Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dr. Joseph Toland

Today Salus University payed tribute to Dr. Joseph Toland, a gentleman, scholar and true professional who has played a significant role into the evolution of optometry and our institution for several decades. Thanks to the generosity of many of our alumni, faculty and staff we have named the large classroom in The Eye Institute in honor of Dr. Toland.  

Dr. Toland has single handedly trained hundreds of us, took on organized opposition to the evolution of the scope of practice of optometry while at the same time caring for thousands of patients in world-class fashion.  His loyalty to our university, his students, his patients and our profession, combined with his compassion, great sense of humor and keen intellect, has had a significant impact on the quality of care we provide for our patients and the manner in which optometry is practiced nationally.  

If you get a chance, please stop by and say thanks to Dr. Toland for all he's done - and check out his portrait in the Dr. Joseph Toland classroom on the second floor of The Eye Institute.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Looking Out for Kids

I'm taking this Blog in a different direction from my past messages. This message is about philanthropy and how frustrated I've been about getting folks to both notice and support our outstanding Looking Out For Kids campaign.  This one charity singularly supports the efforts of the University to care for thousands of children in the Philadelphia and Montgomery county school districts who would otherwise not be able to obtain vision, hearing and other health-related screenings.  Furthermore, this fund provides glasses to underprivileged children who cannot afford them.  Needless to say Salus has changed lives through this extremely beneficial service.   

Unfortunately, all of these interventions cost money.  While we've been able to subsidize most of these efforts through the Looking Out For Kids campaign the University often must augment these services with human and fiscal resources that normally would be dedicated to other necessary functions.  Compounding all this, we have a 14-year old vision screening van that is outdated and in need of replacement so we can provide integrated health screenings, not just vision screenings.

I'm frustrated because as much as we publicize our efforts and people talk about the importance of helping children, there's relatively little to show in terms of philanthropic support for these efforts.  We have a fundraising event the beginning of November (invitation and link below) but the amount of money it raises barely covers the cost of gas for our van and a few pair of glasses.  I need your help in the form of suggestions, support and contacts so we can gain some traction on raising the necessary funds to support the youth of our communities.  I'm hoping someone who might be reading this can help provide some additional insights as to how we can best sustain these important functions.  I'd hate to see any support we're giving to children diminish due to lack of funding.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

University Update: International Programs & Strategic Planning

It's been a very busy couple of months as began the new Fall semester.  In between the time I last blogged and this entry I've been to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Israel to learn more about our international programs and help to market the cutting edge educational products we provide globally. It was an inspiring (and tiring) trip.  

We also have spent a great deal of time and effort, with many of your inputs, working on our strategic plan that will help to map the course of Salus University for the next 3-5 years.  Last Thursday and Friday we hosted an "retreat" for members of our Strategic Planning Steering Committee as well as our academic Deans and other key university leaders (that includes students, faculty, staff, the Board of Trustees and administration).  The key aspect of this planning cycle is to ensure we're moving forward as a University, not 4 separate colleges.  Thus each strategic priority will address how Salus will move forward, supported by aligned goals and priorities developed for each college.

At the facilitated retreat we reviewed the results of the environmental scans and landscape team reports.  From this information we developed an updated vision and mission statement for the University as well as formulated 4 overarching strategic priorities.  While these are not yet finalized I can tell you that they clearly embrace the key issues that influence and affect how Salus will interact with our ever-changing healthcare system, our prospective students, alumni, faculty and staff.  Many of these issues you brought to our attention during the scanning processes while others were articulated by some "thought leaders" in American healthcare who we sought out, to include the Acting Surgeon General of the U.S, RADM Boris Lushniak and Dr. Zeke Emanual, Director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and head of the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.  Both experts had similar thoughts on how Salus and those professions we train, will play a key and essential role in the American healthcare landscape of the near and far future.

Everyone left the 2-day event extremely energized and excited about the prospects for operationalizing the new plan.  Much work still needs to be done but I'm hopeful that within the next few weeks I'll be able to share some of the specifics with all of you.  One decision we did make was to begin to work on some of the key issues that affect student and faculty morale/life immediately.  To that end, you'll be seeing some working groups established that will address Universtiy policies that were identified that will give us some "quick splashy victories" moving forward.  

Finally, as I reflect on my first year at the helm of Salus I can't begin to thank everyone for making Tanis and me feel welcome to our community.  I realize I had big shoes to fill but with the help of many of you I believe we're making progress in building upon the wonderful legacy I've inherited.

Have a great week and keep those cards and letters coming!