F Y EYE - The Official Newsletter of SUNY State College of Optometry
SUNY State College of Optometry
Issue 16 March 2009
FR O M   T H E   P R E S I D E N T

President's Letter

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) IIOn March 10, 2009, the SUNY State College of Optometry and the SUNY System Administration signed a revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the SUNY Mission Review II program.  The Mission Review process "is intended to encourage campus responsibility for higher levels of distinctiveness, performance, efficiency, and System-wide collaboration".
The College originally signed its Mission Review II MOU in December of 2006.  Since that time the College has undergone major changes in leadership and, more critically, completed a comprehensive planning process which resulted in our new strategic plan, "A Shared Vision".  The future envisioned by the College community and expressed through "A Shared Vision" were quite different from that embodied in the 2006 MOU.  As a result, SUNY administration agreed that a major revision of the Mission Review MOU was warranted.
The revision of a previously concluded MOU was without precedent in the University, but embraces the reality that our campuses from time to time encounter extraordinary circumstances, new opportunities, new environmental factors and new leadership.  Such flexibility is needed to achieve our goals and to meet the challenges ahead.  This action brings our strategic plan, our campus assessment program and our understanding with SUNY System into mission alignment.  The SUNY State College of Optometry, Mission Review II (revised) MOU may be viewed on line at http://www.sunyopt.edu/about/Optometry_MOU.pdf.
David A. Heath, O.D., Ed.M.
 M A I N   F E A T U R E
College Prepares for Re-Accreditation 
Accreditation is a critical element in the lifeblood of an institution.  It is an intensive peer review process that allows us to look at ourselves with regard to a set of standards that have been created for similar institutions and programs.  SUNY College of Optometry was last accredited following a collaborative site visit by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in the Spring of 2002.  Another such collaborative site visit will occur in the Spring of 2011.
Preparation for the site visit requires an extensive period of self-study which involves the entire college community and which results in a detailed report that addresses the accreditation standards using data and other information gathered during the self-study process.  The process involves the formation of a steering committee and various working groups to address each area of college activity and to involve as many faculty, students and staff as possible.
In June 2009, we will have a campus staff visit by Dr. Debra Klinman, Vice President of MSCHE, who is our campus liaison from that accrediting agency.  In addition, Ms. Joyce Urbeck, Administrative Director of ACOE, will be coordinating with Dr. Klinman in this collaborative process.  Dr. Michael Heiberger, Director of Institutional Research and Planning, is the campus coordinator working with the accrediting agencies to plan the visit. The collaborative process has been utilized twice previously and is preferable in that one self-study and one site visit suffices for both agencies.  By the time of the June 2009 staff visit, we will have formed a Self-Study Steering Committee as well as several working groups and we will have an approved self-study design in place.
The self-study period provides an excellent opportunity for institutional self-reflection and coincides with our newly adopted strategic plan and our accompanying assessment activities.  You will be hearing in much greater detail about accreditation activities in future issues of FY EYE.
DI D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • One in six (14.9%) New Yorkers is estimated to have a distance visual impairment.  New York Department of Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2008.

  • 32.8% of New Yorkers have no insurance for eye care.  New York Department of Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2008.

  • The economic impact of chronic disease in New York State in terms of lost productivity is 3.6 times higher than the cost of treatment.

  • Since 1971, the SUNY State College of Optometry has provided approximately 50% of the optometric workforce to the State of New York.
Scientists Awarded Grant for Eye Injury Research
Dr. Peter Reinach, Distinguished Teaching Professor at SUNY College of Optometry, and Maj. Jose Capo-Aponte, O.D., Ph.D., Adjunct Research Associate Professor, have received a one-year grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to identify novel strategies to reduce ocular injury-induced persistent and severe corneal inflammation and restore tissue transparency.  Ocular wounds have becom among the most common and devastating form of battlefield injury.  An estimated 10-13 percent of wounded Iraq war veterans have sustained direct and penetrating eye damage.
This debilitating and sight compromising inflammatory condition frequently persists despite corneal wound closure, said Dr. Reinach.  His research may lead to the identification of novel drug targets to improve restoration of corneal transparency without compromising other ocular responses that are beneficial for corneal health and transparency.
"This is an extremely important line of investigation which has the potential to  have a significant impact on the standard of care for eye injuries.  Drs. Reinach and Capo-Aponte and their long history of research collaboration, are tremendous assets to this College and to the men and women serving in the armed forces", said David Troilo, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Professor Reinach has received numerous grants from the National Eye Institute for his research on the control of corneal epithelial proliferation.  In 2003, he received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement.  Maj. Capo-Aponte is Deputy Director, Sensory Research Division of the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory at Fort Rucker, AL.
Dr. Reinach is the featured research faculty profiled in this month's issue. 
SUNY Optometry Students Receive Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence 
Ms. Jaclyn Benzoni '08 and Ms. Lynn Hong Trieu '08 have been selected to received the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence.  This award acknowledges students who have received recognition for student excellence by other organizations.  The higher honor bestowed upon a student by the University, students must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership and community service, among other qualifications.
Ms. Jaclyn Benzoni '09Ms. Benzoni '08 is a candidate for the degrees of Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) and Master of Science (M.S.) in Vision Science.  An outstanding student, Jaclyn has proven her sense of community and leadership capabilities as President of Student Volunteers in Optometric Service to Humanity (SVOSH) and co-founding the first student campus chapter of the American Academy of Optometry.  In addition, she is a student liaison to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) where she assists in planning chapter meetings and obtaining speakers for the meetings.  She received the 2008 Student Leadership Award from the American Optometric Association (AOA) and was the winner fo the nationwide AOA InfantSEE Essay contest this past September along with many other honors, awards and scholarships.  Ms. Benzoni is the author of several research posters, presentations and publications.
Ms. Trieu '08 is a candidate for the degrees of Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) and MasterMs. Lynn Trieu '09 of Science (M.S.) in Vision Science.  Proven to be an outstanding student, Lynn has authored five publications of which she is first author of two.  Her deep sense of community and leadership capabilities hav been shown through her involvement in many professional organizations, i.e., Vice President of Beta Sigma Kappa Optometric Honor Society where she organized tutoring services to students needing assistance; Past-President of the Leo Club of Bryant Park (Lions Club for students).  In this capacity she organized vision screenings in underprivileged areas in New York City; organized a tutoring program for vision therapy patients, and, ran the club's meetings.  In addition, Lynn is a student trustee on the board of the campus foundation, the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) where she provides input on decisions to the Board that affect the campus; as well as a member of the New York State Optometric Association Student Society which lobbies for the rights of optometrists in the State of New York and provides mentoring to optometry students from independent optometrists in the state.  As a member of the Student Volunteers in Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH), she has volunteered on missions to third world countries to provide vision care services.  Ms. Trieu is also the recipient of various honors, awards and scholarships.
Eligibility requires that nominees graduate within the academic year in which they are nominated.  The awards will be presented at Commencement on June 7, 2008.
UOC Referral Service Hosts Dinner and Lecture
The Referral Service of the University Optometric Center hosted a dinner and lecture on January 15, 2009.  The dinner, hosted by Dr. Harriette Canellos, Director of the service, invited doctors who frequently refer their patients to the UOC for vision care and to update them to the services offered in the UOC.  Those who attended were from Manhattan and surrounding boroughs of New York City.  Dr. Richard Soden, Vice President for Clinical Affairs and Executive Director of the UOC, lectured on "Ophthalmic Surgical Coding and Billing for Optometrists".  The response to the event was overwhelmingly positive and many of the attendees requested that they continue to be informed of upcoming lectures.  Dr. Canellos plans to hold a similar event in the near future.

Dr. Barry Tannen received an invitation to give a presentation at the Grand Rounds of Children's Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ on Wednesday, April 8th.  The title of his talk is "The Diagnosis and Management of Learning Related Vision Problems".  The presentation will be video cast throughout the entire network of eight Children's Specialized Hospitals in New Jersey.

Dr. Richard Madonna was interviewed on Martha Stewart Living Radio on March 24th.  Dr. Madonna spoke about general eye health.  The program was aired on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.  Its channel is 112 on Sirius and 157 on XM.
Dr. Kevin Jackson, an adjunct faculty member, was invited to five a lecture at USUHS (Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences) the military's medical school, on "Data Standards in Public Health Informatics".  This was part of a course on Public Health Informatics given by Professor Ron Gimbel.
On March 26th, Dr. Qasim Zaidi gave an invited lecture entitled "General and Specialized Color Strategies for Object Identification" at the 2009 Computational Color Imaging Workshop in St. Etienne, France.  The day before, he gave a talk on "Neural Processes for 3-D Perception" at the INSERM Stem Cell and Brain Research Institute in Lyon, France.
Research Activities
Dr. Jerome Sherman has Topcon 3D OCT Normative Database Study the purpose of which is to collect three dimensional measurements of the optic disc and the macula using Topcon's 3D OCT-1000 Mark II of healthy normal patients in the following ethnic groups:  Caucasians, Hispanics and African-Americans.  The data collected will be utilized to develop a normative database of the retinal nerve fiber layer thickness that is stratified by age group and ethnic background.  The study is sponsored by Topcon and each subject is compensated for their participation. 
Dr. Peter ReinachDr. Peter Reinach, Distinguished Teaching Professor, is currently doing research on corneal epithelial cells and clinical treatments.  His research is based upon the fact that corneal epithelial transparency and optical surface integrity can only be maintained provided that this tissue layer undergoes continuous renewal.  Should this layer become damaged by trauma, the renewal process may be disrupted.  Additionally, if corneal re-epithelialization is delayed by persistent and severe inflammation, the cornea may lose its transparency.  It is, therefore, important for clinics to identify novel drug strategies to reduce inflammation induced by receptor activation.
During his research, Dr. Reinach and his staff identified a receptor, in a corneal wound healing animal model, whose preinhibition by a drug antagonist markedly lessened losses in transparency resulting from injury.  This also occurred in animals in which the gene that induced expression of this receptor was knocked out.  Dr. Reinach explains that these findings suggest that studies targeted towards understanding how activiation of this specific receptor induces inflammation have clinical relevance.  And that such insight could provide information on how to selectively suppress inflammation and improve restoration of corneal transparency following injury without compromising other responses induced by this specific receptor that are needed for sustaining ocular surface health.
Dr. Reinach is a member of the faculty of the Department of Vision Sciences.
Ms. Nikita Lattimore-MartinMs. Nikita Lattimore-Martin is the newly hired Clinical Finance Director in the University Optometric Center.  Ms. Lattimore-Martin's work experience spans various medical institutions, i.e., North Shore/Long Island Jewish Medical Center, the Visiting Nurse Service and Beth Israel Hospital Center.  Her background is extensive in the areas of clinical billing and coding, administration and finance which will play a key role in assisting the clinic to expand its growth as it moves forward with implementing the strategic plan.  Join us in welcoming Ms. Lattimore-Martin to the UOC and the College community.
Ms. Yvonne LopezThe Office of Management Services has a new
Staff Associate!  Ms. Yvonne Lopez comes to the College with experience in customer services, property management and office administration.  She is the contact person for building services complaints and work order requests pertaining to maintenance and housekeeping.  We extend a warm welcome to her.
Officer Anthony JenkinsA new officer has joined the campus' University Police force.  Mr. Anthony Jenkins was formerly with the New York City Department of Health and also worked at the New York State Office of Mental Health.  Kindly join us in welcoming Officer Jenkins to the SUNY Optometry community.

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