Friday, April 28, 2017

Greetings from Bangkok: Week of April 28th

Greetings from Bangkok, Thailand where Dr. Melissa Vitek and I have been participating in Rangsit University’s International Research Conference.  Both Dr. Vitek and I had the opportunity to lecture to an extremely diverse group of optometry students, faculty and local providers.  It’s been a great experience to see the evolution of Rangsit’s optometry program leading the way in Thailand very similar to the way PCO did in the US. It was also fun to see how one of our alumni, Dr. Christopher Rugaber (OD ’84) has had an impact on how optometry is being taught in Bangkok as a Rangsit faculty member.  Not only did we have the opportunity to meet with my counterpart, Dr. Arthit Ourairot, who is an extremely accomplished statesman and diplomate in addition to being a visionary president, but we also have met several prospective students who are very excited about having the opportunity to study at Salus. Tomorrow morning we’re off to Singapore to celebrate the commencement of 14 of our Master of Science in Clinical Optometry students.  It will be a busy couple of days.

On the home front, I want to congratulate Drs. Audrey Smith and Fabiana Perla who both received very prestigious awards.  Dr. Smith received the Richard L. Welsh Service Award, which recognizes a professional who has demonstrated outstanding contributions and performance to the field serving the education and/or rehabilitation needs of individuals with visual impairment.  Dr. Perla received the Elinor Long Educator of the Year Award, which recognizes an educator who has demonstrated outstanding contributions and performance in the field.  Those were the only two awards given during the Penn-Del AER Conference and our Salus faculty earned both!  Congratulations to Audrey and Fabiana on your accomplishments!

For those of you who come in through the front of the Elkins Park campus every morning, you've probably seen Wayne Pancza, our director of Security sitting at his desk helping to greet folks. After several years at Salus, Wayne has decided to relocate to Florida where he can enjoy his boat and the warmer weather.  Please join me in wishing Wayne and his wife fair winds and following seas as they begin their new adventure in the south.

As you all are beginning your Friday, I am ending mine, so I’m going to keep this short as we have an early departure tomorrow morning.  I would like to wish everyone a safe and restful weekend.


Friday, April 21, 2017

April Showers: Week of April 21st

Students, Faculty, Residents, Alumni, Staff, Board of Trustees and Friends,

Dr. Carlo Pelino - Ambler YMCA Presentation
Greetings from a rainy Philadelphia - April showers are here to help with our spring flowers, many of which are already in bloom!  

I’d like to thank Dr. Carlo Pelino for taking the time to present a lecture entitled, "Diabetic Changes and the Eye: Age Related Macular Degeneration” at the Ambler YMCA yesterday afternoon. We have been participating in the YMCA’s health education series over the past few months and all of our lectures have been extremely well-received. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time and effort to make these important outreach opportunities successful.

Salus Speech Language Pathology Students

Congratulations to our inaugural SLP class on a very successful and impressive Capstone poster event last Thursday. The scope, depth and quality of each of the posters were impressive, to say the least. I would like to thank our faculty and staff for mentoring our fantastic students. Everyone enjoyed seeing all of the great work our students spent so much time and effort developing. Thank you for your efforts – it makes me SALUS PROUD!

Yesterday the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) hosted Dr. Steve Loomis, past president of the American Optometric Association for a visit.  I had the opportunity to take Dr. Loomis around campus to see our new Learning Resource Center and Clinical Procedures Lab updates. During his visit, he met with both students and faculty in addition to touring The Eye Institute (TEI), which included the new primary care clinical facility on the upper level. In talking with Dr. Loomis, he agreed PCO is continuing to lead the way in teaching and innovation through our new virtual reality lab and state of the art clinical procedures lab.  Additionally, Dr. Loomis shares our view that optometrists need to be taking on a greater role in the delivery of primary medical care to include the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Having the new primary care clinic at TEI, combined with updates to the program’s curriculum, will pave the road for all of that to happen over time. This doesn’t mean we will lose sight of teaching more “traditional” topics such as contact lenses, lasers, binocular vision, etc. We just have to vigorously expand our portfolio to stay ahead of the changes occurring in our national healthcare arena. Salus is well positioned to take this on! We greatly appreciate Dr. Loomis’ time and effort!

This wouldn’t be complete without an update on the University’s construction projects. First and foremost, I invite everyone to check out the new mural at the entrance to the Learning Resource Center. The mural takes you through time from PCO’s original location on Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia to today’s vibrant University campus here in Elkins Park.

Furniture and equipment for the Clinical Procedures Lab have arrived - it’s fun to watch the progress! At TEI, work is nearly completion on the second floor with our primary care partners hoping to see patients in mid-May. Work on the parking lot will also begin shortly. It’s very rewarding to see all of the moving parts come together!  

Finally, I’m on the road again this coming week. I will be traveling with Dr. Vitek to an optometry meeting in Thailand where both of us will be lecturing and conducting meetings to discuss greater collaborations between Salus and Rangsit University, located right outside Bangkok. From there we’ll head to Singapore to conduct a graduation ceremony for our Singapore students who have completed their Master of Science Degree in Clinical Optometry. We will also hold an alumni reception concurrently to honor Singapore optometrists who have previously completed our program.  

Have a great weekend. Be safe and have fun!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring Has Sprung: Week of April 13th

Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Alumni, Board of Trustees and Friends,

Spring has really popped on our Elkins Park campus with cherry, pear and other colorful trees and shrubs coming into full bloom. It’s a great time for both students and faculty as they start to think about commencement and the end of the academic year. It remains a very busy time on campus as well with students preparing for finals, construction and renovation projects moving closer to completion and ultimately prepping for the beginning of the University’s subsequent projects. Additionally, searches are in full swing for both of the University’s Osborne College of Audiology and Pennsylvania College of Optometry deans. We are hopeful these will be completed by summer’s end.

The American Academy of Audiology’s (AAA) annual meeting – AudiologyNOW! – was last week. The University’s Osborne College of Audiology (OCA) was well represented at the conference with several presentations and posters from Drs. Aravamudhan, Bondurant, Bray, Lindley, Myers, Owen, Rajan, Sedunov and Sundar. OCA also held an open house and alumni reunion during the conference, which was well attended by alumni, faculty, students, college advisory board members and friends. During the festivities, Drs. Aravamudhan and Sundar awarded the certificates of completion for the first China cohort in Advanced Studies Cochlear Implant Program organized in collaboration with AIER China, to Dr. Qi Liang. The annual Audiology Alumni Association Award was also presented to Dr. Sherman Lord.

Congratulations are in order for Dr. Barbara Schwartz-Bechet associate dean of the University’s College of Education and Rehabilitation on her selection at the US Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminar (Alumni TIES) entitled “Education for All: Inclusion and Access as Pathways to Peace.”  Sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State, this seminar will convene thirty innovative alumni of US government-sponsored exchange programs in education and conflict resolution fields from across the country. Alumni participants will join subject matter experts and government officials to share best practices and challenges related to inclusive and accessible education systems. It will also introduce participants to continuing education challenges while examining innovative technological and practical advances in the field. Participants will address barriers to education for marginalized groups based on gender, disability, ethnic/racial background, religion, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status, as well as ways in which inclusive education practices can intersect with local and global development and stability. We look forward to hearing what Dr. Schwartz-Bechet brings back to campus after attending this very timely and interesting seminar.

Recently, a team of speakers across the University’s programs brought their expertise in Interprofessional Education (IPE) to the Green Tree School and Services. Located just a few short miles from campus, Green Tree is a non-profit agency that provides education, therapeutic and clinical support to individuals ranging from age five to twenty-one years old with autism spectrum disorder and severe emotional disabilities. The presentation highlighted the value of patient-centered, team-based care provided by the University’s various disciplines.  Approximately 100 Green Tree staff attended this well planned event.  Special thanks to Drs. Casser, Shoge, Appel, Silverman, Gregory, Schwartz-Bechet, Ms. Lueders and Mr. Knight for participating in this important event.

The primary care clinical facility is nearing completion at The Eye Institute, and we’re extremely excited about this addition to the University. Additionally, the renovation on our Clinical Procedures Lab is in the end stages as well – furniture is ready to be installed. The equipment is scheduled to be delivered soon with the intent that our students will start using the lab sometime in early May.

I wanted to take the opportunity if you are on campus to remind everyone to check out the wonderful artwork at the Hafter Center - produced by our very own Salus Community. It’s really neat to see all of the talent we have on campus as well as to be able to display and celebrate it in such a nice environment.  Special thanks to all of the University’s artists and our resident curator, Elynne Rosenfeld, for bringing this creativity to campus.

Finally, with all that’s going on in the world it’s very easy to get distracted by watching the news and reading the paper. I wanted to take this time to remind anyone who’s reading this message that there is MUCH to be thankful for and MUCH to be optimistic about as we live through these interesting times. The fact that you have chosen to work in an environment that revolves around helping people improve their lives and achieving your desired success, whether it be in direct patient care or completing a difficult semester, puts a positive spin on everything we do. I want you to be proud of your accomplishments and even prouder that you’ve chosen professions placing others above yourselves. The world is a better place because of the work you do and the people you help. Don’t get distracted by all of the “noise” around us.

Have a wonderful holiday. Be safe, have fun and keep your eye on your goals.