F Y EYE - The Official Newsletter of SUNY State College of Optometry
SUNY State College of Optometry
Issue 1 October 2007
F R O M   T H E   P R E S I D E N T
President's Letter

Photo of Dr. HeathI am pleased to introduce to the community, the SUNY State College of Optometry's electronic newsletter, FY Eye.   FY Eye will be distributed monthly and is intended to share with you updates on our activities, programs and accomplishments.

Since assuming the position of president this past June, I have been continually impressed by the commitment of our students, faculty, staff and administration, but have also realized how often significant achievements go unnoticed.  Through education, research and patient care, the SUNY State College of Optometry not only serves New York, but has an impact on the advancement of visual health and education globally.

I have little doubt that each month, when you receive FY Eye, you will be impressed with the diversity of our programs, the innovative character of the college community and positive effect SUNY Optometry has on the lives of our students and the people of New York.

David A. Heath, O.D., Ed.M.

M A I N   F E A T U R E
Class of 2011 Welcome to the Class of 2011

On August 16th, The College of Optometry welcomed seventy-two new students to the Doctor of Optometry Program.  In addition to typical orientation activities, the College conducted its annual "White Coat Ceremony" for the new students, signifying their entry into the profession and emphasizing their ethical obligations as health care providers.  The College's faculty participated in the ceremony helping each student put on their white coat.

The Class of 2011 is a highly talented group of individuals, selected from a pool of 575 applications, 23% of which were offered admission.  The Class with an average undergraduate grade point average of 3.46, represent diverse backgrounds, with approximately 50% being New York State residents, 8% international, and 6% from under-represented minorities.  The majority (75%) of new students are women.

D I D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • This year's entering class, the Class of 2011, had an average Total Science (TS) score on the Optometric Admissions Test (OAT) of 361.  In 2006, the TS average of all students accepted into optometry programs nationally was 329.

  • The University Optometric Center increased its number of patient encounters last year by 6.2%, for a total of 69,582.

  • The College's research community attracted $2,446,500 in extramural support during the 2007 Academic Year.
F O C A L   P O I N T
UOC Receives Contract with NYC Department of Education

The University Optometric Center (UOC) has been awarded a contract with the New York City Department of Education to provide optometric assessments and evaluations of students in the public school system.  This begins the sixth consecutive three-year term for the UOC to conduct these assessments.  The UOC is the only vendor awarded a contract for optometric evaluations during this term.

Dr. Andrea Thau Elected to Board of the AOA

At the 110th Annual AOA Congress & 37th AOSA Conference in June, delegates elected Dr. Andrea Thau to the Board of Trustees of the American Optometric Association.  As a Trustee, she serves as liaison to the AOA Clinical Care Group, Neurological Optometric Rehabilitation Association and is affiliate to the state associations of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Dr. Thau is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) as well as a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Therapy.  She is an alumna of the College where she has been on faculty since graduation as an associate clinical professor and former chair of the Admissions Committee.

Prior to her election to the AOA Board, she served as president of the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA), the first woman president in its 106-year history.  She is a past president, and the first woman president, of the New York Academy of Optometry where she currently serves as membership chair.  Dr. Thau is a past president of the Optometric Society of the City of New York (OSCONY) where she, too, was the first woman president.  In fact, Dr. Thau served concurrently as president of the New York Academy; president of OSCONY and as an officer of the NYSOA.

Richard Soden, O.D. Named College Vice President

Richard Soden, O.D. was recently named Vice President for Clinical Affairs by Dr. David A. Heath, President of the SUNY College of Optometry. Dr. Soden will oversee the operations of  the University Optometric Center, the patient care facility of the College

"I am absolutely thrilled that Dr. Soden has accepted the position of Vice President for Clinical Affairs and Executive Director of the University Optometric Center," said Dr. Heath. "Dr. Soden will bring strong leadership to our patient care programs, an in-depth knowledge of contemporary health care management systems and 25 years of clinical practice and optometric education."

A 1979 graduate of the College, Dr. Soden has had a long and distinguished career as Associate Chief of Optometry Service at the VA Medical Center in Northport, NY where he supervised residents, interns and students. He also has a private practice in Lake Ronkonkoma, NY. He is a certified Low Vision Practitioner and well-known author in the area of Third Party Reimbursement. Dr. Soden is also a former president of the New York State Optometric Association.

Foundation Receives Grant From Lavelle Fund

The Optometric Center of New York was recently awarded a one-year grant of $129,000 from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind.  The grant is an extension of an earlier three-year grant of $400,000 to support psycho-educational testing for learning disabled children.  This part of the battery of testing is not covered by insurance.

Thus far, 340 children completed the entire battery of testing.

DrHeath ASCO Award Presented to Drs. Heath and Sharre

President David Heath, O.D., Ed.M., is one of two 2007 recipients of the Dr. Jack Bennett Innovation in Optometric Education Award. The other recipient is Dr. Janice Sharre, Professor of Pediatrics at the Illinois College of Optometry.

Dr. Heath was co-chair of ASCO's first Faculty Development Institute which was held in July 2000. It brought together new faculty from all the schools and colleges of optometry for four days of training in teaching and learning; scholarship; and academic culture/leadership.  He also served as co-chair for the second Faculty Development Institute this past July. This is the second time Dr. Heath has received this award.

The award was presented by ASCO's President, Dr. John F. Amos, during the ASCO Annual Luncheon in Boston and is named for Dr. Jack Bennett, who served successively as dean at three optometry schools before his premature death in 2000.

Sponsored Research

Sponsored research activity for the college this past year ('06-'07) was almost $2.5 million in total dollars, an increase of about $0.5 million over '05-'06. Of that amount approximately $0.75 million was recovered by the college and is being used to support the college's infrastructure and support staff related to research.


Scholarly Works & Publications


Bass, SJ, Cooper, J., Feldman, J. and Horn, D. "Comparison of an Automated Confrontation Testing Device Versus Finger Counting in the Detection of Field Loss", Optometry, Vol. 78, No. 8, pp. 390-395, 2007.

Ciuffreda, KJ and Kapoor, N.  "Oculomotor Dysfunctions, Their Remediation, and Reading-Related Problems in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury", Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 72-77, 2007.

At the American Academy of Optometry this October, Dr. Mitchell Dul, along with Dr. William Swanson, will present a paper on the "Discordance Between Functional and Structural Measures of Glaucoma in Various Stages of the Disease"; Dr. Mark Sherstinsky will present a poster with his co-authors, Dr. Elaina Moyshelis and Dr. Mitchell Dul on "Prevalence of Ocular and Systemic Disease in St. Vincent and the Grenadines Population", and a poster on "Retinal Asymmetry in Patients with Glaucoma: Comparison of Pupillary Light Reflex and Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness" will be presented by Dr. Harry Wyatt, Dr. Heather McCleod, Dr. Richard Madonna, Dr. Mitchell Dul and Dr. William Swanson.  Congratulations to everyone.


Grants and Awards


Four new research grants were awarded this fiscal year.  One was for $1.5 million over five years to Jose Alonso, M.D., Ph.D. from the National Eye Institute (NEI) for "Functional connectivity in the primary visual cortex."  Mitchell Dul O.D. M.S. received an award of $1 million over two years for his project entitled "Provision of emergency eye care in a large urban setting."  Peter Reinach, Ph.D. received an award from Resolvyx Pharmaceutical for approximately $50,000 to support corneal cell research.  Ken Ciuffreda, O.D.,Ph.D. received an award from COVD for approximately $20,000 to support research on transient myopia.  Along with these new grants, multi-year sponsored research continued with grants awarded to Drs. Qasim Zaidi (NEI: Neural basis of shape from texture; NEI: Mechanisms of color detection induction and adaptation); Peter Reinach (NEI: Control of corneal epithelial cell proliferation); Miduru Srinivas (NEI: Specific and selective gap junction blockers);  Barry Lee (NEI: Information transfer through ganglion cells); Mitchell Dul (Ciba vision: Glaucoma Institute);  Robert Sack (Ciba vision: Tear film chemistry);  Harry Wyatt (NEI consortium: Application of physical models to visual disorders); Jeffrey Cooper (NEI Clinical trial: Convergence insufficiency treatment trial); and Robert Duckman (NEI subcontract: Amblyopia treatment trial).

Graduate Program in Vision Science

The graduate program continues to excel, reports Dr. Jerome Feldman. In June 2007, there were two Ph.D. and five M.S. degrees awarded.  This Fall, there will be eight full-time graduate students, six part-time students, one OD./Ph.D. student, and 24 O.D./M.S. students. 

M O R E   O N   U S

The Residency Class of 2007 gather together during the Farewell Luncheon celebration of the completion of their year of hard work.  Front Row:  Jennifer Marques, Karen  Perekalsky, Louie Le, Maria Mandese, Heather McLeod, Richard Jun.  Second Row:  Veranika Sherman, Cristina Llerena, Bunthay Chorn, Lisa Modesto, Daniele Jean, Jae Song.  Third Row:  Eliza Yaghoubian, Lauren Lanigan, Irina Fazio, Andrea Camp, Reena Narula, May Chung, Nancy Shenouda, Jae Han, Ellie patounas, Shelly Agarwal, Garley Leon, Diane Adamczyk (Residency Director).  Back Row:  Jeff Taranto, Monica Bhasin, Megan Draper, Katie Marindale.Residency News

The 2006-2007 Residency Class had a successful year.  Twenty-seven residents received Advanced Clinical Competency Certificates at the completion of their programs.  Fifteen residents participated in SUNY-based programs and twelve residents participated in affiliated programs at the VA and West Point.  Certificates were awarded to the residents by their supervisors at the residents' farewell luncheon.  We wish them the best in their future endeavors.

The 2007-2008 Residency Class began on July 1 and is the largest residency class in SUNY Optometry's history (and one of the largest in the country).  We welcome 30 new residents who come from a variety of schools including Indiana University, New England College of Optometry, Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Southern California College of Optometry, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of California at Berkeley and, of course, SUNY State College of Optometry.  This year's class includes 16 residents in SUNY-based programs and 14 in affiliated programs.  We look forward to a productive year.

All SUNY residency programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association.  In April, the residency program at Keller Army Hospital/West Point had its seven year ACOE site visit.  It received full accreditation status that accompanied a very positive report.  Congratulations.

Personnel Notes

Welcome to Pamela Lederman who joined the College July 16, 2007 as Associate Director of Development in the Office of Institutional Advancement.  Prior to joining SUNY, Pam held fundraising positions at the Foundation Fighting Blindness; amfAR; the Foundation for AIDS Research; Lighthouse International and Girl Scouts of the USA.  Pam will be working primarily on developing and submitting grants to corporations and foundations.

Dr. Heather McCloud, Dr. Jennifer Marques, Dr. Megan Draper and Dr. Christina Llerna completed their residency programs at SUNY this past June.  Dr. McCloud joined SUNY's clinical faculty in August.  Dr. Marques will also join SUNY as a part-time faculty at New York University.  Dr. Draper has joined the Pediatric unit on a part-time basis.  As a part-time faculty member, Dr. Llerma will be at Woodhull Medical Center and the UOC's Pediatrics unit.

Good luck and best wishes to the following faculty members who retired this year:

    Dr. Alan Innes, Associate Clinical Professor
    Dr. Joseph Viviano, Assistant Clinical Professor
    Dr. Harry Wyatt, Distinguished Teaching Professor

We thank them for their dedication and many years of service to the College and its clinics.

Copyright 2007, SUNY State College of Optometry, All rights reserved.
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