F Y EYE - The Official Newsletter of SUNY State College of Optometry
SUNY State College of Optometry
Issue 15 February 2009
FR O M   T H E   P R E S I D E N T

President's Letter

SUNY 60th Anniversary Conference PosterThe 60th Anniversary of the State University of New York will be celebrated with a two-day scholarly conference in Albany from April 3 - 5, 2009.  This conference offers us the opportunity to understand the impact of the University within the context of New York State's political, economic and social history.  Indeed, I am pleased that, as a conference panelist discussing health care education, I will be able to share the contributions of SUNY Optometry.  There is much for the University to be proud of, with sixty years of accomplishments and service to the people of New York, but the promise of SUNY is yet to be fully realized.
The future of what Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller envisioned as "the American university of the 21st Century" is being played out before our eyes within the economic and political context of budget negotiations.  In early February, the State Deficit Reduction Plan (DRP) closed a 1.6 billion dollar deficit for the current fiscal year, partially, by reallocating recently approved tuition increases from the University campuses.  Remarkably, while the DRP called for the State to retain 90% of the tuition increase, the Department of the Budget's (DOB) calculations appear to retain over 100% of the new tuition dollars actually collected.  These actions capped a fiscal year in which SUNY suffered a 15% reduction in State allocations.
While State actions seem to belie public positions, avenues of opportunity seem to be emerging.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) contains significant funding for health care and education.  Increases in funding for NIH and NEI may provide additional support for our research programs.  How and the degree to which those funds manifest as support for SUNY are not yet known, but we hope that words of support will now translate into action.
With the precision of economic analysts, on this past Groundhog Day, 'Punxsutawny Phil' predicted six more weeks of Winter, only to be contradicted by 'Staten Island Chuck', who professed a more optimistic vision for the onset of Spring.  Let's hope Chuck got it right.
David A. Heath, O.D., Ed.M.
 M A I N   F E A T U R E
Do We Need A Masters in Business Administration (MBA) for Eye Care Professionals? 
The SUNY State College of Optometry is undertaking a feasibility study for developing an O.D./M.B.A. Program.  The proposed joint degree program will promote clinical skills while fostering strong leadership and managerial excellence.  Students will learn from eye care leaders and influential spokesmen in healthcare policy, finance, economics, marketing, quality management, information technology, administration, law and ethics in business and eye care.
The program under consideration recognizes that business and managerial expertise are playing an increasingly important role in the organization and delivery of health care.  In a time of tremendous change in health care in general, and within the eye care sector specifically, there is a growing need for leaders in both optometry and management.  A new Masters of Business Administration, with a concentration in Eye Care Business would produce highly trained and community-minded health professionals engaged in optometry. The optometrists will serve as models and leaders within the profession and will strengthen developed private practices and opportunities within the communities they serve.  The proposed program will also meet the growing demand by optometrists who wish to apply effective management principles to individual or group practices, eye care services within hospital and clinical settings, ophthalmic surgical centers, or to move into management positions at many types of organizations in the ophthalmic, contact lens and pharmaceutical industries.  This program, if developed, will help train clinicians in the finances of health care without compromising their clinical skills and patient care services.  Optometrists focused on clinical outcomes will also be attuned to issues relating to cost effectiveness and redesigning health care delivery as it relates to eye care.
A survey has been developed in order to assess the need and interest in this program as well as in future program planning.  If you have an interest in this program, the link is http://www.sunyopt.edu/cgi-bin/Scripts/rws3.pl?FORM=graduates.  The survey should take about 5 minutes to complete and the resulting data will not be individually identified.  If you prefer not to respond to a specific item, leave it blank.  Should you desire to complete the survey and return it by mail, please send to Dr. Mort Soroka, SUNY State College of Optometry, 33 West 42nd Street, NY, NY   10036.  
F O C A L   P O I N T
SUNY Appoints A New Chancellor
Governor Paterson introduces Dr. Zimpher as SUNY ChancellorOn Tuesday, February 10, 2009, the SUNY Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Nancy L. Zimpher the 12th Chancellor of the University.  Shortly thereafter, Governor David Paterson intoduced her as the ninth chancellor of the State University of New York.  The largest comprehensive system of public higher education in the United States, Dr. Zimpher is the first woman to be named Chancellor in SUNY's 60-year history.
Governor Paterson stated that he was ..."pleased to announce that Nancy L. Zimpher will serve as the ninth Chancellor of the State University of New York.....[she is] an impressive candidate and a strong leader".  He also mentioned that "In 1948, after he signed the bill establishing the State University of New York, Governor Thomas E. Dewey said, 'I think the State University of New York may turn out to be the most important educational advance of our time.  I am proud that in my administration, the foundation has been laid.'  Sixty years later, we must come together to lay a new foundation - to start a new era for SUNY...."
Dr. Nancy L. ZimpherDr. Zimpher is currently President of the University of Cincinnati, an urban research university with an enrollment of more than 37,000 students and comprised of 16 colleges, an academic medical and researh center and an annual budget of $1 billion.  She became UC's 25th president and also its first woman President in October 2003.
Prior to her appointment as UC's President, Dr. Zimpher served as the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Executive Dean of the Professional Colleges and Dean of the College of Education at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. Zimpher is the recipient of numerous awards, including the People of Vision Award from Prevent Blindness Ohio and is the author and co-editor of books on university leadership, teacher education and urban education.
Dr. Zimpher holds a bachelor's degree in English education and speech, a master's degree in English literature and, a PhD in teacher education and administration in higher education, all from The Ohio State University.  She is married to Dr. Kenneth R. Howey, a Research Professor in the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services at the University of Cincinnati.
Governor Paterson, Dr. ZimpherHer appointment as Chancellor is effective June 1, 2009.  Dr. Zimpher succeeds former SUNY Chancellor and United States Navy Vice Admiral John R. Ryan who stepped down May 31, 2007 to become the President of the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina.
A strong congratulations and welcome to Dr. Nancy L. Zimpher as she takes on the leadership of the State University of New York! 
DI D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • March 12, 2009 is World Glaucoma Day.  Glaucoma is the leading cause of permanent blindness worldwide, afflicting 67 million individuals.  Dr. Mitchell Dul, Director of the College's Glaucoma Institute, will be interviewed March 12th on WWOR radio by Joe Bartlett to increase public awareness of glaucoma.

  • Approximately 50% of those with glaucoma are not aware of it.  (Friedman et al. 2004)

  • The National Eye Institute (NEI) may receive $175 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) over the next two years.  (NEI)

  • The FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill Conference Report includes a $21.4 million NEI increase over FY2008.  (National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research)
The members of the Class of 2009 who took the Part II-Clinical Sciences section of the National Boards this past December had a 100% pass rate.  Sixty-eight students took the exam.  The national pass-rate was 91.28% for all takers and 94.95% for first-time takers.  Below is the graphic of the Part II performance of our students since 2002.
 NBEO Part II Results
Dr. Derron Lee (Class of 2003), an alumnus of the SUNY State College of Optometry, was named Young Optometrist of the Year for 2008 by the California Optometric Association (COA) during its annual House of Delegates meeting in Sacramento, CA, January 30-31, 2009.  Dr. Lee was honored for his significant contributions to organized optometry and his local society, the San Joaquin Optometric Society (SJOS).
In the short time that he has been in practice, he has demonstrated his leadership abilities through his local society and community.  Currently, Dr. Lee is President of SJOS.  He has taken part in many community events in the Stockton area, including providing free eye exams and glasses for over 50 patients a year for the United Farm Workers Association, and took part in the Stockton Diabetes Walk Vision Screening in 2008, which provided free vision screenings to 400 participants.  Dr. Lee is also a member of Leadership Stockton, the Asian American Chanber of Commerce and Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Derron Lee currently owns and operates two independent optometry offices (in Stockton and Manteca) with his wife, Dr. Leanne Lee who specializes in pediatric vision care and vision therapy.
AOA President Peter Kehoe Visits SUNY
Dr. Cathy Pace, Dr. David Troilo, Dr. David Heath, Dr. Peter Kehoe, Dr. Leon Nehmad and Ms. Ann WarwickThe College was host to Dr. Peter Kehoe, President of the Board of Trustees of the American Optometric Association on Wednesday, February 11th.  Dr. Kehoe has served as a member of the Board since 1999 and was elected President in June, 2008 at the annual Congress of the AOA.
Dr. Kehoe's visit included meetings with President Heath,senior administrators of the College, Dr. Denise Whittam, President-elect of the New York State Optometric Association, a tour of the campus, as well as a faculty luncheon and an after hour session with the students.  Dr. Kehoe, accompanied by Ms. Laurie Bergman of the AOA, engaged in informal discussions with members of the faculty on a variety of issues, including the proposed optometric board certification model developed by the Joint Board Certification Project Team.
Dr. Kehoe is past-president of the Illinois Optometric Association, the West Central Illinois Optometric Society and continues to serve on the Illinois Optometeric Association's Legislative Committee.
The College was honored to have Dr. Kehoe as our guest and we look forward to continuing our relationship with him and the AOA on the vital issues affecting the optomoetric profession.
Reinach, Peter.  Review of "The Corneal Epithelium: Clinical Relevance of Cytokine-mediated Responses to Maintenance of Corneal Health" in Brazilian Journal of Ophthalmology v. 71, n. 6(sup), pp80-88, 2008.
Reinach, Peter.  "Corneal Epithelial Transport and Permeability".  Encyclopedia of the Eye.  Elsevier Press.

Dr. Mark Rosenfield received an invitation to talk at the New Jersey Medical School on Monday, March 2nd.  The title of his talk is "Etiology and Management of Myopia".

Dr. Miduturu SrinivasDr. Miduturu Srinivas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the SUNY College of Optometry.  After he obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 1997 from the University of Florida in Gainesville,  he pursued his postdoctoral studies in Dr. David Spray's laboratory in the Department of Neuroscience at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and joined the SUNY Optometry faculty in 2004.
Dr. Srinivas' research is focussed on understanding physiological roles of connexin proteins.  These proteins form intercellular gap junctions as well as transmembrane ion channels in a number of tissues, including the eye.  In the lens, these channels are essential for normal growth and for maintenance of transparency.  In the cornea, they play an important role in transfer of metabolites and have been implicated in wound healing.  Using a combination of molecular biological, electrophysiological and imaging approaches, Dr. Srinivas studies how connexin channels are regulated by factors that control the growth and transparency of the lens and what signals go through them.  A critical aspect is to delineate the molecular motions that are associated with channel opening and closing upon stimulation with growth factors and oxidative stress.  In the past few years, Dr. Srinivas has also been interested in the identification and development of high-affinity, selective inhibitors of connexin channels.  In addition to providing a useful tool to unraveling the physiological role of connexins, such drugs may have therapeuptic utility, because these channels have been proposed as new and promising pharmacological targets in the treatment of eye-related disease as well as epilepsy, cardiac arrhythmia and essential tremor.
In 2008, Dr. Srinivas was a recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.
Mr. Louie BacosaMr. Louie Bacosa joins the College's Information Technology Department as the Help Desk/Email Specialist.  Before coming to SUNY, Mr. Bacosa was the HS Network Administrator at the Palisades Park Board of Education in New Jersey.  His primary roles will be to facilitate and provide IT technical support from the newly re-established IT Help Desk, including being the "Email Guru" for FirstClass and to coordinate and conduct technical workshops in the future IT Resource and Training Center.  Louie's office is Room 310 and can be reached at 212-938-5716 or you can call the IT Help Desk at 212-938-5730.  Join us in welcoming Mr. Louie Bacosa to the SUNY Optometry family.
On Friday, January 30, Mrs. Gloria Jackson retired from her position as Staff Assistant in the office of Clinical Administration of the University Optometric Center after 14 years of service.  Gloria joined the staff of the College's clinic in 1995 with a determination to make a positive impact in her position.  Her contributions to the office certainly made an impact and was greatly appreciated by all.  She will be missed.  Everyone at SUNY wishes Gloria good health and continued happiness in her retirement.
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