Friday, May 26, 2017

A Day of Celebration: Week of May 26th

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

Yesterday was truly a day of celebration for Salus, our graduates, their families and our faculty. A lump always forms in my throat when I walk on stage at the beginning of the ceremony. When I look out at how we fill the Kimmel Center and see how many people we’ve touched as a university, I feel a sense of pride shared by everyone celebrating with us. The accomplishments of our students, residents, faculty and staff are enviable - and we are all very lucky to be part of an institution that prepares young professionals to go out into the world to help others. I sincerely thank our faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees for participating in the event.

Yesterday we also celebrated the accomplishments of our largest graduating class ever, which includes our inaugural Speech-Language Pathology and Optometry’s Accelerated Scholars programs. I want to personally thank Dr. Jim Caldwell and his staff for organizing yet another wonderful commencement ceremony. Hours of work goes into this with the culmination being what many of us had the privilege of experiencing yesterday. Congratulations to everyone involved!

his week we also honored many of our graduating professionals at the University’s annual awards luncheon. It was wonderful to see so many of our graduates and their families being acknowledged for their accomplishments. That same day our second year Occupational Therapy students educated many at their Capstone poster session. The depth and quality of their work was outstanding and I think everyone who had to opportunity to peruse the posters walked away with a much better understanding of what occupational therapists do for their patients. They also experienced a great deal of pride in the creativity and professionalism of our students and their faculty mentors. 

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday evening, we had the opportunity to recognize 34 optometry students who completed their Advanced Studies programs. In addition to earning their traditional OD degrees, they also earned certificates in subjects such as binocular vision, neuro-ophthalmic disease, contact lenses and other specialties. Most students took an additional four to five credit hours to make this happen. Thanks to Dr. Vitek, her staff and our subject matter expert faculty members for making this happen!

It’s been a busy week for everyone. Please don’t forget the significance of this Memorial Day weekend as we look forward to our three days off.  We all need to pause and give thanks to all those who fought and served, with some making the ultimate sacrifice, so we can enjoy the freedoms we have.  

Have a safe and restful weekend.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Busy Time Leading up to Commencement: Week of May 19th

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

Progress continues with the construction work at The Eye Institute (TEI). The parking lot and outside of the building is nearly complete. There is also updated signage with our new logo on both Spencer Street and Godfrey Avenue. The CityLife Clinic has officially taken possession of their clinic with a “soft opening” to happen in a couple of weeks and a more formal opening to happen in July.  

The Clinical Procedures Lab now has computers installed in each of our 32 eye lanes that will allow students to learn how to integrate our Nextgen EMR while in the lab, which will be ready for use in the upcoming semester. The VR Magic virtual reality training equipment should arrive on campus in early June. I think everyone will be very pleased with the results of this project. 

A week ago, Kerry Lueders and three Low Vision Rehabilitation students Lindsay Johnson, Grace Fontanez and Christian D’Angelis presented the poster “Nighttime Glare: A Case Study” and conducted a presentation at the Penn Del AER conference in Harrisburg, Pa., describing their upcoming research study. At the same conference, Lachelle Smith, Director of the Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) Program, and Dawn Ciccarone, Occupational Therapy (OT) clinical instructor, conducted an inter-professional presentation: "VRT and OT Practice: Bridging the Gap in Adapted ADL Service Delivery.”

Speaking of conferences, on Tuesday, Dr. Scharre and I headed out to Las Vegas to participate in the annual meeting of the American Association of Physician Assistants to host a reception for students, faculty and alumni of our program.  It was great to see so many alumni and current students at the event.  Thanks to everyone for making this such a successful meeting for everyone!

Community service is another important part of the work we do at Salus. This week, Drs. Kelly Malloy and Erin Draper presented a lecture entitled, "Increase Your Understanding of Stroke,” to older, active adults at the Ambler YMCA. Their lecture was part of a monthly Lunch and Learn series Salus has participated in since January where faculty from various programs present topics aimed to keep our neighbors healthy and informed. 

If you have not had the chance to visit the D’Arrigo Family Art Gallery located in the Hafter Center recently, I invite you to check out the new mosaic art collection that curator Elynne Rosenfeld has obtained for viewing. The current collection from the Mosaic Society of Philadelphia showcases a wide variety of mosaic stylistic artwork using an array of conventional and unconventional materials.  It’s a very interesting and beautiful collection!

I’d like to share with you that I was recently inducted as a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia at their annual College Night. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, which is also the home of the Mutter Museum, was founded in 1787 and is one of the oldest professional medical organizations in the country.  One of the memorable parts of the evening was, as a new inductee, was getting to sign my name in a ledger that dated back to the establishment of the College and actually has Benjamin Rush’s signature in it.  Now, there’s a little history for you!  Also of note, Salus Board of Trustee member, Dr. Thomas Beeman has been a Fellow of the College for many years and he was one of my sponsors. Tanis and I were honored to have Dr. Beeman and his wife Betty join us for the evening’s festivities. 

It’s going to be an action-packed week starting with our quarterly Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, followed by the annual commencement awards lunch on Wednesday and culminating with commencement on Thursday afternoon.  I cannot tell you how proud I am of each and every one of our students on the completion of this significant professional milestone in your lives. I especially want to thank our faculty and all those who helped to support our graduating students.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Getting Ready for Commencement: Week of May 12th

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

I hope everyone has had a productive week. Ours has been filled with students finishing finals and getting ready for break or commencement. I started out my week in Harrisburg, Pa. where I spent the day meeting with state legislators and many of their staff members to educate them about what we do here at Salus. I also provided support for the optometric scope of practice legislation (SB 688) introduced by Senator John R. Gordner (R-27) a few weeks ago. I wanted to let all of the legislators and staff members be aware of everything requested in the bill was taught here at Salus as well as other optometric programs around the country. I stressed the importance of our students being permitted to practice at the level at which they are being trained. I also explained the significant access to care and public health implications of moving forward with this and even more progressive legislation. We’ll keep our fingers crossed this will have a positive effect on the legislative process.  

On Wednesday evening, the University’s director of Institutional Advancement, Lynne Corboy, and I flew down to Palm Beach, Fla. to honor Dr. Morey X. Powell, who is one of our oldest living alumni. Dr. Powell graduated from PCO in 1936 and was one of 49 members of his class who helped to pave the way for how optometry as a profession is practiced today.  Dr. Powell was a pioneer in fitting contact lenses (glass and plastic) and was one of the first doctors to actually fenestrate (make holes in) lenses to allow oxygen to reach the cornea. We spent two hours talking about his time at PCO and beyond. The high point of the day was conducting a virtual dedication ceremony over FaceTime. We named the classroom in the new Clinical Procedures Lab suite after Dr. and Mrs. Powell in honor of their service to the profession and philanthropic support to PCO. I’ve attached a photo of Dr. Powell being virtually "walked through" the classroom and new lab on my iPad by Dr. Melissa Trego, our interim dean of PCO.  It was truly a memorable morning!  I also had the opportunity to catch up with one of my classmates, Dr. Michael Hecht, who is currently the medical director for Premier Eye Care in Boca Raton, Fla.  

Speaking of our Clinical Procedures Lab, the majority of the clinical equipment was delivered and put together this week. Our staff did a fantastic job of having everything put together in the span of two days. It was great to walk through the lab to see all of the new equipment filling the spaces we arduously planned for so long. The next step will be installing computers with electronic health records that will allow our students to transition seamlessly from lab to clinic. VRmagic, a virtual reality ophthalmoscopy suite, will be installed early next month while the Powell Classroom is waiting for some finishing touches to make it complete.  

The exterior of The Eye Institute is basically as complete as the interior construction of the primary care clinical suite.  Ampersand/CityLife Neighborhood Health Clinic will hold a “soft” opening in June with a larger grand opening in July as they finish hiring staff and getting things set up. 

As you can imagine, it’s an exciting time to see these projects finally come to completion. At the same time all of this is happening, we’re also preparing for commencement on May 25. That being said, we have already started planning for the White Coat Ceremony, which will be held in conjunction with orientation week this summer at the Kimmel Center. 


Friday, May 5, 2017

Rainy Philadelphia: Week of May 5th

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

Greetings from a rainy Philadelphia!  We just got back from our whirlwind trip to Bangkok and Singapore earlier this week where we participated in both an international optometric meeting in Thailand and celebrated the graduation of 14 Master of Science in Clinical Optometry professionals in Singapore.  It was fantastic to officiate over the ceremony along with Dr. Melissa Vitek. It was also great to enjoy the camaraderie of many of our Singapore alumni - of which we have over 100! The great trip was a wonderful way to recognize the accomplishments of many of our international Salus colleagues.

On the home front, our Clinical Procedures Lab is almost complete - furniture and audio-visual equipment are being installed with the optometric equipment coming soon. Along the same lines, the primary care clinical facility housed at The Eye Institute (TEI) is complete with the plan to start seeing patients in a few weeks. It was an amazing transformation of TEI’s old clinical modules into a modern primary care facility. You’ll also notice the outside of the building is finally complete to include a new entrance vestibule and updated signage clearly making everyone aware TEI is a clinical facility of Salus.  

This week we also completed our second Board of Trustees orientation and training session. Mr. Jerry Kline and Dr. Adrienne Rogers were welcomed to the Board whereas Ms. Michelle Palos-Samsi and Ms. Terri Albertson joined our Board committees. It’s always great to have Board members on campus to keep them updated on what’s going on both on and off campus. We greatly appreciate their time and energy and know they’ll help build on the legacy we’ve created while also moving us forward.

On Sunday, we will be hosting the annual Joseph C. Toland Excellence in Education program on campus followed by a tribute to Dr. Toland from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Hafter Student Center. We hope to fill the room – please join us!

As we enter May, it’s the perfect time to start to think about commencement, which is later this month. We’re excited about our guest speaker and honorary degree recipient, Dr. David Nash. As the director of the Thomas Jefferson University School of Population Health, I’m sure given all of the recent discussions surrounding healthcare, Dr. Nash’s comments will be very timely.

Here’s wishing everyone a safe and restful weekend.