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The College's global role expanded significantly with the official opening of the College's Center for International Programs and the Confucius Institute this October. Covered extensively in this issue of FY EYE, China's sponsorship of a Confucius Institute expands the College's relationship with China and reflects our community's growing commitment to global health. Indeed, we recognize that public health and the advancement of knowledge is a global effort with shared responsiblity and with a common benefit.
Through our strategic plan, "A Shared Vision", we as a community committed to "establish a Center for International Programs dedicated to the advancement of vision care world-wide". We have done so. This commitment is substantial and in alignment with the SUNY-wide, strategic plan's initiative known as "SUNY and the World". The State University has similarly committed to nurturing a culturally fluent, cross-national mindset" which will expand opportunities for our students and which will enhance the State's global competitiveness. Preparing our students for a transnational world and improving global health through collaboration requires that we understand, appreciate and embrace diverse cultures and their impact on the provision of care.
On behalf of the College, I offer my congratulations to Dr. Michael Heiberger, Director of International Programs and to those who have worked with him for holding a successful opening ceremony and indeed for their leadership in implementing our international program efforts.
David A. Heath, O.D., Ed.M.
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Confucius Institute has Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
On Wednesday, October 27th, the Confucius Institute at the SUNY College of Optometry held its official opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony. In attendance were Ambassador Peng Keyu, Consul-General of the People's Republic of China in New York, Dr Qu Jia, President of Wenzhou Medical College, Dr. Mitchell Leventhal, SUNY Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs and several officials/dignitaries and delegates from China and the UN. Dr. Michael Heiberger, Director of the SUNY
Optometry Confucius Institute, was the Master of Ceremonies for the day.
The program began in the Schwarz Theater with opening remarks from Dr. Heiberger,
President Heath, Ambassador Peng, President Qu and Dr. Leventhal, followed by the unveiling of the Confucius Institute plaque and the exchange of gifts between the SUNY College of Optometry and Wenzhou Medical College.
The afternoon consisted of a concert of Chinese songs by SUNY's Professor Hong Zhang of
Binghamton University and two concurrent seminars, one on "Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Context of the 21st Century Medical Practice" and the second on "The Traditional Chinese Cultural Elements in the New Eye Care Model in China".
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Preliminary Site-Visit by Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Over the past year, the Self-Study Steering Committee and its working groups have been hard at work collecting data and writing a draft of the Self-Study document that will be sent to the two agencies that accredit the College - - Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE). These agencies will conduct a joint site-visit in April 2011.
The site-visit team will be co-chaired by Dr. Laura Schweitzer (MSCHE), President of Union Graduate College in Schenectady, New York and Dr. Roger Boltz (ACOE), Associate Dean for Professional Studies at the University of Houston, College of Optometry. Dr. Schweitzer will be on campus November 22nd to conduct a preliminary site visit which MSCHE requires for all colleges. She will meet with the Self-Study Steering Committee and representataives of the faculty, administration and the student body.
The draft Self-Study document was made available to the College community prior to its being sent to Dr. Schweitzer. Everyone is still strongly encouraged to read the document and to send their comments and feedback to Dr. Steven Schwartz.
SUNY Eye Institute Holds 2nd Annual Meeting
The 2nd annual meeting of the SUNY Eye Institute was held at the SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York, October 2-3, 2010. The attendees included clinicians, research faculty, postdocotral fellows and graduate students. After the initial welcome by SEI Directors Drs. William Brunken (Downstate Medical Center) and John Hoepner (Upstate Medical Center), the meeting turned to science with three talks from each of the five member institutions -- Upstate Medical Center, Downstate Medical Center, the University at Buffalo, Stony Brook University and Optometry. The talks included both clinical and basic science research and formed the backbone of the meeting with the goal of stimulating interest and developing potential collaborations across the SEI institutions.
Optometry was represented by Dr. David Troilo, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs, who talked about the effect of defocus on elongation of the eye in myopia; Dr. Benjamin Backus, Professor, who spoke about perceptual learning in visual system, and, Associate Professor, Dr. Robert McPeek whose talk was on the neural basis of attention and target selection for motor actions. Graduate students Jing (Cathy) Yuan, Michael Jansen, Nili Parekh and Yuanquan (Aaron) Yang also attended from SUNY Optometry.The attendees toured the labs at Upstate's Center for Vision Research in the Department of Ophthalmology which has a strong emphasis on transgenic research on visual system development and function. Opportunities for collaborations were emphasized and discussed.The business section of the meeting included a special presentation by Daniel Tso (Upstate) who chairs the SEI Information Technology subcommittee, on the development of the SEI website (http://sunyeye.org) and the creation of videoconferencing tools to facilitate connectivity between researchers at member institutions. It was also decided that the SEI steering committee will consider requests from researchers for travel and seed funds for collaborative projects. (Steering committee members from Optometry are: Dr. Mitchell Dul, Dr. David Troilo and Dr. Qasim Zaidi.) Next year's meeting will be held at Stony Brook (last year's meeting was held at Optometry.In only its second year of existence, the SUNY Eye Institute has established its identity as a functional confederation of vision scientists in the SUNY system. The SEI includes more than 40 scientists with a combined total of 28 federally funded research grants. SEI was seeded with $150,000 as part of the larger SUNY initiative known as REACH (Research Excellence in Academic Health). In September, an application was submitted to the National Eye Institute (NEI) by SEI for a five-year core research support grant for $500,000/year that will provide key services to researchers throughout the SEI. Optometry will be the home to a scientific computer programming module. Future grant proposals will include R24 grants for collaborative research, and, T32 and T35 training grants."Overall, this meeting covered an impressively wide breadth of vision research" said Michael Jansen, a first year SUNY graduate student. Dr. Ben Backus stated "There really is a there, there."
Partners for Sight Foundation Renews Support for SUNY Homebound Program
The Reader's Digest Partners for Sight Foundation renewed a $30,000 grant to the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) for its Queens and Manhattan Homebound projects. This support is critical for the continuation of homebound eye and vision care to older adults in Queens, and to providing lamps, eyeglasses and low vision devices to Manhattan homebound patients.
The Homebound Program, begun by the SUNY College of Optometry more than 25 years ago, sends optometrists into local neighborhoods in order to provide high quality patient care for people confined to their homes.
The renewed grant will offer access to essential services for people with impaired vision who are at risk for increased falls and fractures, depression and difficulty identifying medications which can lead to serious drug-related errors among other dangers. Homebound populations particularly at risk include older adults, people with multiple disabilities and/or other health conditions (e.g., stroke, cancer, obesity, paralysis and dementia) which can make it challenging, if not impossible, to access available health services in the community.
"Proper eye care is essential for older adults with vision loss to live independently. The Reader's Digest Partners for Sight Foundation's role in the enhancement and expansion of these critical homebound efforts have brought a high standard of care, as well as an improved quality of life to a seriously underserved population," said Richard Feinbloom, President of the OCNY Board of Trustees.
Partners for Sight is dedicated to increasing the self-reliance and dignity of blind and visually-impaired persons. They believe these individuals should have the tools and resources necessary to lead independent, productive lives. Through its support of non-profit organizations that share this philosophy, they are making the world easier to navitage for thousands of people every day.
The Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) is the allied and endowing foundation of the State University of New York, State College of Optometry and is the primary source of private support for its patient care facility, the University Eye Center (UEC), providing grants for projoects such as a homebound initiative, indigent care project and scholarship fund, among others.
President Heath Receives Honor in China
President David A. Heath was one of 50 foreign experts from 16 countries honored for their outstanding contributions to China's development at the annual Friendship Award ceremony in Beijing, September 30, 2010. The Friendship Award was created in 1991 and is the highest honor given to foreign experts by China. Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang presented Dr. Heath with the award in the Great Hall of the People.
Dr. Heath was recognized for nearly twenty years of work with the Wenzhou Medical College, along with other medical universities, to expand access to eye care in China. Dr. Heath's efforts in China have produced new models of medical education for eye care; national standards in the discipline of optometry; the first international, doctoral-level, joint-degree program in modern China and, most recently, an emerging model of eye care for serving the visually disabled in the new Center of Excellence in Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation in Wenzhou. As spokesperson for the honorees during the awards ceremony in Beijing, Dr. Heath stated in his address "China's Friendship Award is important, not simply because it recognizes contributions made by foreign experts, but because it serves as a statement of what is important to China. It reflects the commitment of government leaders to the future vitality of the country."
2010-2011 Scholarships Awarded
At the annual scholarship luncheon, held on Tuesday, October 19th, the following students were awarded scholarships based upon the strength of their GPA and financial need:
Alumni Scholarships - Keith James '14
Monica Nguyen '14
Matt Vaughn '14
Scott Folsom Scholarships
Jennifer Lunardo '12
Divya Nandwani '12
Joanna Wen '12
The NYSOA Scholarship Sara Jones '12
Dr. Nathan and Laura Millman Scholarship
Matthew Enos '13
Tracy Voegeli '13
Dr. Jerome Weiss Scholarship
Yelena Smart '11
New Jersey Academy Award
Colleen Dye '14
Dr. Sanford and Clare Levy Scholarship
Kelly Chajka '11 Jessica Fulmer '11
Andrew Larson '13
Kimberly Rosati '12
We congratulate all the recipients on their awards and wish them continuing success. studies.
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UEC Update -- Tips for a Safe Halloween
Halloween is certainly an event that children look forward to. However, it is also a time that eye-related hazards frequently occur. With care and planning, eye injuries can be avoided. The following tips will enable this Halloween to be safe and fun for you and your family.
Masks and Makeup:
Masks can obstruct the vision of trick-or-treaters and cause problems. Decorating your child's face with makeup, may be safer than wearing a mask. If you decide to disguise your child with make-up instead of a mask, use hypo-allergenic options and try to keep the make-up away from your child's eyes. Make certain you are careful when removing make-up as it can irritate the eyes. Have an adult apply the make-up and remove it with cold cream instead of soap and water.
Decorative Contact Lens:
Decorative contact lenses are generally safe if prescribed by and worn under the supervision of an eye doctor. However, decorative contact lenses can cause serious eye problems if worn improperly. They can lead to severe eye infections that can spread to the cornea and impair one's vision. Everyone's eyes are unique, so if your child needs a pair of these lenses, contact an eye professional and have them fit specifically for your child's eyes.
Carry a Flashlight:
Give your child a small flashlight to illuminate dark paths and walkways. If it is a dark night, your child will not be able to see holes in yards or may miss steps. A flashlight will also make your child more visible to drivers. The "glow sticks" that children often carry around with them may be filled with a chemical that can cause eye irritation if the chemical leaks out.
See and Be Seen:
Make sure your children wear reflective clothing or attach reflective tape to costumes and "Trick-or-Treat" bags. If the costume your child chooses is not made of reflective material, sew on reflective fabric strips or use stick-on strips of reflective tape. You want your child to be seen, especially when crossing streets in the dark. Place reflective material on the front, back and sides of your child's costume.
All children's Halloween costumes are required by law to be made with flame-retardant materials. However, you cannot always rely upon companies to adhere to this law. You should also try to avoid costumes with masks, wigs, floppy hats or eye patches that block vision.
- Try to avoiod pointed props such as spears, swords or wands that might endanger other childrens' eyes.
- Make sure your children obey all traffic signals when crossing streets.
- Younger children should be accompanied by an adult while travelling about the neighborhood.
- Older children should trick-or-treat in groups.
- You and your children should never dart out from between parked cars or hidden corners, such as alleys. You should avoid streets that may be under construction.
- Don't "trick-or-treat" in busy commercial areas or where there is heavy traffic.
- Inspect all of your children's "trick-or-treat" items before allowing children to have them.
- "Trick-or-Treating" during daytime hours is safer than going out after dark.
Be safe and your children will enjoy Halloween.
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SUNY FacultyReceives NIH Grant from the National Eye Institute*
Dr. Christina Llerena has received an NIH Loan Repayment Program Grant from the National Eye Institute. The grant began September 2010 and ends August 2012. The title of her project is "Improvement in Stereoacuity through Training with Correlated Cues". She will receive $70,000 towards student loans plus 50% protected time for research.
Her project will assess the efficacy of a "training wheels" method to improve stereoacuity thresholds. The utilization of some other source of trusted information for purposes of refining one's ability to use small differences between stimuli along a different dimension could be very useful in real-world situations (i.e., a person whose eyes have been surgically aligned might benefit from specific training to improve their steroacuity, in which other depth cues act as the "training wheels". She plans to test whether the improvements in stereoacuity seen in normal observers over time are accelerated when this type of training is provided.
*This is a correction to the article in last month's issue of FY EYE. Dr. Llerena is a member of the faculty at SUNY College of Optometry.
Dr. Barbara Gillam Receives Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution
Dr. Barbara Gillam has been awarded the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award for 2010 by the Australian Psychological Society. The award is awarded to one Australian scientist annually by the 19,000 member society recognizing distinguished theoretical or empirical contributions to psychology. Dr. Gillam has conducted research and developed theory in many areas of visual perception ranging from geometric illusions and change blindness to stereoscopic depth perception. She is an unsalaried Adjunct Research Professor at SUNY College of Optometry where she is engaged in ongoing research collaboration with Dr. Hal Sedgwick and Scientia Professor of Psychology at the University of New South Wales.
Publications, Presentations and Invited Talks
Dr. Qasim Zaidi and Dr. Barry Lee participated in the Second International Symposium of Vision and Visual Dysfunction held September 23 -26 in Belem, Brazil. The symposium was comprised of 22 invited talks given by 15 guests from abroad and 7 Brazilian professors. Dr. Lee's talk was entitled "Peculiarities of the Parvocellular Pathway", and Dr. Zaidi's talk was "Cortical Decoding of Color".
Dr. Jordan Pola will present a paper at the Society for Neuroscience, November 13-17, in San Diego, California. The paper, entitled "An Explanation of Perisaccadic Flash Mislocalization When the Flash Occurs Together with Background Stimuli", is part of the symposium section "Perception Across Movements".
Dr. Joan Portello and Dr. Mark Rosenfield will give a presentation entitled "Incomplete Blinks and Computer Vision Syndrome" at the 2010 American Academy of Optometry in November in San Francisco, CA.
Dr. Robert Sack presented two posters at the International Conference on the tear film and ocular surface: Basic Science and Clinical Relevance in Florence, Italy, September 23 -27. The first poster was entitled "Quantification of tear film inflammatory cytokines in Sjogren's dry eye" and the second was "Diurnal, differential control of bioactivity of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines.
Dr. Sack was also invited to a lunch hour lecture sponsored by Quansys Biosciences at the 8th Joint Conference International Cytokine Society and Interferon and Cytokine Research Societies in Chicago October 3-7. He spoke on "..micro well array analysis of cytokines in tears, diurnal cycle health and disease".
Ivanova, E., Hwang, G.S., Pan, Z.H. and Troilo, D. (2010) "Evaluation of AAV-Mediated Expression of Chop2-GFP in the Marmoset Retina". Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science, 51(10):5288-96. (PMID 20484599)
Jain, A., Backus, B.T. (2010). "Absence of Cue Recruitment for Extrinsic Signals: Sounds, Spots and Swirling Dots Fail to Influence Perceived 3D Rotation". PLoS One 5(10):e13295.
Jain, A., Fuller, S. and Backus, B.T. (2010). "Uniformative Visual Experience Establishes Long Term Perceptual Bias". Vision Research 50(18):1905-11.
Di Luca, M., Ernst, M.O., and Backus, B.T. (2010). "Learning to Use and Invisible Visual Signal for Perception". Current Biology 20:1860-1863.
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Mr. Francisco Lomparte has joined the staff of Institutional Advancement as Associate Director of Alumni Affairs. Mr. Lomparte was born and raised in Peru and moved to the United States to pursue his college degree. He graduated from Barry University where he received his bachelor's degree in public relations and advertising. He was College Special Events Manager at the American Cancer Society-Miami Dade Unit working with the students, staff and faculty at the University of Miami, Florida International University, Barry University and Miami Dade College. His role was to establish new relationships and cultivate existing ones with the universities as well as mentor/motivate students to become involved in the fight against cancer through the formation of committees and to develop events to raise money to create awareness. Join us in welcoming Francisco to the staff of the SUNY College of Optometry.
We welcome Mr. Guilherme "Gui" Albieri as the new Director of Admission and Marketing in the Office of Student Affairs. Mr. Albieri will be responsible for the admissions process ensuring that the best and the brightest students are enrolled and retained at the College. He brings more than nine years of experience in the areas of admissions, recruitment, marketing and strategic enrollment management. Gui served as Senior Associate Director at Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) in Honolulu, where he was directly involved with the development and implementation of admissions, marketing and recruitment strategies for specific markets and the development and implementation of customized communication plans with prospective students, applicants and university partners. Prior to his position at HPU, Mr. Albieri worked as a human resources consultant for a major American chemical company in Brazil. Gui received his M.A. in Organizational Change from HPU, a M.A. in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California and his B.A. in Business Administration from Universidade Mackenzie in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Mr. Albieri will begin his position on November 15th and we join the staff of the Office of Student Affairs in welcoming him to the College community.