F Y Eye - The Official Newsletter of the College
Issue 32February  2011
- P R E S I D E N T ' S   M E S S A G E -
President HeathThe College's first Summit on Student Engagement (see "Main Feature") was held earlier this month.  The Summit was an initiative by the College and the New York State Optometric Association to better understand student needs and, ultimately, to develop action strategies that will enhance the student experience while at SUNY Optometry and increase student engagement within the profession of optometry.
One of the objectives of "A Shared Vision", the College's strategic plan, states:  "The College will develop a post-graduate assessment program to evaluate the effectiveness of its education programs as reflected in career path satisfaction, the assumption of leadership posts and impact on the communities in which our graduates serve."
Our demonstrated attraction of highly qualified students and the delivery of a rigorous and contemporary curriculum will not be enough to accomplish this objective.  Indeed, this objective will require a student-centered and highly intentional approach to co-curriculum and to student engagement with their external professional community during their doctoral training.
The Summit represents but a first step in developing the programs and support systems to ensure our students are well prepared as they make important career decisions and engage communities throughout their professional lives.  At the College, we are recommitting to the student experience, and, over the next six months, will be developing the implementation plans for our new Center for Career Development.  The Center for Career Development will provide and coordinate programs, information and systems needed to ensure our graduates meet their professional goals.
I would offer congratulations to everyone involved, with special thanks to those leading the effort for, what by all measures was, an incredibly successful program.

David Heath, O.D., Ed.M.
 - M A I N   F E A T U R E -

SUNY Optometry Holds Student Retreat:  Summit on Student Engagement


Dr. Philpott and Quy Nguyen '13On Saturday, February 12th, SUNY College of Optometry partnered with the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA) to conduct the first ever student organized retreat known as the Summit on Student Engagement.  The ambitious, day-long agenda was developed over the course of four months by SUNY student leaders and the Office of Student Affairs, in close consultation with the NYSOA.  An important goal of the retreat was to better understand the factors that influence and discourage student involvement in organized optometry.


Welcoming remarks were given by the College's President, Dr. David Heath and the President of the NYSOA, Dr. Denise Whittam.  Dr. Jeffrey Philpott, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Mr. Gui Albieri, SUNY's Director of Admission and Marketing, moderated the six-hourPresident Heath responding to questions event in which they encouraged students to think creatively about the existing forces that encourage and prevent optimal levels of student engagement.  Mr. Quy Nguyen ('13) joined Dr. Philpott to present the results of the Student Affairs' Student Organizational Involvment Survey, and in the afternoon, Ms. Sara Jones ('12) led the participants through a series of activities to foster creative action plans for ongoing student involvement at the College.



Working in five separate groups, students developed perception windows and value curves and debated ideas to involve a larger number of students at the College and in the profession.  They acted out creative skits and made commitments to work onDr. Whittam, Pres. of NYSOA, guiding students a variety of projects in the coming months and years. 


Student leaders responsible for planning the retreat were:  Shilpi Ratra ('11), AOA Student Representative; Sara Jones ('12), AOSA Trustee; Quy Nguyen ('13), AOSA Trustee-Elect; Christine Ng ('12), NYSOA Trustee, and Jefferson Lin ('13), NYSOA Trustee Elect.  These student leaders were intent at the outset in their approach to developing the Summit: that the day-long retreat would be filled with action and lead to higher levels of student engagement at SUNY Optometry and in organized optometry.


Students in Workout GroupsThe additional student participants in the retreat were selected for their own respective track records of leadership, or for their potential for leadership, at SUNY and within the profession of optometry.  These participants were:  Dennis Chui ('11), Nazmul Hasan ('11), James Kim ('11), Jennifer Koh ('11), Nikki Yee ('11), Tiffany Liu ('12), Michael Montenare ('12), Andrea Olson ('12), Chung To ('12), Tammy Dang ('13), Matthew Geller ('13), Ji Yun Lee ('13), Rebecca Pitrasik ('13), Rajat Shetty ('13), Keith James ('14), Olga Kochurova ('14), Jennifer Kwok ('14), Kimberly Poirier ('14) and Meghan Schiffer ('14).  SUNY faculty members who partcipated were:  Dr. Ida Chung, Dr. Richard Madonna, Dr. Joan Portello, Dr. Richard Soden and Dr. Andrea ThauDr. Portello with studentsAdditional guests included Drs. Susan Fisher and Ray Pirozzolo from the NYSOA and Dr. Chris Quinn from the AOA.


Mr. To ('12) said "I have never been to an event like this.  This may have been one of the best educational opportunities for students that SUNY has ever had".


Dr. Heath commented that "students really ruled this day".


Student enthusiasm for the retreat ran high.  The Office of Student Affairs will begin to work with SUNY's student leaders to explore potential themes and the overall feasibility to host the 2nd Annual Summit on Student Engagement in the Winter of 2012.




New Contract Signed for Renovation of Floors 2, 3 and 3M 


Third Floor RenderingFollowing a competitive bidding process that resulted in the submission of 14 qualified proposals, Knightsbridge Construction Corporation of Great Neck, NY, was selected and after standard review and background checks, a contract was awarded.  An initial orientation meeting involving the contractor, the State University Construction Fund and the campus, was held on Thursday, February 10 with actual construction work expected to begin within four to six weeks.  Knightsbridge Construction Corporation has previous SUNY experience having done a lab fit at SUNY Farmingdale.  They have also done work for the US Postal Service and at an IRS facility in Holtsville.



D I D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • For the second year in a row, 100% of our students taking Part II of the National Board Examination in Optometry passed on their 1st attempt.  Congratulations to the Class of 2011 ! 

National Board Results Part II 


  • While there has been a significant gender shift in optometry school enrollments with approximately 2/3 of all students currently being female, the impact on the demographics of providers is still emerging.  In New York State approximately 38% of optometrists are female.  Soroka, M., Workforce Analysis.  Center for Vision Care Policy, SUNY College of Optometry.




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

Graduate Connections Grant Awarded to Third Year Student 


Mr. Michael Montenare '12Mr. Michael Montenare, Class of 2012, is the SUNY College of Optometry winner of the Graduate Connections Grant.  Co-sponsored by Hoya Vision Care, a leading lens technology company, and Cleinman Performance Partners, the leading business development consultancy for large optometry practices, the grant, valued at $3,000, underwrites all expenses associated with attending a Cleinman Performance Network meeting, a business development network comprised of many of North America's leading optometrists and owners of private practices.  This exclusive invitation holds the potential for employment, including association leading to ownership.


Michael was awarded the Grant for showing the interest, drive and determination to succeed in private practice Optometery.  As this is the third installment of the grant process, he will receive an all-expense paid trip to a Cleinman Performance Network meeting in either Chicago or Dallas.


The entire cost of the Graduate Connections Grant Program is underwritten by HOYA Vision Care and Cleinman Performance Partners, Inc.  Together, these companies are working to preserve the health and vitality of independent practice optometry.  Their allied vision is the strategic rationale in assisting select optometry students to connect with members of Cleinman Performance Network.


Congratulations to Michael on winning this award! 



College Hosts Foundation Fighting Blindness Chapter Meeting


On February 9, 2011, The SUNY College of Optometery hosted the New York Chapter Meeting of the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) in the Schwarz Theater.  Sixty participants attended the presentation:  Low Vision:  Diagnostics, Genetics and Rehabilitation.  Attendees were FFB constituents of all ages, many of whom have retinal degenerative diseases.  The program was emceed by Dr. Richard Soden, and presenters included Dr. Richard Madonna, Dr. Sherry Bass and Dr. William O'Connell.     


Continuing Professional Education for Spring 2011 

2011 is certainly shaping up to be a new, innovative, fresh and exciting year for the Office of Continuing Professional Education.  The CPE Office reprised two of their annual Sunday programs.  The New York Glaucoma Symposium which was held at the LaGuardia Marriott on January 23 and SUNY's Day in Oral Pharmaceuticals held the following Sunday, January 30, at the College.  Once again, both programs were a tremendous success.


This March will mark the return of the Major Resident Presentations taking place this year on March 9th and 10th.  This program covers a wide-ranging and extensive array of topics that are sure to stimulate the interests of every optometrist.  Make sure to register early for this program, as it has grown in both size and popularity.


March will also bring another opportunity to attend the CE-NY series.  CE-NY is the result of a collaborative effort between the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA) and SUNY.  In 2010, 335 optometrists took over 2000 hours in the CE-NY programs.  March 20, 2011 will be the first CE-NY program for the new year and will be held at Vision Expo East.  CE-NY will be a recurring program so please check the CPE website for upcoming program dates, as well as for the dates of other SUNY CE programs.


This past year marked the 9th Annual Envision New York conference.  With 545 optometrists in attendance, Envision New York was clearly an unqualified success.  The conference was home to 35 continuing education courses that ran over the course of three days.  Aside from the cutting edge continuing education, attendees had the opportunity to relax at the cocktail reception held, once again, at Havana Central.  This even provided an opportunity for alumni to get together and allow all conference attendees the opportunity to mingle.  The staff in the Office of Continuing Professional Education expresses their gratitude to all who attended the meeting.  Because of you, Envision New York continues to grow and succeed.  This year the 10th Annual Envision New York will be held October 22 - 24.  The staff of the Office of Continuing Professional Education looks forward to seeing you at this event and other CPE programs throughout the year.




SUNY Optometry Featured in Local Paper


SUNY College of Optometry was featured in Metro New York on Monday, February 7.  The article centered on the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics prediction that health care will be the fastest growing sector of the job market with dozens of fields expected to see an increase in demand.  One of these areas is optometry.  The article addressed the College's selective admissions process and class size.  President David A. Heath was interviewed and quoted.  President Heath stated that most health trends suggest a significant demand for eye care and that a great deal of eye disease and eye disorders are related to aging.  In preparation for this projected demand in the field, the college is re-evaluating its role with both students and the public.




- U N I V E R S I T Y   E Y E   C E N T E R -
February is Macular Degeneration and Low Vision Awareness Month

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in adults over age 50.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1.8 million people have AMD and another 7.3 million are at substantial risk for vision loss from AMD.  Caucasions are at higher risk for developing AMD than other races.  Women also develop AMD at an earlier age than men.  This eye disease occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small portion of the retina that is located on the inside back layer of the eye.  AMD is a loss of central vision that can occur in two forms: "dry" or atrophic and "wet" or exudative.
Most people with macular degeneration have the dry form.  Although there is considerable research occurring for a cure for the dry form, there is currently no known medical or surgical treatment.  The less common wet form may respond to injections that are aimed at reducing the bleeding that occurs with this form of macular degeneration.  In some cases, laser procedures, if diagnosed and treated early, may be beneficial.
The good news is that most patients with AMD can benefit from Low Vision Rehabilitation.  Few people are totally without sight.  Most individuals today who are classified as "blind" actually have remaining sight and, thanks to developments in the field of low vision rehabilitation, can be helped to make good use of it, improving their quality of life.  Optometrists who provide low vision rehabilitative services can provide the help and resources needed to gain back the independence and freedom that once seemed lost.  People with low vision can be helped with specialized low vision devices (e.g., magnifiers, telescopes, CCTV's, etc.) and can be taught a variety of techniques to perform daily activities with their remaining vision.

Some common symptoms of age-related macular degeneration are:  a gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of color vision, and a dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision.  If you experience any of these, contact us for a comprehensive examination.  Central vision that is lost to macular degeneration cannot be restored.
Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients such as lutein/zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases, including macular degeneration.

At the University Eye Center (UEC), doctors diagnose and treat patients who have age-related macular degeneration and it has the most up-to-date equipment and technology.  February has been designated "Macular Degeneration and Low Vision Awareness Month" and we urge you to schedule an appointment at the University Eye Center by calling 212-938-4001.

- R E S E A R C H -
Bass, S., Sherman, J. and Giovinazzo, V.(2011)  "Bilateral Coats' response in female patient leads to diagnosis of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy."   Optometry, Journal of the Ameriocan Optometric Association, Volume 82, Issue 2, February 2011, 72-76.
Khan, A.S., Song, J.H. and McPeek, R.  "The eye dominates in guiding attention during simultaneous eye and hand movements".  Human Genomics (in press)

Okada, Y., Reinach, P.S., et. al.  "TRPV1 involvement in the inflammatory tissue fibrosis in mice".  American Journal of Pathology (in press)

Presentations, Invited Talks, et. al.

The research of Dr. Jose-Manuel Alonso was recently featured on a PBS documentary titled "Magic and the Brain", which aired on February 2.  You can view the movie at 



Dr. Andrea Thau was cited in the March 2011 issue of Women's Health.  The article, in the Healthy Dose section of the publication and entitled "Is Life Going By in a Blur?", addresses a new vision problem called computer vision syndrome (CVS) that affect almost 90% of people who spend two or more continuous hours a day with their eyes glued to a screen 

- P E R S O N N E L -
Ms. Jean PakMs. Jean Pak has joined the Office of Academic Affairs in the newly created position of Academic Program Coordinator.  Jean was selected from a group of strong finalists following a national search process that included interviews by the Department Chairs, Clinical Administration and Office of the Registrar.  She will perform a variety of administrative duties in the overall management of the Office of Academic Affairs and will coordinate and help develop the administrative operations for all academic programs.  She will be a member of the Dean's Council and work closely with faculty, staff and administration to ensure the effective delivery of the professional degree and graduate programs.

Jean holds a B.A. in Economics from UC Davis and a M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from the University of Vermont.  Jean comes to the College from Fordham University where she was Assistant Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs.  Join us in welcoming her.



Dr. Lili Tu was appointed as Deputy Director of the Confucius Institute.Dr. Lili Tui  Dr. Tu was appointed to her position by President Qu Jia of Wenzhou Medical College and currently serves as a Professor of Immunology at Wenzhou to which she travels on a regular basis.  Dr. Tu holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Linfield College in Oregon and a Ph.D. in Immunology from Duke University.  She has authored and co-authored over 20 scientific papers and has been the recipient of grants from the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation and the China Department of Education.  Dr. Tu is at SUNY's Confucius Institute on a half-time basis.

Ms. Katy ZhangMs. Katy Zhang has joined the Office of Information Technology as the Clinical Systems Administrator.  In this role, Katy is responsible for administering and overseeing all clinical based information systems utilized in the University Eye Center.  She comes to us from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene where she was an EMR Implementation Specialist.  Prior to that, she was a Project Manager at Columbia University Medical Center.  Katy has a M.P.H. from Mount Sinai School of Medicine of New York University and a B.S. in Health Management and Policy from the University of New Hampshire.  Please join us in welcoming Katy to the College.


Dr. Rosine Alianakian has been appointed Interim Chief of Primary Care, effective FebruaryDr. Rosine Alianakian 21.  Dr. Lyndon Wong, current Chief of Primary Care, has accepted a position at the National Board of Optometry and will leave the College at the end of February.  For the past six years, Dr. Alianakian has served as the Assistant Chief of Primary Care, making her the ideal person for the interim position.  We thank Dr. Alianakian for the role she will assume during this transition period.





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

Copyright 2011, SUNY College of Optometry, All rights reserved.
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