F Y Eye - The Official Newsletter of the College
Issue 33March  2011
- P R E S I D E N T ' S   M E S S A G E -
2011 Major Gifts CampaignOn Friday evening, March 18th, the College's affiliated foundation, the Optometric Center of New York, held its annual fund-raiser, the "Eyes on New York" gala.  Marking the start of the Foundation's 55th anniversary year and the 40th for the College, the evening celebrated the past while embracing the promise of the future.

Against the background of a continuing decline in State support for public higher education, the commitment of the College of Optometry's extended family was heartening as new records for attendance and monies raised were established.
While this year's Gala celebrated the College's 40th anniversary year, the occasion launched the public phase of our $10M major gifts campaign: "The Vision and the Promise - Campaign for SUNY College of Optometry".  On September 24, 2009, the OCNY Board of Trustees voted to begin the campaign, the largest in College history, in the midst of the most tumultuous economic environment since the great depression.  It was the right decision.  As of Wednesday, March 16, 2011, and with the support of 100% of the OCNY Board of Trustees, we have received $5,065,480 in commitments.
This unprecedented effort will require the support of alumni, friends, industry and foundations to provide new resources which will fortify the entire institution, support creative new initiatives and, indeed, assure continuing of excellence.  In the months ahead you will hear more about "The Vision & the Promise:  A Campaign for SUNY College of Optometry" and we hope you will join us in our efforts.  

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

SUNY Optometry Kicks Off Major Gifts Campaign 


Eyes on New York Gala Honorees: Larry Roth, Marge Axelrad & Al BergAs of Friday, March 21, 2011, the SUNY State College of Optometry celebrated the start of its 40th Anniversary and the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY), its affiliated Foundation, its 55th Anniversary.  The OCNY held its annual Eyes on New York Gala fundraiser on Friday at Cipriani's on 42nd Street.  The event represented the start of both anniversaries and the beginning of the public phase of the College's $10M major gifts campaign:  The Vision & the Promise - The Campaign for SUNY College of Optometry.

   2011 Gala Awards

The Gala honored three well-known leaders in the ophthalmic industry -- Marge Axelrad, Sr. Vice President/Editorial Director, Jobson Optical Group; Al Berg, Chief Executive Officer, and Larry Roth, Executive Vice President, both of Marchon.  SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher gave welcoming remarks.  The event highlighted the history of both the College and the Foundation and helped raise funds for the numerous programs in the College and its University Eye Center that are funded by the Foundation.  Ms. Ann Warwick, Executive Director of the OCNY, said that "...this was the most successful Gala in the College's history".


President Heath & Chancellor ZimpherAward Presented to Ms. Marge Axelrad by event Co-Chair Mike Daley and OCNY President Richard Feinbloom

This effort, with the support of alumni, faculty, staff, the college community of friends, industry and foundations, will help provide new resources which will fortify the institution, support creative new initiatives and maintain the institution's2011 Gala Attendees margin of excellence.


The Campaign will end in early 2014.




D I D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • The College's affiliated foundation, the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY), was established 55 years ago, in 1956, when the clinical care unit of Columbia University's School of Optometry closed its doors.
  • The OCNY provides hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to support student scholarships, indigent patient care and faculty research efforts.
  • The OCNY's annual fund-raising event, the Eyes On New York Gala, broke all records for the event last week with approximately 400 attendees and over $300,000 raised. 


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

College's Site Visit for MSCHE and ACOE Accreditation - April 10 - 13, 2011


The College's Middle States Commission on Higher Education-Accreditation Council on Optometric Education accreditation site visit will take place April 10 - 13, 2011.  A large segment of the College's community has participated in the pre-accreditation self-study process.  Seven working groups composed of faculty and staff have reviewed College operations in several key areas that include planning and assessment, student learning and curriculum, research and scholarship, student affairs, clinic operations, administration and finance.  The reports written by the working groups formed the basis for the final self-study document.


Accreditation in higher education is being rapidly transformed with a much greater emphasis now being placed on meaningful assessment.  This assessment involves both student learning and general college operations.  The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has taken a leadership role in this area with the result that its member institutions (including the College) are undergoing considerably greater scrutiny to ensure that they use assessment to continually improve operations.


Accreditation is a College-wide process that involves everyone.  What can each member of the community do to prepare for the April site visit?  Dr. Steven Schwartz, Chair of the Self-Study Steering Committee, recomends the following:




SUNY College of Optometry Has Best SEFA Campaign Since 2001! 

 SEFA New York City

The 2010-2011 SUNY Optometry's State Employees Federated Appeal (SEFA) Campaign shattered previous fund raising totals since 2001.  In one of the worst years for the New York City SEFA Campaign in its many years of fund raising, the SUNY College of Optometry raised $15,689.  This surpasses last year's total of $12,628 and the campus' previous 2nd highest total of $15,265 in the 2007-08 Campaign.  The highest funds ever raised by SUNY Optometry was $19,129 in the 2001-02 SEFA Campaign.  Although past campaigns had higher employee participation with the highest being in the 2001-02 campaign (134), the 2010-11 had an increase in employee participation from the last three campaigns.  Ms. Karen DeGazon wishes to thank everyone who participated in SUNY College of Optometry's SEFA Campaign in helping to make this campaign one of its most successful!  President Heath expresses "great appreciation to Ms. DeGazon for her leadership on behalf of SEFA and thank you to all who gave".


Restructuring Oversight in the Clinical Education Program


Dr. Mitchell Dul, Chair of Clinical Sciences Department, and Dr. David Troilo, Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, are pleased to announce a significant restructuring and change in responsibilities in the clinical education program.  These changes are aimed at providing innovative and effective instructional strategies for clinical education.


Third Year Optometric Clinic Instructor of Record


Dr. Julia AppelDr. Julia Appel has been named as the Instructor of Record for the third year optometric clinic.  Dr. Appel completed her training at the SUNY State College of Optometry and her residency at the Northport VA Medical Center in Northport, NY.  She will be responsible for creating, implementing and assessing the third year clinical programs, as well as coordinating the quantity and quality of patient care and evaluating the quality of clinical teaching activities.  Dr. Appel will retain her role as an educational facilitator for the third year and instructor of record for third year Integrative Seminar.




Fourth Year Optometric Clinic Instructor of Record and Director of Externships


Dr. Patricia Modica has been named Instructor of Record for the fourth year optometric clinic and Director of Externships.  Dr. Modica completed her training at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and her residency at Hahnemann Medical Center in Philadelphia, PA.  She will be responsible for the coordination, assessment and continued development of the fourth year clinical education program.  As Director of Externships, she will be responsible for the fourth year clinical rotation selection process and will oversee and evaluate the qualities of the externship programs.  Dr. Modica will retain her role as an educational facilitator for the fourth year and course coordinator for Ocular Disease III.


Clinical Education Coordinator


Dr. Leon NehmadDr. Leon Nehmad has been appointed Clincal Education Coordinator.  Dr. Nehmad completed his training at the SUNY State College of Optometry and his residency at the Hudson Valley VA Medical Center.  He will be responsible for coordinating in-house student clinic schedules in consultation with the 3rd and 4th year clinic coordinators.  Dr. Nehmad will work directly with the Director of Professional Services, Service Chiefs and Section Coordinators of the University Eye Center to coordinate clinic schedules and implement educational goals.  He also will be responsible for the ongoing assessment of in-house clinic programs.  In this capacity, he will be a member of the Clinic Council.  Dr. Nehmad will retain his role as an educational facilitator for the third year and course coordinator of second year Integrative Seminar.



SUNY Optometry Faculty Member Receives AOA Healthy Eyes Healthy People 2010 Grant


Dr. Joan Portello, Associate Professor, was awarded an AOA Healthy Eyes Healthy People 2010Dr. Joan Portello grant.  The grant is to continue to promote the awareness for the prevention of eye disease related to diabetes and, specifically to target low income minority groups throughout the five boroughs of New York City; to educate low-income minorities in the importance of healthcare for the prevention of diabetic health complications and to maintain regular comprehensive eye examinations to detect early diabetic changes in the eye.  The grant is sponsored by the AOA Foundation Community Grants and Luxottica.  The project is funded from July 2010 to September 2011.  Healthy People 2010 is a national health promotion and disease prevention initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Its goals are to increase the quality and years of healthy life and eliminate health disparities.


Dr. Portello represents the American Optometric Association as a state consultant and attends the meetings of the Brooklyn Diabetic Task Force to encourage and implement eye care in the prevention of diabetic eye disease.  Diabetic Vision Screenings are held at the College, in conjunction with services provided by the Community Health Promotion & Public Health Services (NYCHHC) of New York City.  Educational lectures are also given at the College throughout the year.  Lectures are open to the public of New York City and include topics such as making lifestyle changes to prevent diabetic eye disease.



SUNY Offers Continuing Education Credit through Residents Major Presentation Program


Earlier this month, SUNY offered the College faculty and the greater optometric community an opportunity to obtain CE credit by attending its Residents Major Presentation Program.  The program was held March 9 and 10, 2011.  Year after year, the program continues to grow both in size and in scope with this year being no exception.  In total, there were 382 attendees at the two-day event with a total of 2,014 hours of CE credit provided.  This event is a wonderful opportunity for SUNY to showcase the talented individuals who are in the Residency program.  The CE staff look forward to seeing as many optometrists as possible attend the program next year.      


- U N I V E R S I T Y   E Y E   C E N T E R -
March is "Save Your Vision Month"

March has been designated as "Save Your Vision Month".  The doctors and staff at the University Eye Center want to remind you about the importance of good vision and healthy eyes.  Seeing clearly and maintaining healthy eyes are important for people of all ages.  Children need to see clearly while reading, adults need to be able to perform their work efficiently, and seniors need to be aware of the risks of age related eye diseases.  Comprehensive eye exams are an important part of your overall healthcare.  Examinations at every stage of life can detect vision problems that, if caught early, can be treated.
As March is "Save Your Vision Month", the UEC is offering a few tips regarding "good vision and healthy eyes":
  1. People who sit in front a computer for long periods of time often encounter a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.  Headaches, neck strain, backaches and wrist pain are common, but, sadly, the most prevalent symptoms of prolonged computer use (e.g. eye strain, blurred vision and dry eyes, etc.) are overlooked.  In fact, eye and vision problems are the most frequently reported health care concerns among computer users.  We suggest you have you eyes checked to assure optimal functioning while using a computer.
  2. Caring for your eyes includes paying attention to nutrition.  Approximately 43 million Americans suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or cataracts, the two leading causes of vision loss and blindness.  Based on research from multiple studies, there is a strong correlation between good nutrition and the prevention of these age-related eye diseases.  By eating foods rich in six nutrients -- antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E, and the mineral zinc -- you can help protect your eye sight and vision.
  3. Many factors contribute to a child's ability to achieve their academic potential.  Good eyesight is a key component.  It is estimated that vision accounts for as much as 80% of the learning process for a child.  Reading, writing, chalkboard work, and computer use are among the visual tasks students perform daily.  Vision is more than seeing clearly, or having 20/20 eyesight.  It is also the capacity to comprehend and process what is seen.  Basic visual skills include the ability to use both eyes together as a team, move them effectively, and focus the eyes.  Without these basic skills, a child's ability to achieve his or her true potential in the classroom is hindered.  Children's eyes are constantly in use in the classroom, as well as in extracurricular activities such as sports.  A comprehensive eye examination can assure that a child's eyes are healthy and working well.
  4. Each day, about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  Approximately 60 percent of workers sustaining eye injuries were not wearing proper protective eyewear, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  "I didn't think I needed them" should never be the answer to why safety glasses were not worn.  An estimated 90 percent of eye injuries could be prevented through the use of proper protective eyewear on the job, according to the National Eye Institute (NEI).  Safety eyewear is now available in a variety of new styles and materials that make it more attractive and comfortable to wear.

There are many other ways to promote "good vision and healthy eyes".  A good starting place is to schedule a comprehensive eye examination.  The University Eye Center diagnoses and treats patients with the most up-to-date equipment and technology.  March is "Save Your Vision Month" and you are urged to schedule an appointment for an eye examination.  Appointments can be made at the UEC by calling 212-938-4001.

- R E S E A R C H -
First SUNY/CUNY Graduate Student Research Expo in Albany

On March 8, the Graduate and Research Committee of the SUNY Faculty Senate sponsored an exposition of graduate student research from both SUNY and CUNY.  The exposition was held in the Legislative Office Building in Albany.  This is an inaugural event to highlight graduate research in both university systems.  Each presenter received a frameable plaque about their selection for this statewide symposium which could contribute to their research or academic careers and had opportunities to communicate their research with other researchers.  The symposium was held in the "Well" of the Legislative Office Building where the elected state officials pass.  The location allowed visibility of the universities to the legislators and to give thought to the importance of the research being done at SUNY and CUNY when deciding the State budget.  Photographers took videos and photos of the participants with the elected local officials.

The two representatives from the Graduate Center for Vision Research at SUNY College of Optometry and who presented research posters were:  Prethi Thiagarajan.  "Oculomotor Deficits in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury" (K. Ciuffreda, advisor).  Nili Parekh.  "Triptolide Stimulates Migration in Human Corneal Epithelial Cells via p38MAPK and JNK" (R. Reinach, Advisor).


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 American 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)

Gelfond-Polnariev, I.  "Looking at Eyes:  How vision problems can create trouble in school".  Staten Island Family, March 2011.

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.


Mr. Robert Ennis is the recipient of the 2011 Elsevier/Vision Research Travel Award (VSS [Vision Science Society] Student Travel Award).  This award allows him to attend the 2011 Annual VSS Meeting.  An extremely competitive award, nearly 150 applicants expressed an interest this year.  Recommendations from the Awards Committee are based upon a wide range of factors that include the applicant's statement, letters of recommendation, and the scientific merit and potential impact of the research.  Mr. Ennis' application was judged to be one of the top 20 student research projects.  The Elsevier/Vision Research Travel Award comes with a $500 prize to assist in defraying some of the costs of attending the VSS conference. 


- P E R S O N N E L -


*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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