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. 


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