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On January 15, 2009, Governor David A. Paterson introduced what may be the most significant proposal for reform in New York public higher education in decades. The Governor's bill addresses tuition policy, land-use, public-private partnerships, procurement efficiencies, operations efficiencies and hospital reforms.
According to the Governor, the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act will provide SUNY and CUNY "with the freedom and flexibility they need to drive development both on campus and off, preparing our students for New Economy jobs that will propel New York forward". The Governor's proposal calls not only for reform to enhance the strategic management of our system of tuition and fees, but enables our campuses to develop mission-driven, non-State revenues to support our students and the programs so vitally needed by the people of New York.
During the current economic crisis, most public debate has focused upon spending management. While spending control and the strategic allocation of State resources are essential to the long-term economic stability of our State, innovation and the creative development on new, non-State-based revenues is equally critical to the future success of public higher education and job expansion. The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act will provide SUNY campuses with the financial stability and the tools for growth that are so essential to long-range planning and the achievement of our strategic priorities in service to New York.
For the SUNY College of Optometry, like other SUNY academic health centers, this legislation will provide us with the autonomy needed to enhance our ability to adapt to the ever-changing health care delivery system and research environment. I am very supportive of this initiative and will be working in the weeks ahead with faculty, students, staff and alumni to advocate for its passage.
David A. Heath, O.D., Ed.M.
Trustee Pledges Major Gift to Foundation, Largest in College History
Dr. William C. Folsom, Jr., a Trustee of the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY), the College's Foundation, has made an irrevocable pledge of his estate, currently valued at $2 million, to the Foundation. President Heath announced that this is the largest gift to the College's Foundation since the founding of the College in 1971.
From his home on Cape Cod, Dr. Folsom stated that over the past 20 years, 33 third-year students have received scholarships from the Scott Tasker Folsom Scholarship Endowment. "Each scholarship presentation has been exhilarating for me. And I have great pride in helping these talented students, as well as my profession. This year, in my 90th year, I felt the need to expand the scholarship endowment to provide additional awards. I hope others will take the initiative to join me in supporting this outstanding institution."
A graduate of Columbia University, Dr. Folsom is a former Associate Clinical Professor at SUNY. During his long and distinguished career in optometry, he served as a consultant to numerous corporations and organizations including Sperry Corporation, Pfizer, Inc., Domino Sugar, Lockheed-Martin and Metropolitan Life Insurance.
He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and the American Academy of Opticianry, former Vice President of the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA), and a member of the American Optometric Association (AOA).
Dr. Heath expressed his deep appreciation of Dr. Folsom's generosity and unwavering commitment to the students of the College and indicated that Dr. Folsom's pledge will provide critically needed scholarship support to students.
D I D Y O U K N O W ?
SUNY estimates that the Governor's "Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act" would create over more than 2,200 faculty positions, 7,000 staff positions and 43,000 construction jobs on the campuses of the eight SUNY doctoral -research centers.
The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act would enhance access by increasing enrollment capacity on campuses by 20,000 more students than current projections.
The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act would take the politics out of tuition setting, making the cost of higher education more equitable and predictable for our students.
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State Legislators Visit SUNY Optometry
Last month, the College was visited by two members of the New York State Legislature. On Thursday, December 3, 2009, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky visited the College and met with President David Heath, Dr. Richard Soden, Dr. David Troilo and representatives of the New York State Optometric Association. After her meeting she was given a tour of the University Eye Center (UEC).
On Monday, December 14, State Assemblymember Deborah Glick visited the College and met with President Heath and senior administrators of the institution after which she was given a tour of the UEC.
Dr. Robert Krall, College Council Member, Honored
At its October 14th meeting last year, the College Council honored Dr. Robert Krall, an optometrist in Millbrook, New York with a resolution for his devotion and service to the Council and to the College. Dr. Krall's term on the Council expired on June 30, 2009. Originally appointed in 1998, Dr. Krall served two consecutive terms on the Council, with a reappointment in 2004. Although Dr. Krall was unable to attend the meeting due to illness, Dr. Heath presented Dr. Krall with the framed resolution at Dr. Krall's home in Millbrook. On behalf of the Council and the College faculty and staff, everyone wishes Dr. Krall the best in the years to come.
Schnurmacher Foundations Award
On Tuesday, November 17th, the Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation and the Charles and Mildred Schnurmacher Foundation awarded scholarships to SUNY State College of Optometry students at the annual Schnurmacher Foundations Merit Scholarship Luncheon. Attending were Fred Plotkin, Esq. from the Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation, Mr. Ira Weinstein from the Charles and Mildred Schnurmacher Foundation, President David Heath, Dr. David Troilo, Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, Ms. Ann Warwick, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Mr. Vito Cavallaro, Director of Financial Aid. Dr. Heath extended gratitude to the Foundations and congratulations to each recipient.
The recipients are:
|Class of 2013
||Class of 2012
||Class of 2011
||Class of 2010|
Stephanie Van de Ven
SUNY Optometry Establishes Confucius Institute
The SUNY College of Optometry recently received its first annual grant of $150,000 from the Chinese government to establish a Confucius Institute. Confucius institutes are now funded at 282 institutions worldwide for the purpose of stimulating learning about Chinese language and culture. Each funded institution partners with an institution of higher education in China.
SUNY College of Optometry's partner is Wenzhou Medical College with which it already has several other programmatic initiatives.
The Institute at SUNY College of Optometry will provide programs and courses in Chinese language and culture with special emphasis on the healthcare system in China. Classes will be open to SUNY students and faculty as well as to the general public and will be particularly applicable for anyone who plans on working or studying in any of the health care fields or in biomedical research in China. The learning experience will enable these individuals to have a better understanding of the culture of providers and patients and of existing practices such as traditional Chinese medicine.
Dr. Michael Heiberger will serve as Institute Director at the College with Dr. Hu Zhen, Dean of the International School of Wenzhou Medical College as co-Director. The Confucius Institute at this institution is not only the first such entity established at an optometric institution, it is also the first one established at a specialized health professions institution of any type.
Dr. Heiberger recently attended a meeting of the Confucius Institutes held in Beijing this past
December. Over 1,000 attendees from around the world heard presentations from the Minister of Health of China and from officials of the Confucius Institute Headquarters. Workshops held by region enabled neighboring Confucius Institutes to share information about their programs. The meeting, held at the China National Convention Center also included an exhibit hall featuring the activities of Confucius Institutes at colleges and universities throughout the globe.
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Health Care Reform is Coming and the UEC will be Ready!
Up until last week, it appeared that health reform was going to happen. Everyone was talking about the impact this type of legislation was going to have on the country. Although the future of health care reform remains somewhat uncertain at this point, it is certain that the number of uninsured Americans will continue to grow. It is estimated that by 2019 the number of uninsured people will grow by more than 30 percent in 29 states in the country and by at least 10 percent in every state. The amount of uncompensated care provided will more than double in 45 states. Businesses in 27 states will see their premiums more than double. And fewer people will have coverage through an employer. Current estimates in New York State are as follows:
- 2.7 million residents do not currently have insurance and 734,000 residents who have nongroup insurance could get affordable coverage through the health insurance exchange.
- 1.6 million residents could qualify for premium tax credits to help them purchase health coverage.
- 2.9 million seniors would receive ree preventive services.
- 511,000 seniors would have their brand-name drug costs in the Medicare Part D "doughnut hole" halved.
- 249,000 small businesses could be helped by a small business tax credit to make premiums more affordable.
In preparation for any type of health care reform that may occur, the UEC (University Eye Center) will be ready. We have been reviewing our current managed care contracts as well as trying to expand the plans we participate with. This is only one step in assuring we will be ready for any type of heath care change. Other activities include updating our UEC website, preparing for our new Electronic Health Record, and developing updating new patient care education information. The UEC will be ready to face the challenges ahead.
- R E S E A R C H -
Bass, SJ. "Consider Ordering Genetic Testing to Help Pinpoint Your patients' Retinal Diagnoses." Primary Care Optometry News, December 2009.
Li, A., Zaidi, Q. (2009) "Release from Cross-Orientation Suppression Facilitates 3D Shape Perception." PLoS ONE 4(12): e8333. doi:10.1271
Lee, RJ., Mollon, JD, Zaidi, Q. , Smithson, HE. (2009) "Latency Characteristics of the Short-wavelength-sensitive cones and their Associated Pathways." Journal of Vision, 9(12):5, 1-17.
Schwartz, S. Visual Perception: A Clinical Introduction, 4th ed., published by McGraw-Hill, December 2009. (The new edittion is in full color throughout. First published in 1994, this textbook is widely used in optometry programs in the US and abroad.)
Dr. Qasim Zaidi has been invited to give the W.S. Stiles Lecture in London on March 3, 2010.
NEI T35 Training Grant Awarded to Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda
Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda was awarded a grant from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the amount of $45,317 for "Short-term Training Students in Health Professional Schools". The program is a 10-week summner research training program for 1st and 2nd year optometry students from all optometry schools. It is a five-year grant and eight slots are allocated for each year. Students, including SUNY students, must apply through an application process. Eleven faculty are listed on the grant as mentors for the trainees and all are members of SUNY's graduate program with active research programs. These faculty members are: Dr. Jose Alonso, Dr. Ben Backus, Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda, Dr. Mitchell Dul, Dr. Philip Kruger, Dr. Barry Lee, Dr. Peter Reinach, Dr. Midituru Srinivas, Dr. Harold Sedgwick, Dr. David Troilo and Dr. Qasim Zaidi.
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