Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Trust in Talks

Webster defines trust as assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something or one in which confidence is placed.  It’s something we all strive for in relationships with our patients, colleagues, friends and loved ones.  Trust is something that is earned through honesty, deeds and commitment over time. It is also something that can quickly be diminished with a dishonest act or misdeed of some type. 

As talks of a strategic alliance with the University of the Sciences progress, possibly towards an eventual merger, there appears to be many on our staff and extended alumni family who do not trust those of us in leadership positions to make the right decision for the University. Our Board of Trustees has always looked out for the best interest of the University and, compared to other University boards that I’ve had the opportunity to observe, is head and shoulders above them in terms of dedication, participation, knowledge of the University and stewardship.  As an alumnus myself, I feel a special obligation to ensure that the quality, innovative spirit and long-term legacy of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry as well as our other programs benefit from any partnership we might develop. This is first and foremost in our minds.

I want our faculty, staff, students and alumni to know and understand your Salus leadership team is absolutely committed to moving forward with our research and due diligence discussions with the University of the Sciences. We envision great opportunities for both institutions if we can work together, but we’re not going to “pull the trigger” on any deal if it will not benefit Salus. You have my firm commitment that we will not jeopardize the University’s marquee and legacy programs.  I believe our colleagues at USciences feel the same way. 

So, as we move forward with our discussions, please trust us to remain transparent in our work, to keep you informed and to make the right decisions when the time comes. As we move forward I hope that you will provide honest feedback as we progress.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Busy Week at Salus

White Coat Ceremony- Salus University

This has been an unbelievably busy and fun week at Salus. On Monday, October 12th, 327 students from our Doctor of OptometryDoctor of Audiology, Clinical Optometry, Physician AssistantOccupational Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology degree programs celebrated the first of many professional milestones – receiving their white coats in a ceremony attended by over 1500 friends, family, staff and faculty. Symbolically and in reality, the white coat represents the beginning of the transition from layperson to healthcare professional – the hard earned rite of passage into the health sciences.

Jim Hindman
Additionally, the keynote address, delivered by Mr. James Hindman, a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and author, provided our students and their families with a personal testament to the importance of inter-professional education. Mr. Hindman, an age-related macular degeneration patient, has experienced firsthand the devastating effects of this disease and is now dedicated to using his resources to help improve the lives of others who have this disease through philanthropy and education. Each student received his book, Was Blind, But Now I See.  Mr. Hindman left us with a quote from one of his college professors that I believe all of our students will remember, "If you reach for the stars you’ll never come out with a handful of mud." 

On Friday, Danne Ventura from Essilor was on campus to present the Essilor Optometry Bowl trophy to Nicole Rist, our senior who won this prestigious academic contest for Salus/PCO during Optometry's meeting last June.  It was a fun event acknowledging not only Nicole's accomplishment but also Essilor's commitment to optometric education. 

Concurrently, during Salus Time our College of Education and Rehabilitation presented a blindness and low vision orientation and mobility workshop for the University community. I think a high point was watching our Provost and VP of Clinical Services traverse a hallway with blinders on and a cane. It's not as easy as it looks!  I think everyone walked away from that session with a new appreciation for what it must be like to not have functional vision.  

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fall Commencement & White Coat Ceremony

White Coat Ceremony, October 2014
As we get ready to march into October, Salus is preparing to celebrate two very significant events; our Fall Commencement on October 6th and our traditional White Coat Ceremony on October 12th. Both of these ceremonies mark significant milestones in the professional careers of our students.

Our Fall Commencement always includes our Physician Assistant program graduates, but this year we're also graduating students who have completed our Master of Public Health (MPH), Doctor of Audiology Online Bridge Program and Blindness and Low Vision program. Commencement marks the transition from being a professional student to becoming a healthcare professional. Thanks to the wonderful education and training they have received at Salus, these very talented individuals will now take their place in the American healthcare system, with an eye on helping to improve how healthcare is delivered in our country.  

The White Coat Ceremony marks transition from the study of pre-clinical or undergraduate studies to clinical health sciences. This ceremony also helps to instill the fact that these new caregivers will now be held to a higher standard of behavior and must earn the trust of their patients. This year we'll be presenting over 300 white coats to students in our optometry, audiology, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology degreee programs. Additionally, we're very honored to have our first cohort of Chinese students who are here to complete a specialized master's program in clinical optometry.  

While some may think these ceremonies are time consuming and unnecessary, I believe they're extremely important for both students and their families to celebrate and reflect on these significant professional milestones. Becoming a healthcare provider requires a very special commitment to lifelong learning, caring and putting others' needs before their own. We absolutely need to recognize this and celebrate all the successes these very special people achieve along the way. 

Congratulations to our graduates and white coat recipients!