Monday, November 20, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving From Salus University!

Dear fellow alumni and friends,

As we approach Thanksgiving we pause to count our blessings for the freedom of this great country in which we live and for all of those opportunities that come from that freedom to achieve great things. Traditionally, individuals come together to celebrate this most American holiday with family and friends to recount the joys and blessings of the past year. I hope you use this week’s holiday to take stock of the good fortune we have known and the kindnesses we have shared; grateful for the bounty that enriches our lives every day. This year, in particular with all that’s happening around the world and also in our own country, we have much to reflect on but also much to be thankful.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our extremely gifted and dedicated faculty and staff for all you have done for our students and our institution this year. You’ve accomplished much, often without much fanfare but with great impact on our mission. This was quite evident at this year’s Salus Awards Gala that was held last Thursday evening where many of you were recognized by our student body for the exceptional work you do every day. Thanks to our student council for organizing this important and fun event!

I would also like to thank our students for trusting and selecting Salus as your choice to pursue your given professions and for your continued support as we work to provide you with the finest professional education available. Everyone at Salus realizes you’re the reason we’re here and we are extremely thankful.

As many of our neighbors and friends pause to lend a hand to those in need, we are also reminded of the indelible spirit of compassion and mutual responsibility that has distinguished Americans since our earliest days. This spirit is alive and well here at Salus every day - whether it is by taking care of those underserved in our on campus facilities - The Eye Institute, the Pennsylvania Ear Institute or the Speech-Language Institute – or caring for children in schools through our Looking Out for Kids initiative or providing care for patients in the various clinical settings we support, the University’s faculty, staff and students are living the Thanksgiving spirit every day, and I sincerely thank and admire you for that.

As we prepare for this week’s holiday, I want to thank you for what you do every day to make us a very special place to learn, work and support our community.

Tanis and I wish you all a very safe and restful Thanksgiving with your family and friends!



Friday, November 17, 2017

An Eventful Fall for Salus - Week of November 17, 2018

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

Happy Friday! November is very quickly passing before our eyes. Before we know it, we’ll be sitting around the table eating turkey and cranberry sauce. But, before we get there, there’s lots of great stuff to report that has been happening at Salus - on and off campus.

Our Looking Out for Kids charity fundraiser last Saturday evening was a huge success. We had almost 300 people in attendance at the Philadelphia Cricket Club in Chestnut Hill, Pa. to help us raise money for the important task we conduct each academic year of providing comprehensive vision care to uninsured and under-insured children in the Philadelphia and Montgomery County schools. To all of you who helped organize, contribute to, or sponsor the event, thank you very much! Check out the event on NBC10!

This weekend, the University's Pennsylvania College of Optometry is hosting the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) Clinic Directors and Administrators Special Interest Group Workshop both in Center City and on our Elkins Park campus. I would like to extend special thanks to Dr. Maria Parisi and Mr. John Gaal as well as their staff for taking the lead on organizing the three day workshop along with multiple events. About 120 people will participate in this very comprehensive and important workshop.

In the University's Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies, Drs. Fabiana Perla, director of the Orientation and Mobility program, and Yi Yang, an assistant professor at Penn State Abington have initiated a collaborative project. Faculty members are joined by three students in our Orientation and Mobility Program along with three graduate electrical engineering students from Penn State in a project to create an electronic travel device for individuals who are blind or have severe visual impairments. The Penn State team has been coming on campus for a series of instructional sessions on Fridays. We’re very excited about this work.

Faculty and students from the University's Osborne College of Audiology (OCA) attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Audiology conference recently and while there, they honored Dr. Jim Zeigler, one of the college’s clinical preceptors, with the George S. Osborne Honors Award. The award, named for the founder of OCA, is presented to an outstanding Pennsylvania audiologist and advocate for their profession. Congratulations Dr. Zeigler!

This weekend, the Pennsylvania Optometric Association will be co-hosting a comprehensive continuing education event in Harrisburg as part of “Dr. Lombardi’s Final Tour.” This event is being held on Sunday, November 19 at the Best Western Premier/Central Hotel and Conference Center in Harrisburg, PA. Following the lectures, there will be a reception from 3:30-5:30 p.m. hosted by the Pennsylvania College of Optometry to celebrate Dr. Lombardi’s upcoming retirement. There will be food, drinks and sharing of memories. We hope to see many PCO alumni there!

Have a great weekend. I hope you can get out and enjoy this great fall weather before it starts to rain tomorrow.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Frosty Fall Friday: Week of November 10th

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

Greetings from a frosty fall Friday in Elkins Park! This note is going to be a bit longer than most as I wanted to honor our veterans as well as provide you some history on Veterans Day.

First, I want to congratulate our Speech-Language Pathology faculty and students for representing us at the annual American Speech-Language-Hearing Association meeting in California.  Many of our faculty presented lectures and posters at the meeting, once again, making all of us at Salus very proud!

Dr. Aravamudhan and Dr. Rajan from the Osborne College of Audiology (OCA) also attended the ASHA meeting, where Dr. Aravamudhan serves as a mentor and member of the Council of Academic Accreditation.Dr. Rajan from OCA and Ms. Dawn Ciccone from the Salus Occupational Therapy program were invited by ASHA's Interprofessional Education Committee (IPE) committee to present on their IPE initiatives, which was a real hit with attendees.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Marc Berson, one of our Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) alums, who was on campus lecturing on practice management.  We had a great discussion about the optometric applicant pool, scope of practice, and - because he’s also a runner - we also compared training tips. It’s not unusual for our alumni to come back “home” to Salus to provide real-world experiences to students in all of our programs. I don’t think we thank these folks enough for taking their time to help educate our students, same goes for our clinical preceptors. We couldn’t accomplish what we do without their very generous help.

Congratulations to Dr. Lauren Sponseller, chair of our Occupational Therapy program, who was recently selected to the American Occupational Therapy Associations Academic Leadership Institute. Lauren is one of only 20 chosen across the country!  

Today marks the 242nd birthday of the United States Marine Corps. On November 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress, right here in Philadelphia, established the Continental Marines. Since that time, U.S. Marines have distinguished themselves defending our freedoms around the world. During my 33-year Navy career, I had the privilege of serving with the Marine Corps for almost one-third of that time. I even proudly wore their uniform when embedded with the Corps, as all Navy Medical Department personnel do. Tomorrow, November 11th, we also recognize all veterans as we celebrate Veterans Day. A little history:  World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919.  However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of World War I.  Originally designated Armistice Day by President Wilson, November 11 commemorates the armistice that began that day. In 1954, Congress officially changed the name to Veterans Day to recognize all veterans.  

While I was served on active duty, we observed the Navy and Marine Corps birthdays and Veterans Day with ceremonial cake cuttings and a welcome day off. Today, as a retired Navy veteran I find myself thinking of these dates a bit differently. I have been reflecting on how lucky we all are to have men and women who, everyday make sacrifices to ensure we continue to enjoy the freedoms we often take for granted. They do this while being held to the highest of standards, ethically, professionally and morally. Their core values of honor, courage and commitment have been the moral and ethical compass that has guided them for 242 years.  

As healthcare professionals, we have much in common with those who have and currently serve in our Armed Forces. We too have made a commitment to devote our time and energies to serve others. As healthcare professionals, we also must be guided by an ethical and moral compass as we care for those entrusted us.

So, as we celebrate the Marine Corps birthday today, and take time to specially honor our veterans tomorrow, I ask you reflect on how we can leverage our own commitment to always conduct ourselves with honor and have the courage to always do what’s right for our patients. If you see someone in uniform or if you know someone who is a veteran, please take the time to thank them for their service, while I thank you for your commitment to helping others! 

This Saturday evening is our Looking Out for Kids annual fundraiser. While the event itself is sold out, folks can still donate to the charity on our website.

Have a great weekend. Stay warm and stay safe.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Looking forward to the 11th annual Looking Out for Kids: Week of November 3, 2017
Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Alumni, Board Members and Friends,

I cannot believe that we’re already into November! There are still leaves on the trees – albeit, starting to change – and the weather has been unseasonably warm. That being said, I know our students and faculty are already thinking about finals, wrapping up this semester and looking forward to the holidays - which are right around the corner!

In the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Jordan Heidelbaugh and Joshua Heersink were awarded the highly competitive Practice Excellent Scholarship from the American Academy of Optometry Foundation. The scholarship is funded through VSP Global Eyes of Hope Global Charitable Fund and included a travel grant to participate in the American Academy of Optometry’s 96th annual meeting. Congratulations to both of you!

Last Saturday, a group of Salus students, faculty and staff, primarily from our Speech-Language Pathology program, participated in the Moss Rehabilitation Brain Injury Challenge: Race for Recovery in Tyler State Park. Organized by Mr. Bob Serianni, Salus had a great showing with Alison Finklestein finishing second in her age group and yours truly finishing third in my age group (and yes, there were many more than two in Ali’s group and more than three people in mine!) Special mention to Dr. Brooke Kruemmling, Don Kates, Ken Newton, Shelley Slott and Leah Morton for great finishes, tackling those hills and helping to motivate the rest of us! It was a fun event.
We’re at the final stages of preparing for our Looking Out For Kids charity fundraiser next Saturday night (November 11). I had the opportunity to “spread the good word” about Salus and the LOFK event on NBC 10 yesterday when I was interviewed by Rosemary Connors, who will also be our celebrity host. The interview provided a great platform to discuss how the work you all do in the Philadelphia and Montgomery County schools really changes the lives of those students we care for. You can view the full interview here. In addition to highlighting the work that we do in the schools, we’re also honoring Ms. Shelly Yanoff, the former Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) with our Lighthouse Award for the wonderful work she has done on behalf of underprivileged children in Philadelphia. By all accounts, the event is shaping up to be a huge success thanks to the great work of Dr. Sue Oleszewski and her staff as well as the very generous support we’ve received from our many corporate sponsors. A very special thanks goes to National Vision, Inc., our title sponsor and to Essilor and Lindy Properties, our platinum sponsors. If you’d like to donate to the LOFK charity, please go to our website

On Monday, Salus hosted an interprofessional training seminar in preparation for the 2017 Veterans Readiness Initiative (VRI) screening events. The first screening will take place at Montgomery
County Community College on November 20. The VRI program was developed to provide multi-sensory screenings to veterans at local community colleges in an effort to identify potential vision, auditory and or vestibular issues they may have as a result of their service. If individuals are found to have problems we can initiate treatment plans and help to ensure these veterans have access to local VA clinics and providers.

Finally, as we approach this beautiful weekend, please keep those family members and friends who were affected by the awful attack in New York in your thoughts and prayers.