F Y Eye - The Official Newsletter of the College
Issue 31January  2011
Dr David Troilo
Dr. David Troilo, Vice President & Dean for Academic Affairs
The College has seen several significant changes over the last few years as we work toward achieving the goals of our strategic plan - A Shared Vision.  This issue of FY EYE features just a few of the changes taking place in Academic Affairs that build on our strengths and help us achieve our mission to lead optometry and vision science through our educational and research programs.
The largest single change in Academic Affairs has been the development and implementation of our new professional degree curriculum, including significant changes in the organization and delivery of clinical education.  After a long planning process, with broad institutional input, the new curriculum is now in place and being carefully evaluated.  A major planning principal in the new curriculum is to integrate basic and clinical sciences, which, coincidentally, parallels recent changes in the National Board Examinations.  Another core principal is emphasis on the development of critical thinking and clinical decision-making skills.  Our Integrative Seminar track creatively serves both principals and is helping to transform our students into better clinicians sooner.  Advances in information technologies are rapidly occurring all around us and offer great opportunities for enhancing student education.  Our new electronic course management system, Moodle, compliments the new curriculum and provides powerful and innovative technology for course organization and delivery.
We are now beginning the process of evaluating the overall organization of Academic Affairs.  We are re-examining the roles and functions of our academic departments in education and faculty development, the organization of the graduate programs and research, including development of a robust clinical research program, and ways to grow our residency programs.  Throughout it all, we will rely on data driven assessment to guide planning and provide the feedback we need to make adjustments and achieve the goals of the strategic plan.
Our success as an academic institution is ultimately meaured by how effectively we prepare our professional and graduate students for successful and productive careers well ito the twenty-first century.  Success is owed to, and depends on, the college community working together to continuously evaluate, redefine and achieve our institutional goals and our shared vision.

David Troilo, Ph.D.
Vice-President and Dean for Academic Affairs
 - M A I N   F E A T U R E -

New Professional Program Curriculum Increases Clinical Exposure


The integrative track is a hallmark of the College's new curriculum, extending throughout the2nd Year Student Records on EMR as Intern Conducts Exam first three years of the professional program  The track combines lecture, small groups and increasing clinical exposure to provide a foundation for optometric practice that incorporates basic and clinical sciences.  


Dr. Leon Nehmad explained that during the first year, students observe clinic sessions in the University Eye Center (UEC) and participate in small group discussions that cover weekly lecture topics parelleling material learned in other courses.  Students learn to present cases and conduct literature searches relating to lecture topics and cases observed.  As in other years, both basic and clinical science faculty participate in the course.


In the second year, students record exams performed by third and fourth year interns in the primary care clinic.  In addition to learning the electronic medical record (EMR), students become more intimately acquainted with the examination process through their increased clinical participation and collaboration with upperclass students.  The lecture sessions provide them the opportunity to work in small groups and to formulate clinical decisions supported by basic science knowledge.


As the student gains clinical knowledge, greater emphasis is placed on patient assessment and management, supported by evidenced-based medicine in their third year.  Sessions take place within pods, allowing for discussions that incorporate cases recently seen by both students and faculty.  The course culminates with a formal student Powerpoint presentation synthesizing the range of basic and clinical science aspects of the case.


The integrative track is an instrumental part of the College's strategic plan to provide an environment that develops critical thinking and life-long learning skills.  It has attracted the interest of other optometry schools.  An article on this aspect of the curriculum will appear in ASCO's (Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry) journal, Optometric Education, later this year.



Introduction of the Pod in the Clinical Curriculum



Clinic Pod IChanges in the profession of optometry and trends in health care are prompting us to find better ways of providing patient care in a clinic setting where our other goal is student education.  The expansion of what our graduating professionals need to know requires us to use every moment in the clinic as a teaching opportunity to promote life-long learning while providing excellent patient care.  Feedback from our faculty and interns as to what was most helpful in aiding student development as clinicians was combined with the above goals and resulted in the adoption of the "Pod", stated Dr. Julia Appel.  The starting point for introduction of this unique shift in the clinical curriculum was the Primary Care 3rd year clinical experience.


The Pod structure pairs two clinical faculty members with six interns to work together in the clinic over eight weeks.  This structure provides continuity of experience for the intern and allows the faculty members to monitor the intern's progress.  Patient care is provided in a more fluid, efficient manner where appropriate continuity of care is achieved.  In fact, initial surveys provided to both faculty and student members of the Pods were in agreement that the new clinical structure provided both good patient care and a good clinical educational setting.


One of the innovative ways of improving clinical education is with the introduction of the Integrative Seminar course in the clinic.  The same Pod group also meet one hour per week to discuss and learn from the cases on which they worked.  This provides a deeper understanding of the intricacies of diagnosis and management of the many ways our patients present to us for care, and provides an appropriate venue for critical thinking by the interns and to use their knowledge of basic science to strengthen clinical acumen.


The initiation of the Pod changed the grading system as well as patient scheduling.Clinic Pod 2  These changes have improved the accuracy of grades along with patient flow and wait time.  The Pod provides a constant assessment of how well our goals are met and allows a prompt response to any deficiencies, thus aiding in the success of the new clinical curriculum and the ability to care for patients. 

D I D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • That the SUNY State College of Optometry is now listed amongst colleges and universities with Smokefree Air Policies (both indoor and outdoor) in the U.S. published by the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation (ANRF) (http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/smokefreecollegesuniversities.pdf)  This is the culmination of the initiative by the College's Health, Safety and Energy Conservation Committee that is supported by President Heath through the adoption of the College's Smoke-free Policy.


- H I G H L I G H T S -

College Holds Winter Open House for Prospective Students 


More than 150 prospective optometry students, parents and guests gathered at SUNY Optometry's Winter Open House held January 6, 2011.


Dr. Jeffrey Philpott, Vice President for Student Affairs, welcomed the attendees and highlighted the advantages of a SUNY education, including the College's location in New York City and the unmatched clinical experiences that abound in the University Eye Center (UEC).


Offering a keynote address, Dr. Cathy Pace, Chief of Staff and Director of Professional Services, spoke about the profession of optometry and outlined some of the unique paths that OD students can follow upon graduation.


Attendees were then introduced to the various specialties within optometry by members of the faculty -- Dr. Richard Madonna, Chief of Ocular Disease; Dr. Barry Tannen on vision therapy; Dr. Jay Cohen on low vision, and, Dr. Ida Chung, Chief of Pediatrics, also spoke about the curriculum.


Mr. Gui Albieri, Director of Admission and Marketing, orchestrated the event and shared amusing insider's tips on how to build a powerful application for admission in a competitive environment.  Mr. Vito Cavallaro, Director of Financial Assistance, explained the various ways that students can finance their professional educations at SUNY.


The highlight of the program, according to those in attendance, was the panel of SUNY Optometry students who answered questions from the audience and shared their own experiences -- from preparing to take the OATs to finding a place to live the the New York City area.  The panelists included Ms. Jennifer Gould, Ms. Jessica Hall, Mr. Clinton Sugnet, Ms. Tammy Dang, Quy Nguyen and Ms Tina Douroudian.  Following the panel discussion, the panelists were joined by fellow students Ms. Allison Coffie, Ji Yun Lee, Mitali Sanghani and Yianni Gialousakis to help provide the tour of the College to the attendees.


Gund Foundation Awards Grant for General Operating Support


The Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation has awarded the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) a $10,000 grant for general operating support.  This grant represents increased support in honor of the College's 40th anniversary.  Dr. Gordon Gund received an honorary degree from the College in 2008.


The generosity of the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation will enable the SUNY College of Optometry to continue to provide high quality eye and vision care to the most vulnerable New Yorkers; play a key role in training the next generation of knowledgeable and compassionate eye care providers; and help advance the body of research knowledge in the field, facilitating "lab to bedside" collaborations between basic and clinical research scientists.


"We are delighted to continue our partnership with the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation in this 40th anniversary year, as we re-dedicate ourselves to providing leadership in patient care, education and research", said President Heath



SUNY Optometry Introduces Moodle Online Course Management System


 In keeping with our goal of utilizing state of the art delivery mechanisms for our educational content, the Academic Affairs Department proudly introduces Moodle as our online course management system.  The Information Technology Department and the Committee on Learning Resources evaluated a number of online content delivery systems before deciding that Moodle would best meet the needs of our faculty and students, reported Ms. Elaine Wells, Library Director.


Where does "Moodle" get its name?  It is "Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment".  It enables faculty to deliver their courses in creative and innovative ways and makes the learning experience available 24/7.  Moodle has also generated a great deal of positive buzz in the education community.  An Educause-sponsored blog recently featured this post from a satisfied user:


"I can't live without it, students love it too!  I have even taught teachers not into technology how to use it.  The possibilities are endless."


Here at SUNY Optometry, faculty members are utilizing Moodle to integrate a variety of innovative teaching tools into their online course content.  Online course presentations include links to websites that provide simulations of vision, video resources, audio files of lectures, journal articles on "electronic reserve", practice guidelines, team projects and case reports.  Moodle also facilitates the discussion of learning experiences through forums and blogs, and can even be integrated with the Turning Point "clicker" system for online delivery of quizzes and surveys.  One SUNY Optometry student summed it up by saying "The courses are nicely laid out and everything is there!"  We look forward to expanding our Moodle presence and developing new and innovative ways of making our learning environment available anytime, anywhere.



- U N I V E R S I T Y   E Y E   C E N T E R -
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

More than 2 million Americans, ages 40 and older, suffer from glaucoma.  Nearly half of these individuals do not know they have the disease as it causes no early symptoms in most people.  The following information about Glaucoma is for our readers.

Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders leading to progressive damage to the optic nerve and is characterized by loss of nerve tissue resulting in loss of vision.  The ooptic nerve is a bundle of about one million individual nerve fibers and transmits the visual signals from the eye to the brain.  The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, is associated with an increase in the fluid pressure inside the eye.  This increase in pressure may cause progressive damage to the optic nerve and loss of nerve fibers.  Vion loss may result.  Advanced glaucoma may even cause blindness.  Not everyone with high eye pressure will develop glaucoma and many people with normal eye pressure will develop glaucoma.  When the pressure inside an eye is too high for that particular optic nerve, whatever that pressure measurement may be, glaucoma will develop.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S.  It most often occurs in people over age 40, however, a congenital or infantile form of glaucoma does exist.  People with a family history of glaucoma -- African Americans over the age of 40 and Hispanics over the age of 60 -- are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma.  Other risk factors include thinner corneas, chronic eye inflammation and use of medications that increase the pressure in the eyes.

The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, develops slowly and usually without any symptoms.  Many people do not become aware they have the condition until significant vision loss has occurred.  It initially affects peripheral or side vision, but can advance to central vision loss.  If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to significant loss of vision in both eyes and may even lead to blindness.

At the University Eye Center (UEC), we diagnose and treat patients who have glaucoma or who may be at risk for glaucoma.  We have the most up-to-date equipment and technology for the treatment of the disease.  As a preventive eye care measure, an annual, dilated eye examination is recommended for people at risk for glaucoma.

January has been designated "Glaucoma Awareness Month".  The doctors and staff at the UEC urge you to check your risk for glaucoma by calling 212-938-4001 to schedule an appointment.

- R E S E A R C H -
Jain, A., Zaidi, Q.(2011)  "Discerning nonrigid 3D shapes from motion cues."  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Soroka, M., Krumholz, D. and Wende, J.  "Glaucoma Among Patients Enrolled in a National Vision Care Plan".  Optometry, Journal of the American Optometric Association, (81) 12, 663-667.

Pan, Z., Yang, H. and Reinach, P.  "Transient receptor potential (TRP) gene superfamily encoding cation channels".  Human Genomics (in press)

Lee, B.B., Martin, P.R. and Grunert, U. (2011)  "Retinal connectivity and primate vision".  Progress in Retinal Research, 29, 622-639.

Cao, D., Lee, B.B. and Sun, H. (2011)  "Combination of rod and cone inputs in parasol ganglion cells of the magnocellular pathway".  Journal of Vision,10, 1-15.

Lee, B.B. and Sun, H.  (2011)  "Macaque ganglion cell responses to probe stimuli on modulated backgrounds".  Journal of Vision, 10, 1-14.

Lee, B.B. (2011) "Visual pathways and psychophysical channels in the primate".  Journal of Physiology, 41-47.

Lee, B.B., Sun, H. and Valberg, A.  (2011)  "Segregation of luminance and chromatic signals in the magnocellular and parvocellular pathways using a novel grating stimulus".  Journal of Physiology, 589, 59-73.

Bathija-Lala, B., Bass, S.J., Madonna, R.J. and Dayan, A.  "Choroidal neovascularization in a young healthy eye after LASIK".  Optometry: Journal of the American Optometric Association (81), 12, 632-637.

Presentations and Invited Talks
Soroka, M.   "Health Care Reform:  Implications for Optometry, Ophthalmology and Vision Plans".  Presented to the Vision Care Section of the American Public Health Association 138th Annual Meeting held November 8, 2010 in Denver, CO.

Reinach, P.  "Modulation of TRPV1-induced Responses to Injury in the Corneal Epithelium".  Seminar presentation at Ross Eye Institute, University of Buffalo (SUNY), Buffalo, NY.

Dr. Diane Adamczyk was the keynote speaker for the 80th Annual Conference of the New Zealand Association of Optometrists.  The conference was held in Paihia, Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

- P E R S O N N E L -
Ms. Xiomara VeraMs. Xiomara Vera has joined the Front Desk Staff of the Ocular Disease and Special Testing Service in the University Eye Center (UEC).  Previously employed with the Human Resources Administration, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Ms. Vera will work closely with patients, faculty and staff.

Ms. Mayra Horta
On December 13, Ms. Mayra Horta filled the position of Clerk I in the Primary Care unit (7th Floor) of the UEC.  Ms. Horta was a cashier at Food Bazaar Supermarket and has an Associated Degree in Business Administration from LaGuardia Community College.  Her duties include assisting patients at the front desk.

We welcome both Ms. Vera and Ms. Horta to the College community.







Ms. Kim Oliver has joined the Kohn Vision Science Library staff as Library Outreach and Service Coordinator. This position responds to a demonstrated need to provide awareness and information services to members of the college community working at remote sites, including alumni, adjunct faculty and other eye care practitioners, and will result in greater use of the valuable resources of the Library and improved patient care through the delivery of state of the art information.  Formerly part of the Office of Academic Affairs, Ms. Oliver will be working to assess the needs of these potential library users, developing awareness vehicles for increasing the Library's visibility and helping to coordinate targeted information services.





*The College would like to remind everyone that all job openings are posted on the College website --http://www.sunyopt.edu/HR/jobs.shtml.

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