F Y EYE - The Official Newsletter of SUNY State College of Optometry
SUNY State College of Optometry
Issue 11 October 2008
P R E S I D E N T ' S    L E T T E R
President David HeathWhile much of what we communicate in FY EYE is uplifting and points to the successes of our community, we must from time to time also highlight the challenges ahead.  Governor Patterson recently announced new projections that indicate that the State of New York faces a potential $47 billion budget deficit over the next four years:  The largest in State history.  Recession, depression, market volatility, losses in our 401Ks, bailout bills and layoffs - each day, the news brings a greater sense of uncertainty and insecurity.
Over the past eight months, the State University of New York has correspondingly experienced a series of budget cuts and it is apparent that more will come.  Public university campuses nationwide have had to be increasingly creative in the development of new revenue streams and been disciplined in their use of resources.  This trend was apparent before the current economic downturn, but it is, as a result, now a critical challenge for all SUNY campuses.  The percentage of direct taxpayer support for higher education has declined and for the SUNY College of Optometry, it currently represents approximately forty percent of our all-funds operating budget.  In addition to decreases in direct State support, we are also challenged by increasing competition for research and health care dollars.
The College has been able to adapt during the current budget cycle through spending restraint, not filling some positions as vacancies have arisen, a commitment to increasing non-State revenues and the judicious use of reserves.  The recent approval of our strategic plan, "A Shared Vision", becomes more crucial to our long term well-being under these circumstances.
During the coming months (and perhaps years) we will need to be vigilant, focusing resources on our strategic priorities, and innovative in our efforts to replace lost State dollars.  We must embrace the value of collaboration and maintain our commitment to our most valuable resource - our students, staff and faculty.
In spite of the environment, if we continue in our dedication to our mission and goals, we will continue to thrive and conduct programs marked by their quality.  Indeed, it is often in times of great challenge that we find great opportunity. 
M A I N   F E A T U R E

David A. Heath, O.D., Ed.M. Installed as SUNY Optometry's 3rd President

Trustee Cox, President Heath, Chancellor ClarkOn September 25, 2008, Dr. David A. Heath was installed as the College of Optometry's 3rd President.  Held at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, the event was attended by over 300 people that included close family and friends, Inauguration Processionfaculty, staff, members of the College Council. trustees of the College foundation, officers of the NYSOA, the Chancellor, representatives of the SUNY Board of Trustees, State legislators, representatives of the AOA and Presidents and Deans of ASCO and friends of the College.
Interim Chancellor Clark, Mrs. Stone, President HeathIn his inaugural speech, Dr. Heath committed that the College community "...will serve the growing needs of the people of New York State and beyond".  During the 37 years of the College's existence, the institution was led by Dr. Alden N. Haffner, it's founding president, and by Dr. Edward R. Johnston to whom Dr. Heath expressed gratitude for their service.  A special mention was given to Dr. David A. HeathInterim Chancellor John Clark and Mr. David Bowers, who served as Interim President and Officer-In-Charge, respectively.  Dr. Heath spoke of the history of the College; its environment and the challenges ahead.  The new strategic plan, "A Shared Vision", focusses on educating tomorrow's leaders in the field of vision care in the areas of education, research, patient care, international optometry, student life and its position within the State University of New York.
Mr. Phenolt & Ms. HarrisDr. Heath likened the College community to a passage in a booklet on the Mendenhall Glacier that his wife, Jeannine, picked up for her father, while the family was vacationing in Alaska.  "...spend time in its presence Mr. Hal Spielman, Interim Chancellor John Clarkand you'll hear its many voices.  The ice sizzles, groans, roars and crackles.  It's rarely quiet, and never silent.  ....At a quick glance, [the glacier] may seem just a pile of ice, enormous, but static.  It's not.  It's an incredibly dynamic force:  noisy, changeable...and powerful enough to carve mountains."
A reception immediately followed where all were able to meet, greet and congratulate President Heath.
DI D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • Only 2% of graduating medical students are planning careers in primary care internal medicine.  This trend increases concerns that there will not be enough physicians to care for our aging population. (The Nations Health, APHA, November 2008)
  • The number of ophthalmologists is projected to grow by only 1-2% over the next twenty years.  Care for the increasing number of patients with ocular conditions associated with aging will fall to optometrists.  (US Department of Labor, US Department of Health, Education & Welfare, and Review of Ophthalmology)
  • The Class of 2010, as first-time takers of Part 1 (Basic Science) of the National Board of Examination in Optometry this past August, had a pass rate of 96%.  The national pass rate for first-time takers was 84%.  These pass rates match last year's.
  • In the 2008 fiscal year, the College's foundation, The Optometric Center of New York, provided $348,931 in total support for patient care and the University Optometric Center's community service programs.  Care for the indigent and the homebound were among the programs receiving foundation support.
Dr. Barry LeeDr. Barry Lee is a member of the Department of Biological Sciences.  He joined the College in 2000 from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Chemistry in Gottingen, Germany, where he was a Senior Scientist and Group Leader.  Dr. Lee  graduated from the University of Oxford and received his Ph.D. from University College in London.  Over his career, he has pursued scientific projects in diverse surroundings, ranging from Seattle to Melbourne to the tropical rain forests of South America.
His research has concentrated on the anatomy and physiology of the color vision in the primate retina and its function in health and disease.  Color vision in human and most non-human primates is based on three types of cone photoreceptor providing trichromatic color vision, but there are subtle differences in some primate species that give them dichromatic color vision. Dr. Lee's research has taken advantage of these differences and using a comparative biology approach has endeavored to explain how and why trichromatic color vision evolved in humans.  Dr. Lee's laboratory has also made unique advances in linking cell behavior in primate retina with human perception on psychophysical tasks, ranging from the perception of form and movement to the discrimination of different colors.  His research has helped explain the physiological basis for several clinical tests for retinal diseases allowing more accurate interpretations of clinical results.
Dr. Lee has been the recipient of the Rank Prize for Optoelectronics (2004, with D. Dacey, J. Pokorny and Vivianne Smith) and the Verriest Medal of the International Colour Vision Society, as well as other distinctions and awards.  He is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  
International Externships - China
Lacey Dustin '09 examines patient at Wenzhou Eye HospitalSUNY College of Optometry sent its first students on an international externship with its new affiliation with The Ophthalmology and Optometry Hospital of the Wenzhou Medical College located in Wenzhou, Zheijiang Province, China.  This past June, the first two of eight fourth-year students participated at this externship site where they had an opportunity to work in and see patients in the various services at the hospital.  Approximately 240,000 outpatient visits and 6,000 inpatient visits are recorded at Wenzhou Eye Hospital.  In July, Dr. Diane Adamczyk, Director of Residency Education,Robin Hauck '09 on externship in Wenzhou, China visited the hospital, its various clinics and supervised the students in the Primary Care Clinic.  Her stay in China included a visit to the Eye Service at the Second Affiliated Hospital at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, another affiliate site with SUNY College of Optometry.   
Dr. Milton Katz
was awarded a U.S. Patent for "Devices and Methods for Providing Wide Field Magnification".  The invention is also patented by The Republic of China (Taiwan).
Nehmad, L.  "What are the Challenges to Encouraging Student Development of Critical Thinking Skills in the Optometric Educational Environment and How can The Challenges be Overcome".  Optometric Education, 2008, 33:84. 
Invited Talks & Workshops
Dr. Qasim Zaidi gave an invited lecture, "Neural Processes that Facilitate 3-D Shape Perception" on October 18 at the European Conference on Computer Vision in Marseille, France.
Copyright 2008, SUNY State College of Optometry, All rights reserved.
33 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036   | (212) 938-4000  | Join Our Mailing List