost is $5/person.
As summer wrapped up, the University's Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) and Occupational Therapy (OT) students spent a morning at Arcadia University sharing information about their respective professions with middle school students from the local Philadelphia community. Both groups of students provided an excellent overview and a variety of hands-on activities to engage the kids.

We are extremely proud to announce Rosemary Connors, anchor and reporter for NBC10 News in Philadelphia and Emmy award recipient, will again co-host Salus University's 12th annual “Looking Out for Kids” (LOFK) charity fundraiser on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at the Hilton City Avenue in Philadelphia. This is the fourth time Connors has graciously hosted the event.  Invitations have gone out so we hope many of you will join us for this important charity fundraising event.

Finally, our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by Hurricane Florence.  We still don’t know the extent of all the damage but we want all of our students, alumni and friends who might have been impacted by the storm to know that we’re here to support you and will keep you all in our thoughts and prayers.

Have a safe and restful weekend.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Alumni, Board of Trustee members and Friends,

It’s been a really hot and steamy week in Philadelphia and all up and down the East Coast. It’s also been a week to welcome back all those returning students from rotations or summer breaks. It’s really fun to walk around campus and feel the energy everyone brings to campus this time of the year! Our goal is to keep that energy level going throughout the year!!!

I’d like for all of our students, but especially our new ones, to take full advantage of the healthcare services we provide at Salus. To that end, I’d like each new student to make appointments at The Eye Institute, Pennsylvania Ear Institute and Speech-Language Institute.  For those returning students, if you haven’t already done this, please make the time to get it done. Even if you don’t feel like you need to have your eyes and ears checked or you don’t have any speech, swallowing or associated problems, it’s a great idea to learn a little about what your colleagues at Salus are doing. While you may not be able to get a same day appointment, please be patient and schedule something soon. It doesn’t cost you anything but time unless you need glasses, contacts or some other device - and those are provided close to “cost."  Your visit will allow your colleagues to experience patient contacts while you learn about their professions. 

While November doesn’t seem all that close right now, it will be here right before we know it. To that end, I’d like to remind everyone that the twelfth annual "Looking Out For Kids" Charity Fundraiser will be held at the Philadelphia Hilton, City Line Avenue on November 3rd. Building on last year’s successful event this year’s will be even bigger and better!  We will be honoring Donna Frisby-Greenwood with our third annual Lighthouse Award. Ms. Frisby-Greenwood is the first president and CEO of the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia. Her work with the children of Philadelphia over the years has made a significant impact in their lives.  

This week students in our Physician Assistant (PA) program began the first in a series of three “The Art of Observation” workshops at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of their Physical Diagnosis 1 course. Half of the Class of 2020 and several faculty attended the gallery sessions yesterday and the other half is scheduled for later in September. Two museum educators are conducting the sessions, which are highly interactive, and involve individual and group exercises. PA faculty are also involved in the sessions in order to bring a clinical/medical perspective to the workshops. The curriculum in the first in the series covers Observing & Describing; the second session in the Spring will cover Interpreting, and the last session in the Summer will cover Empathy, Perspective Taking and Recognizing Bias. The art museum program was originally developed for Penn medical students, and is based on a Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero.  It’s great to see this innovative education model being leveraged for our students!

The Salus Scoop will be held from 12:30 – 2:30 P.M. later today in the Hafter Center gymnasium. It will be a great way for students (especially new students) to get to know clubs and organizations on campus. There will be FREE FOOD, including some pretty awesome food trucks, lots of games and prizes.  

Also, today, Dr. Eric Branda, the Director of Product Management for Sivantos, Inc. who has provided audiological, technical and product training support in the area of audiology for over 20 years will be defending his PhD dissertation in W400 at 1:00 PM.  Dr. Branda earned his audiology degree from the Arizona School of Health Sciences and has been working on his PhD at Salus for the past few years.His dissertation is titled,  “Effects of Working Memory on the Degree of Benefit for Speech Understanding in Noise with Binaural Wireless Beamforming”.  Even if you’re just curious as to what the name of his dissertation actually means, I encourage you to attend!

Did anyone see a camera crew on campus the last few days?  We're working on a virtual tour of campus, and can't wait to share it with you when its complete!  So if you see a camera crew, smile!

For all of our Jewish friends, I’d like to wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year or the traditional “Shanah Tovah” as you prepare to celebrate Rosh Hashanah Sunday evening.  May this year bring good health, happiness, prosperity and for our students, good grades!  
Have a great weekend. It it looks like it will certainly be much cooler than the rest of the week. Please get outside, exercise, relax (I purposefully used those words in the same sentence) and have fun. Looking forward to seeing you back on campus ready to learn on Monday!


Friday, August 31, 2018

Labor Day Weekend: Week of August 31st

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

Well, the heat is finally gone, at least for now, as we get ready to celebrate Labor Day weekend!

For those of you who might be curious as to the origins of Labor Day, according the Department of Labor, the holiday is that originated with the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883. In 1884 the first Monday in September was officially selected as the holiday in New York and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "working men's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country. Labor Day was designated a Federal holiday in 1894. Today the holiday also symbolizes the end of summer and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events.

On Monday, we dedicated the Marco Family Foundation Classroom (classroom W111) with a plaque unveiling and a champagne toast. It was great to have David and Julie Marco on campus as well as representatives from Marco Ophthalmic, so we could thank them in person for their incredible generosity. 

In our Osborne College of Audiology, the class of 2020 held its Class BBQ on Thursday evening at the Hafter Center as an end of the semester event. It’s really nice to see these events on campus.

Yesterday we had the honor of hosting State Representative Mark Mustio and members of his staff on campus to show him how the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) trains today’s optometrists and prepares them for the future. We had the opportunity to tour both the Elkins Park campus and The Eye Institute (TEI). A high point of the visit for Representative Mustio was his instruction on our binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy (BIO) virtual training device. Dr. Trego instructed him on how to view the fundus through both a direct ophthalmoscope and a Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscopy (BIO). I think he left with very realistic impression of how difficult this skill was to acquire! It’s always great to bring legislators to campus so we can educate them about our professions and impress upon them that we teach to the highest standards in each profession we train. Seeing it first-hand makes a huge difference. Representative Mustio certainly left with a much more informed impression of optometry than he had before he came.

Just a reminder that our annual Looking Out For Kids (LOFK) charity fundraiser will be held on November 3, 2018 at the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue Hotel. Official invitations will be going out shortly and I wanted to ensure you had this on your calendars. It’s a fun event that helps to ensure we can continue to care for all those children in need of our vision and other health care services.

Finally, yesterday was a sad day for me and many on the staff as we bid farewell to Dr. Janice Scharre who officially began her retirement. It really hit home when I saw her husband wheeling all of her pigs with wings out of her office. We will miss her greatly and wish both Dr. Scharre and Dave “fair winds and following seas” as they begin their next adventure in Northern Virginia where they’ll be much closer to their family.

As you all get ready to celebrate the long weekend, please take some time to relax and recharge. I also ask that you reflect a bit on the events of this week and some of the many comments that were made in association with the death of Senator McCain. Without touching upon political views, I believe he represented what’s best in America – honor, courage, commitment, integrity, grit, dignity, the ability to forgive and move on and a true spirit of patriotism placing country above all else.

Take care and respect each other and come back ready to hit those books!