Friday, February 23, 2018

Upcoming International Travels: Week of February 27th

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

Greetings from a soggy, cold Elkins Park. Most of you might have noticed I was not on campus for much of the week and I am writing this from home as I was one of the “lucky" recipients of the flu. Good news is I’m pretty much on the mend but didn’t want to risk spreading this around.  

From our College of Education and Rehabilitation, Dr. Fabiana Perla presented a lecture at Moss Rehab’s Drucker Brain Injury Center Education Series entitled, “O&M Specialists: Who We Are, What We Do, and Why We Should Work Together.” The multidisciplinary audience included occupational, physical and speech-language pathology therapists and psychologists. Today Dr. Perla will be speaking at Penn State Abington to undergraduate students on "Regaining Mobility: Education and Rehabilitation for Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals." BLVS has an ongoing partnership with Penn State Abington's Electrical Engineering and Psychological and Social Sciences Departments. 

Drs. Scharre and Vitek are off to Taiwan today where they will be meeting with representatives from the nation's only optometry school. The school is interested in pursuing our Master of Science in Clinical Optometry degree, so this is the next step to determine how best to facilitate this. From there they will head to Shanghai, China, via Japan, to celebrate the accomplishments of our growing Chinese alumni base and most recent graduates. I’m looking forward to joining them for the festivities in Shanghai next week. 

As most of you know we’ve begun the search to find a new provost due to Dr. Scharre’s impending retirement. The search committee, under Dr. Mitchell Scheiman’s leadership, met for the first time this week and will now begin the process in earnest.  Search firm, Issacson-Miller has been contracted to assist us in this most important endeavor. I will keep you updated as the process continues.  

If you were on campus today and walked by the University's board room you might have noticed what looked like a radio show being produced. Well, if that’s what you thought, you were correct. Staffers from Executive Leadership Radio are on campus to produce a Salus-centric show featuring some of our Board of Trustee members to include Ms. Jane  Scaccetti, Mr. Chris Dezzi and Mr. Chip Marshall.  Also on the guest list is Richard DiPiano, Jr. son of Salus Board member Richard DiPiano, Sr. I am really disappointed that I couldn’t make it! As soon as we have the dates when this will be aired, we will share it with everyone.

As we approach the weekend, please continue to respect each other and take the time to spend with family and friends to reflect on all the good things that we have to be thankful for. For those studying for boards, keep at it!



Friday, February 16, 2018

Lombardi Tour: Week of February 16th, 2018

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

Last Sunday we hosted the 3rd stop of the new infamous “Lombardi Farewell Tour” on campus. Celebrating Dr. Lombardi’s over 50 years of service to PCO and Salus, the “Tour” brings together top names in optometric continuing education to provide a world class program to alumni, staff and other optometrists who attended. This event, which brought over 130 OD’s to the Elkins Park campus, was the largest. Lectures by Drs. Kelly Malloy, Len Messner, Carlo Pelino, and of course, Dr. Lorraine Lombardi were the center piece of the event. Following 6 hours of absolutely fantastic continuing education (you usually don’t see fantastic and CE in the same sentence), we hosted a reception where Dr. Lombardi’s former students shared some funny as well as heart-felt stories about their interactions with Lorraine and how she helped to shape their careers. It was a wonderful event. Special thanks to our lecturers and CE department as well as Dr. Sue Oleszewski who thought of the idea of the tour. In addition to the CE tour, the University will also be dedicating a classroom to Dr. Lombardi this May. Dr. O. has been leading the way to raise funds to help cover the costs of what will become the "Lombardi Classroom" on the third floor of the south building. 

The university will be hosting a Research Seminar later today from 12 -1pm in the University Boardroom in the West building on the 4th floor. Seminar presenters have been Salus University faculty members and graduate students as well as visiting lecturers from other departments, universities, research facilities, private practices, industry, etc. Topics may be your own research, review a specific field, or a research proposal. Presentations may be 35-45 mins followed by 10-20 minutes of discussion. Today, Saeed Al Johni will be presenting an educational cartoon video to improve compliance with the Amblyz glasses and Brianna Brim will be discussing Scapular Function and its Relation to Elbow Pain. If you are on campus I would encourage you to attend.

Speaking of lectures, next Friday Dr. James Lewis, an ophthalmologist who works closely with our students and staff at The Eye Institute and also has an office on the Elkins Park campus will be our Grand Rounds speaker covering “Compounded Drops.” If you haven’t heard Dr. Lewis lecture before, you’re in for a real treat - and you’ll learn a great deal. Grand Rounds are held at The Eye Institute from 7:30 - 8:30 and a light breakfast is generally provided. Optometrists receive COPE approved CE credits for the lectures.

On Wednesday we celebrated Valentine’s Day. In the spirit of that Hallmark Holiday, our communications staff has put together a very nice article on staff and alumni as it relates to Valentine’s Day. Click here to check out some of the stories that were posted.

This week we’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of The Eye Institute’s Norristown satellite. This has been a great partnership with a Federally Qualified Health Clinic in Norristown, the Montogomery County seat, that provides care for many underprivileged patients.   

Last year we hosted the first Community Expressions Art Exhibition in our D’Arrigo Family Art Gallery in the Hafter Center representing the work of students, faculty, administrators, staff and immediate family over the age of 18. The response was great and the reception was a wonderful opportunity to meet other members of the Salus community. So, we’ve decided to do it again! This year the show dates will be February 27th - April 1st. There will be an opening reception on March 5th between 5 - 7pm, so be sure to put that on your calendars. I’m looking forward to seeing more Salus talent again!  

Once again, I am asking you to provide prayers to those who lost loved ones and were injured as our country suffered yet another tragic mass shooting, this time at a high school in Florida. This heinous, cowardly act took the lives of 17 innocent people. I am not ashamed to share that I am feeling extreme sorrow but also anger at what has happened and has been happening in our country. I suspect that many of you may be experiencing the same feelings. If so, I would highly encourage you to seek out our counseling services, if for nothing more, just to express your feelings and emotions to a trained professional. As health care providers, we’ll often be the ones who our patients lean on. It’s okay for us to lean on someone as well. These types of feelings are normal following such an event and I strongly encourage you to talk about them with others.  

We take everyone’s safety at Salus very seriously. Within the next couple of weeks we will be providing refresher training on what would need to be done in the case of an active shooter. While not a pleasant subject to write about, it has, very unfortunately, become a necessary task and a sign of our times.  

I hope you have a safe and restful weekend and have the opportunity to spend some time with your friends and family and even watch some of the Olympics.  


Friday, February 9, 2018

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

What a week this has been - with our Eagles winning the Super Bowl last Sunday I think everyone around here started the week off a bit sleep deprived! Still, that doesn’t stop great things from happening around Salus.  

On Monday, our newly renovated, expanded and aptly renamed College of Education and Rehabilitation (CER) Lab was unveiled to the University community during a
ribbon-cutting ceremony. The ceremony was attended by interim dean Dr. Barbara Schwartz-Bechet and program directors Dr. Lauren Sponseller, chair of our Occupational Therapy program, Dr. Kathleen Youse, chair of our Speech-Language Pathology program and Dr. Fabiana Perla, chair of the Blindness and Low Vision Studies program. Additionally, our provost, Dr. Janice Scharre, chief of staff, Brian Zuckerman and our new VP for Institutional Advancement, Dennis Washington, along with many CER staff also attended the ceremony. The new facility is double the size of the original Independent Living Skills Lab and will now be utilized by all programs within the College of Education and Rehabilitation.  

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, the Pennsylvania Ear Institute (PEI) wants to ensure you can hear everything your significant other might be whispering to you. Approximately 37.5 million American adults report difficulty hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).  Generally, hearing loss develops gradually and many people may not be aware they have a problem until after it has been affecting their communication for years.  “The key to happiness in a relationship is good communication,” said Bre Myers, AuD, assistant professor, Salus University Osborne College of Audiology. “If one person has hearing difficulty, it could cause misunderstandings or the perception that their loved one is ignoring them. When you want to speak to your loved one, make sure you get their attention, and be patient.  If need be, move to a less noisy location.”  

PEI has launched “For the Love of Hearing” in time for Valentine’s Day, offering a choice of complimentary accessories for any hearing aid purchase made before February 14 (up to a $500 value) to make sure special sentiments from those who matter most are not missed. 

Please join me in congratulating Spencer Lin, a student in the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry’s Class of 2019 upon receiving the Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship which is presented annually by the American Optometric Association (AOA) and Optometry Cares, AOA’s Foundation.  Spencer was one of eight applicants nationwide chosen for the award.  We’ve extremely proud of him and his accomplishment!

This coming Sunday we will be hosting one of several “Lombardi Farewell Tour” CE lectures on the Elkins Park campus. CE begins at 8:30 a.m. in room S300 and will be followed by a reception at 3:30 p.m. honoring Dr. Lombardi, who will be retiring after 50 years of service to the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and Salus. Please come to acknowledge Lorraine’s service and thank her for her many years of teaching excellence. For more information on this, please follow this link.

Finally, there’s no football this weekend. Take some time to recover from this past week’s activities and come back to campus recharged and ready to hit the books and your classes in stride. Be safe and study hard!


Friday, February 2, 2018

Snowy February: Week of February 2nd

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

I guess it’s fitting that as I write this note on the second day of February that it’s snowing outside. It’s been another busy week at Salus.

We began this week hosting our annual and quarterly Board of Trustees meeting. As always, this presents an opportunity for the staff to highlight many of their accomplishments to the Board while at the same time listening or participating in strategic discussions that will help to maintain the University’s position as a top-tiered health science professions university. During my report I shared that our PA, OT and SLP programs all enjoyed a 100% pass rate on their national board certification exams while our audiology program enjoyed a 96% pass rate. Our overall pass-rate for the optometry program was about 85%. We also welcomed four new board members, all of whom previously served as committee members to the board. They include, Sarah Mitchell, Rebecca Delia, Michele Palos-Samsi and Terri Albertson. A highlight of the meeting was a presentation by Salus board member Reade Fahs who described the current state of the ophthalmic industry and what he described as disruptive technologies that could potentially affect the way optometric care is provided in the future.  It was quite thought provoking and something we need to follow closely.  Finally, the Board approved Faculty Emeritus status for Dr. Sue Oleszewski and for Dr. Lorraine Lombardi to receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree during the May commencement ceremony at which she will also be our keynote speaker.  

On Tuesday we hosted Col. Robert DeSousa, the State Director for Senator Patrick Toomey and Imani Johnson, Senator Toomey’s Field Representative for our region. The express purpose of the visit was to help educate the Senator’s staff about our Veteran’s Readiness Initiative, spearheaded by Dr. Karen Hansen, and all the other programs we are providing both internally and externally to our local community.  Both Col. DeSousa and Ms. Johnson left with newfound knowledge of what Salus does and how we provide much needed services to our veterans, local community and patients throughout Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. I’m hopeful this will help to enhance our visibility on the local and national stage. 

Speaking of expanding our visibility on the national stage, I am thrilled to share news that our own Dr. Martin Peinkowski from the Osborne College of Audiology will be recognized at the 2018 American Auditory Society meeting as their 2018 recipient of the Ear and Hearing Editors’ Award for his article, "On the Etiology of Listening Difficulties in Noise Despite Clinically Normal Audiograms.” Each year the Editorial Board members select an Ear and Hearing article to be recognized for its outstanding contribution to the literature on hearing and balance and this year Martin’s article was the winner.  We’re extremely proud of this great professional accomplishment.

On Wednesday, Dr. Scharre and I met with our counterparts at Rosemont College to discuss areas where we could collaborate. Rosemont has one of the finest biology and pre-med programs in the region and their president and provost are extremely interested in developing educational pipelines to many of our programs. Working closely with regional colleges and universities helps to ensure we continue to have a strong applicant pool for all of our programs.

I have some sad news to report this week.  Many of us who are PCO alumni or faculty might remember Najee Ali who was an optician in The Eye Institute during the 70’s and early 80’s.  A great teacher and professional, he also helped to organize many trips to developing and third world countries to provide the poor with free eye examinations and glasses. Most of us remember Najee for his infectious smile, his wisdom, unique sense of humor and love of his family and those he considered family.  Najee passed away last week and was remembered during a memorial service earlier this week that was attended by many Salus/PCO staff members. Please keep Najee’s family in your thoughts and prayers.

As some of you know, I am enrolled in an MBA program at Temple University. I am currently taking a course in Management Information Systems which is being taught by the current Vice President for Information Technology at a large pharmaceutical corporation. The primary focus of our course to date has not been on specific systems but rather on disruptive technologies that have often put household name companies out of business. We just completed a case study of Kodak, which is the classic case of a company that had all the tools to compete well into the 21st century, but due to many factors were unable to pivot and adapt from a film-based business to digital photography and leverage that technology. What most folks don’t realize is that Kodak actually invented the first digital camera but because they were so steeped in the belief that film would remain the primary way to save and share memories, they were not able to successfully embrace the digital revolution. While you may not think this is directly related to what we do here at Salus, it does highlight the importance of always being prepared for what might be the next “disrupter” affecting our professions. That’s the purpose of strategic planning and scenario planning, two functions we are actively taking on at Salus.  

Finally, it’s Super Bowl weekend!  As our Eagles get ready to take on the New England Patriots in Minneapolis, I want to wish everyone a safe and fun weekend. If you’re out and about for the big game on Sunday, please be careful. If you drink, don’t drive and if you’re in the city, please pay attention to your surroundings as I suspect things will get very exciting when the Eagles win.