Salutations Masthead 2011 

     August 2013    
In This Issue
Welcome President Mittelman
Orientation 2013
Dr Di Stefano Stepping Down
Dr Dizhoor Awarded Patent, Grant
Audiology Summer Workshops

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The Salus community warmly welcomes its newest members:   


Dr. Ruth Farber, associate professor, Occupational Therapy program  


Dr. Mike Mittelman, president


Leah Sack, clinical coordinator, The Eye Institute, Vision in Preschoolers program


Joe Schuler, Security 


Luis Trujillo, OD, instructor, PCO


Jane Tyson, administrative assistant, Technology


Andrea Carr Tyszka,
assistant professor, Occupational therapy program



The Salus University community offers sincere congratulations to the following members:  


Dr. Victor Bray, dean,Osborne College of Audiology, on his contributions to the July cover story "Integrating Vision and Hearing Care" in The Hearing Journal.


Mr. Samuel Menei '16OD,

on his recent engagement.


Dr. Satya Verma,

on his election to the Board of the Philadelphia Corporation for Ageing (PCA).
The University community extends sincere sympathy to the following members:
Dr. Audrey Smith, dean, College of Education and Rehabilitation, on the loss of her mother, Mary Jane Smith. 
Dr. Greg Caldwell Elected to AOA Board

Gregory A.Caldwell, OD '95, adjunct instructor, was elected to the Board of the American Optometric Association (AOA). Dr. Caldwell, who is a past president of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association (POA), was sworn in at the June AOA Optometry's Meeting in San Diego.

   The husband of Dana Gjurich Caldwell, OD '95, Dr. Greg Caldwell's brother is James M. Caldwell,OD '89, EdM, current dean of Student Affairs for the University.


Library Databases 

Mr. Keith Lammers, MLS, director of the Library and Learning Center and assistant professor, recently announced the addition of two useful databases to the Salus Community Collection.

  AccessMedicineŽ from McGraw-Hill is an innovative, online resource that provides students, residents, clinicians, researchers, and all health professionals with access to more than 75 medical titles from the best minds in medicine, updated content, thousands of images and illustrations, interactive self-assessment, case files, time-saving diagnostic and point-of-care tools and a comprehensive search platform. 

    PAEasy is a database that contains approximately 1,200 questions and answers that simulate the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certification Exam) and PANRE (Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam) tests with full explanations of the answers. This database contains a "Robust Performance Profile" that allows users to track their results performance by topic and test scores over time and to compare their scores to others using PAEasy, including test-takers at Salus. The program also provides three unique testing modes which include untimed practice mode, a timed exam, and a simulated test that replicates the official test and its conditions.

    Both databases are currently subscribed and linked in the regular manner on the main page of the Library website


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The layout may appear "skewed" at times on your screen. We make every attempt to avoid layouts where that type of distortion may occur; however, the situation is not something we can control. Thank you for your understanding! 

Welcome President Mittelman   
Dr Michael Mittelman August 2013Michael H. Mittelman, OD '80, MPH, officially began his presidency on July 15. Only the sixth president in the University's 94-year history, Dr. Mittelman immediately instituted "100 Days of Listening." As he explained to the professional staff in a July meeting, he will be doing a lot of "walking, talking and asking questions," in addition to listening before his first 100 days in office end in late October.

     In the first few weeks after his arrival, Dr. Mittelman invited faculty, students and staff to attend one of a series of informal meetings to be held on the Elkins Park campus and at The Eye Institute, which afforded him an opportunity to meet and listen to many.

     Another initiative was the introduction of tiger teams - four teams of three members each, representing students, faculty and staff. In an internal letter to the Salus community explaining the teams' purpose, Dr. Mittelman noted, "Before I  make changes, I need to understand what you think are our strengths and challenges." The tiger teams have been charged with soliciting answers from their colleagues and peers to three questions: "What three things would make Salus a better place? "What is working exceptionally well?" and "What can use improvement?" The teams will present their findings to Dr. Mittelman at the end of October. 

     One of the highest-ranking medical commanders of the US Armed Forces, Dr. Mittelman retired in June as a Rear Admiral and Deputy Surgeon General of the US Navy after 33 years of military service. The American flag flown over the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery while he was in command was given to Dr. Mittelman at  his naval retirement ceremony. He presented the flag to then Salus president, Dr. Thomas L. Lewis, who donated it to the University.

     On August 19, a special flag raising ceremony was held on the Elkins Park campus with a color guard from the US Army Recruiting Command in Philadelphia and an honor guard comprised of Salus faculty and students who are active or inactive military veterans. The honor guard members who raised the flag were: Dr. Charles M. Wormington (USAF, Lt Colonel, ret.); Dr. Richard C. Vause, Jr. (US Public Health Service, Capt. ret.); Mr. Daniel P. Scott, PA-C (US Public Health Service, Lt. Commander, active); Dr. Michael Rebar (USAF Reserve, Captain, acitve); Mr. Samuel Menei '16OD (Delaware National Guard, Captain, active) and Mr. Jonathan Jacesko '17OD (USNR, Lieutenant, active).   (Photos of ceremony) (photo credit Dan Z. Johnson).

Orientation 2013 

On Monday, August 12 the University welcomed incoming students to campus for the Optometry and Audiology Class of 2017, the Physician Assistant and Occupational Therapy Class of 2015, and the Biomedicine (PhD) and Clinical Optometry (MSc) programs.

    In his welcome, President Mittelman told the students that he and they would "learn together," saying, "you will be learning for your future patients." He spoke of the importance of "compassion - taking care of the person, the patient. and learning how to listen." Dr. Mittelman also noted that a professional, graduate school  environment is very different from an undergraduate environment, and requires the need to "commit to studying, to understanding your new responsibilities and, ultimately, to learning professionally." 

     Dr. Anthony F. Di Stefano, vice president of Academic Affairs, told the students that with today's challenging healthcare system, in addition to beoming "caring, competent healthcare professionals, you will be part of the evolution and solution of healthcare."  

     On this first day of a week filled with handbooks, seminars, informational sessions and social activities, the 280 new students also heard from Deans James M. Caldwell, OD, EdM (Student Affairs); Linda Casser, OD (Optometry); Victor H. Bray, PhD (Audiology);  Audrey Smith, PhD

 (Education and Rehabilitation); Richard C. Vause, Jr. PA-C, DSc.(Physician Assistant) and Fern Silverman, PhD (Occupational Therapy).

(pictured above, Physician Assistant Class of 2015 with Drs. Mittelman and Vause).

Dr. Di Stefano to Step Down in 2014    
Anthony F. Di Stefano, OD '73, MEd, MPH,vice president of Academic Affairs for the University has anDr Anthony F. Di Stefanonounced he will be stepping down in June 2014.
     Dr. Di Stefano was the architect of many of the new accredited degree programs and innovative program delivery methods established during his 24 years as head of the Academic Affairs department. He is proud to  continue leading the continued transformation of the optometry program through such initiatives as Curriculum 2000. This strong commitment led to a vibrant research program distinctive among private schools of optometry.

     Salus president, Dr. Michael H. Mittelman,  said, "As Dr. Di Stefano prepares to step down from his position next year, I cannot help but reflect upon the impact he has had on Pennsylvania College of Optometry and Salus University, as well as all of those students - myself included - he has positively influenced over his tenure at our great institution."

     Salus University's graduate Public Health programs, begun in 2010, were a direct result of Dr. Di Stefano's commitment to the Salus mission to "protect and advance the health and wellbeing of the public." After stepping down on June 30 of next year, Dr. Di Stefano will take a year's sabbatical, during which time he intends to develop "world class programs" in public health for the University. In an internal announcement to the Salus community he noted, "PCO afforded me an opportunity to earn my Master of Public Health degree at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1974. This experience was transformative in my professional life and I hope to 'pass it on' through my continued work at Salus."

     Salus' immediate past president, Dr. Thomas L. Lewis, who worked closely with Dr. Di Stefano for many years said, "No one has contributed more to Salus University over the last 25 years than Tony Di Stefano."

      The University has begun the search process for a successor to Dr.

Di Stefano and has engaged the search firm Isaacson and Miller, whose team will be led by Sean Farrell (  

Dr. Dizhoor Awarded Patent, Grant Renewal
 In June, Dr. Alexander Dizhoor, professor and Hafter Chair of Pharmacology, and his co-inventor, Zhuo-Ha Pan of Wayne State University, were granted a patent (U.S. Patent # 8470790) for their work, "Restoration of visual responses by in vivo delivery of rhodopsin nucleic acids."

   In May 2006 Dr. Dizhoor and Dr. Pan's research group published a collaborative paper in Neuron,* describing how they could artificially impart the ability to generate light responses to ganglion cells in a mouse retina. Normally, only one type of neurons in the retina, called photoreceptor cells, is capable of generating light response that eventually becomes transmitted into the visual cortex of the brain. Dr. Dizhoor noted that "this is why human patients suffering from inherited blinding diseases that destroy photoreceptors lose their vision."  Other neurons in the retina (called horizontal, bipolar, amacrine and ganglion cells) are required to process the signal from photoreceptors but cannot generate visual response to the light on their own. As Dr. Dizhoor explained, "We reasoned that if we turn these other neurons into light-sensitive cells, they would become able to respond to light directly, even in the absence of photoreceptors.  In order to do that we made the ganglion cells of the retina produce a microbial light-sensitive protein called channel rhodopsin. This protein reacts to light by opening a flow of ions into the cell, generating electrical pulse that becomes transmitted into visual cortex of the brain - a portion of the brain where light signals from the retina normally end up. As a result, we made a mouse completely lacking photoreceptors (and therefore completely blind) capable of detecting light again. We reason that this method, if properly developed in the future, could help restore visual perception in human patients whose photoreceptor cells are destroyed by congenital blinding disease."

     Additionally, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has renewed Dr. Dizhoor's research grant. The $1.57 million grant, "Regulation of cyclic GMP synthesis in photoreceptors," was renewed for four years.

 (*Bi, A., Cui, J., Ma, Y.-P., Olshevskaya, E., Pu, M., Dizhoor, A.M., Pan, Z.-H.  Ectopic expression of a microbial-type rhodopsin restores visual response in mice with photoreceptor degeneration. Neuron 50, 23-33). 

Audiology Summer Workshop Series 


In what will be an annual occurrence, the University's Osborne College of Audiology began its Summer Workshop series on June 27, with a one-day, hands-on workshop in Cerumen Management on the Elkins Park campus co-sponsored by the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) and the New Jersey Academy of Audiology (NJAA). NJ Audiologists are now able to perform Cerumen Management (the removal of earwax) as part of their state scope of practice after they complete a prescribed set of training exercises.

     In July the College held two four-day workshops"Auditory Processing and Disorders," and  "Electrophysiology in Audiology," for audiologists who desire intensive training for specialization in a targeted area of study.  The workshops, held in Elkins Park, featured lectures and hands-on demonstration and training, and were taught by expert faculty.

     The four-day workshops are an integral part of the University's new Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree bridge program. This program is designed for mid-career audiologists, who will bring the value of practical experience to their program of study.  The program's objective is to enhance each student's breadth of knowledge in current trends and recent advances in hearing science, diagnostic and rehabilitative technologies and the profession of audiology. Completion of two summer workshops is part of the required curriculum for this program. (shown above, faculty and students from the Auditory Processing Disorders workshop)