F Y EYE - The Official Newsletter of SUNY State College of Optometry
SUNY State College of Optometry
Issue 3 December 2007
F R O M   T H E   P R E S I D E N T

President's Letter                                                                         College building sketch

The waning days of December, while often obscured by the frenetic pace of  holiday preparations and gift giving, provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the contributions we make as a community to the public good.  At SUNY Optometry we should take great satisfaction that our giving is not limited to a few days a year, but that our services advance the quality of life for so many year round.  The 130,000 lives that we touch through our clinical education and patient care network each year are testimony to your commitment and dedication.
Our ultimate goal of advancing the visual health of the public is reflected in the care provided on a daily basis by our doctors, staff and students of the University Optometric Center.  The enhancement of vision is pursued by our dedicated research scientists, while care is provided worldwide by the nearly two thousand alumni of the College.
Through our cumulative efforts as a community, we not only educate future eye and health care providers, we help the world to see.  I encourage all to not only to embrace the giving spirit during the holiday season, but to also take pride in the gift of sight that we provide throughout the year.
David A. Heath, O.D., Ed.M.

M A I N   F E A T U R E
Creating A Campus For The Future
The College has begun its planning to transform some of its most public spaces to meet the needs of our students, patients and community for many years into the future.  The ground floor, the front half of the third floor, third floor mezzanine and second floor are all undergoing program analyses to provide the College with space which meets the demands of being a leader in contemporary optometric education.
The first of several sequential projects to get underway is the renovation of the College's ground floor.  The design intent is to create an environment that is effectively multi-functional and, broadly speaking, beautiful.  This floor not only supports education through its two lecture halls, but it is also the first point of contact for patients, and, indeed, serves as the face of the College and our profession.
An initial renovation of the ground floor was completed over seven years ago as part of the retrofit of 33 West 42nd Street for the College.  Design decisions at that time seemed to promise good aesthetic and practical outcomes.  The resulting glass block wall, lighting, wall coverings and restroom facilities have proven to be less than what is needed.  Indeed, the way in which people actually utilize and move through the ground floor space is also quite different from initial projections. 
To address these conditions, the College has initiated a program analysis study that will lead to an updated design for this critically important space.  R.M. Kliment & Frances Halsband, Architects have been engaged to perform this study.  "This will be a challenge as the limited amount of space serves many constituencies and must be designed in a manner that successfully blends each need", says Mr. David Bowers, Vice President for Administration and Finance.  Mr. Michael Nieminen, the architect's project manager, conducted interviews with individuals representing a broad mix of people and functions within the College.  In addition to College personnel, he interviewed representatives from the SUNY Center for Student Recruitment and the Director of SUNY Purchase College's Neuberger Museum of Art with whom we are currently negotiating an arrangement under which the Museum would have exhibition space.
In a few weeks, the study will be concluded at which time Kliment & Halsband will present a series of design concepts for the College administration's consideration.  What emerges from these concepts will then be moved into actual design and, ultimately, into construction.  This project offers significant opportunity to create a welcoming environment which enhances the image of the College while better meeting our program needs.
SUNY Optometry Emergency Alert Notification
The SUNY has put into effect an Emergency Alert Notification Program in order to prevent tragic events like those that have recently occurred on campuses like Virginia Tech and University of Baltimore.  The SUNY College of Optometry has adapted the program to fit this campus.  Faculty, staff and students have been asked to sign up so that they may be alerted of any life-threatening emergency on campus.  An instant message alert will be sent to all enrolled members of the College community in a timely manner. 
D I D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • That the SUNY College of Optometry graduating class of 2007 had a 100% "Ultimate Pass Rate" on their National Board Exam?  The ultimate pass rate reflects the percentage of the class that has passed all three parts of the National Board exams by graduation.  The national average is 91.6%.  Congratulations to the Class of 2007!
  • That approximately 1/3 of SUNY graduates complete post-graduate residency programs as opposed to 1/5 of graduates nationally.
  • An estimated 2.2 million Americans, age 40 and older, have glaucoma - - 1.9% of the 40 and older population. (Friedman et al., 2004)
F O C A L   P O I N T
APHA Vision Care Section
At the 135th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health in November, the Vision Care Section proposed two policy resolutions.  Dr. Mordechai Soroka, Professor at SUNY and newly elected Chair of the Vision Care Section, announced that both resolutions were passed and adopted by the APHA Governing Council and that these resolutions will now become official APHA policy.  The resolutions are:
"Preventing vision loss through smoking cessation"
This resolution recommends that the US Surgeon General add rotating warnings concerning the loss of vision and potential blindness to the packages of cigarette and tobacco products; educate clinicians on the evidence that links smoking to eye disease, and to encourage insurance companies to provide coverage for smoking cessation.
"Eyecare in disaster preparedness"
The resolution recommends the inclusion of eyecare professionals in the disaster planning process; the development of a first aid manual for the eye and to encourage participation in eye injury registries.
As Dr. Soroka assumes the position of Chair, his goal is to engage the Vision Care Section to engage in a number of projects that will be directed to clinicians and the visual welfare of patients, as well as, to state and federal legislative efforts.  He indicated that the final wording of the policy resolutions will be available by January 2008.  The APHA meeting had 14,000 health care professionals in attendance.
COVD Awards Presented to Two SUNY Faculty
Each year the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) honors optometrists who have demonstrated exemplary performance and support for the field of developmental optometry.  This year, at the annual meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida, two members of SUNY's faculty were presented with this honor.  Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda, Professor, Department of Vision Sciences, was awarded the A.M. Skeffington Award which is given to the COVD Fellow who has made outstanding contributions to optometric literature in the areas of vision therapy and vision development.  Dr. Harold Solan, Professor Emeritus, was awarded the G.N. Getman Award.  This award is given to an optometrist, oriented to vision development with clinical expertise and application in office structure and professional activity.

Lavelle Fund For The Blind Grant Received
The Optometric Center of New York received a grant from the Lavelle Fund for $72,000 as the second installment of a three-year $177,000 grant to support comprehensive eye exams for pre-schoolers who fail vision screenings provided by Helen Keller International.  This most recent grant is a part of more than $700,000 received from the Lavelle Fund in the past five years.
UOC and the Children's Aid Society Collaborate
The Children's Aid Society and the University Optometric Center have collaborated to provide comprhensive eye and vision care to community school children.  The Society is an organization that provides adoptive, foster care, health and education services to underserved children and families in New York City.  Starting this month, children who fail a vision screening conducted by Helen Keller International's ChildSight Program at select community schools, will be referred to the UOC for follow-up care.  The partnership with the Children's Aid Society will help to provide this needed service.
UOC Installs Electronic Eligibility Verification System 

The University Optometric Center has activated the electronic eligibility module within its Practice Management System, GE Centricity Business (formerly known as IDX Flowcast).  the module is currently configured to send an eligibility request five days prior to the patient's appointment date.  Currently, the UOC utilizes the system for the following carriers, Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross, Aetna, US Healthcare, Oxford, Cigna, PHS and United Healthcare.  Hours of follow-up are saved with the new system.  Minutes of retrieval have been reduced to seconds.  Mr. Michael Ochlan states that the increased efficiency verification of the UOC also captures additional information that is needed to assist in the billing process.
Students Receive Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK) Grants
Three SUNY Optometry students have been awarded grants from BSK.  Hoi (Zoe) Leung, '10 and Shephali Patel, '10 were awarded $1,000 for their project "The Early Detection of Glaucoma:  Measuring Differential Visual Latency With a Simultaneity Paradigm".  Working with Dr. Steven Schwartz, a new program was designed to detect differential changes in the superior and inferior retina which could potentially assist in detecting glaucoma at an earlier stage.
Elizabeth Wickware, '10, working with Dr. Mark Rosenfield, received $200 for her project entitled "Effects of Prisms on Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)".  CVS has become more common and this study examines whether inducing exo-fixation disparity with prisms will reduce the symptoms associated with CVS.
Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK) is an international optometric honor society that provides funds to student research through their Student Research Grant Program.  Students can receive up to $1,000 in grant money.  Approximately 10 to 15 grants are awarded each year.  Congratulations to everyone on a job well done!
Scholarly Works & Publications
Cohen, E.H. and Zaidi, Q (2007).  Fundamental failures of shape constancy resulting from cortical anisotropy.  Journal of Neuroscience 27(46), 12540-12545.
Kitano, A., Saika, S., Yamanaka, O., Ikeda, K., Okada, Y., Shirai, K. and Reinach, P.S. (2007).  Emodin suppression of ocular surface inflammatory reaction.  Invest. Ophthalmol Vis Sci 48(11), 5013-5022.
Capo-Aponte, J.E., Want, Z., Akinci, M.A., Wolosin, J.M., Pokorny, K.S., Iserovish, P., Reinach, P.S. (2007).  Potassium-chloride cotransporter mediates cell cycle progression and proliferation of human corneal epithelial cells.  Cell Cycle 6(21), 2709-2718.
Zhang, F., Yang, H., Wang, Z., Mergler, S., Liui, H., Kawakita, T., Tachado, S.D., Pan, Z., Capo-Aponte, J.E., Pleyer, U., Koziel, H., Kao, W.W., Reinach, P.S. (2007).  Transient receptor potential vannilloid 1 activation induces inflammatory cytokine release in corneal epithelium through MAPK signaling.  J Cell Physiol 213(3), 730-739.


M O R E   O N   U S

Alum Awarded Diplomate Status by AAO

At the annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) held in Tampa, Florida this past October, Joseph Stamm, O.D., F.A.A.O., was awarded the first-ever Clinical Diplomate in Refractive Technology in the Cornea and Contact Lens Section.  Diplomate standing is awarded to Fellows of the Academy who have demonstrated a required level of knowledge and expertise in all phases of the respective field.  Dr. Stamm is a 1982 graduate of SUNY and became a Fellow of the Academy in 1987.  Currently, he is Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Rochester Eye Institute and works with the Eye Institute's Strong Vision Refractive Surgical Center.  Prior to joining U of R, he was in private practice in Rochester, New York.  Joe is a former President of the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA) and lectures widely on topics in the area of refractive surgery.

Personnel Notes

ArthurE_smallDr. Arthur Eisenberg has joined the staff of the College as the new Grant Administrator.  His starting date was December 13th.  Dr. Eisenberg brings to this new position years of experience in research administration; pre- and post- grant awards, as well as experience in teaching and research.  Trained in microbiology, he holds a B.S. from Cornell University, a Ph.D. from Michigan State University and a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester.  His most recent position was Administrator, Office of Grants and Research Administration at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, Institute for Health Sciences.  The Hospital Center is an affiliation of Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.  In addition, he worked for the Council for Tobacco Research in New York City as Associate Research Director and Research Scholar Program Director and as the Microbiology Section Head, Department of Oral Biology at the Eastman Dental Center, University of Rochester.  We welcome Dr. Eisenberg to the SUNY Optometry family.  His office is Room 928 and can be reached at 212-938-4159.

Ms. Joyce Stelmack, Assistant to the President, will retire as of December 21, 2007.  Joyce has been with the College for 14 years and during that time proven herself to be a tremendous asset to our community.  Although she is "retiring" from the College, Joyce is taking on a full-time position of providing care for her new granddaughter, Lucy, who was born in September.  We wish her all the best in the future.

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