Salutations Masthead 2011 

     September 2013    
In This Issue
Fall 2013 Commencment
Dean Casser To Step Down
Faculty Appointments
SOSH 2013: Haiti
Audiology Grand Rounds Winners

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The Salus community warmly welcomes its newest members:   


Christine Barkley,  administrative assistant, Speech-Language Pathology program, College of Education and Rehabilitation
Irene Inman, RN, PCO, Foundations of Optometric Medicine
Monae Kelsey, associate director of Student Engagement and assistant director of Admissions
Asami Kojima, administrative assistant, Academic Affairs
Mitchell McCready, clinical coordinator I, The Eye Institute, Vision in Preschoolers
The Salus University community offers sincere congratulations to the following members:  
Dr. Mitchell Scheiman,
associate dean, Clinical Research and

director, Pediatric and Binocular Vision programs, who  

presented at a Veterans Administration training program developed in cooperation with the Department of Defense and the VA Vision Center of Excellence in Spokane WA in August. The "Managing Vision DIsorders Following Traumatic Brain DIsorders" program was attended by an interdisciplinary group of ODs, MDs and vision rehabilitation specialists.


Erica Tow '14OD, 
who was the highest scoring PCO student in the March NBEO Part 1 Applied Basic Science exam. 
Dr. Melissa Vitek, assistant professor and director, Advanced Studies and Electives, who represented The Eye Institute's Chestnut Hill office at a lecture on prevention and updates on common eye problems including glaucoma, dry eye, diabetic eye care, etc., at the Center on the Hill last month. 
Audiology Students Need 
Our Support  by September 30!

In order to help finance an October humanitarian trip to Appalachia, the Salus chapter of the Student Academy of Audiology is selling Yankee Candle products until Monday, September 30.

   Candles can be purchased online by using GroupNumber: 990053972 when you go to the Yankee Candle fundraising website. 

     If you would like to do more than purchase Yankee Candle products to help, please contact Dr. Jonette Owen at





Friday, November 15

Where: Hafter Student Center 



Brian Westbrook,  

CBS commentator and former Philadelphia Eagle  

and Dr. Janet Samuels, Norristown

Area School District Superintendent



Come join the fun at the 7th annual Looking Out for Kids silent auction. Help benefit under-insured and uninsured area children who, thanks to this event, receive vision exams and glasses at The Eye Institute.


For information: 


OCA To Host Preceptor Workshop

The Osborne College of Audiology is offering a one-day workshop, "Becoming A Better Preceptor" on October 25 on the Elkins Park campus. The workshop, which was pending approval of 0.6 AAA credits at press time, will be presented by Sharon Sandridge, PhD, who will speak on "Who Is a Preceptor?" "Today's Students: Who Are They?" and "Effective Communications Strategies." For more information, contact Dr. Jonette Owen at




A new food co-operative

can now be found in the heart of town, right next to the Elkins Park train station. Residents and area workers can now enjoy a selection of groceries, deli and prepared foods. Co-op member and Physician Assistant program associate professor, Margaret Mulligan, MD, advises that shoppers do not need to be members to enjoy the quality products offered.
Creekside Co-op is located at 7909 High School Road, Elkins Park.


 Fall 2013 Commencement    
On Monday, September 16, Salus University held its fall commencement.  After a morning filled with sporadic showers, the sun came out just before the processional from the University's Hafter Student Center began.

     The Physician Assistant (PA) graduates, faculty, University macebearer Dr. John J. Fitzgerald, and Salus President Michael H. Mittelman, OD, MPH, FAAO, walked in bright sunshine to the Congregation Keneseth Israel synagogue located across the street from the Elkins Park campus.

      Graduates and their families and friends were welcomed by President Mittelman, who joked they were getting a "two-fer," because he was also the keynote speaker. PA Class of 2013 president, Ms. Crystal Lee Halloran, told her fellow graduates that, collectively, the class had seen more than 50,000 patients and reminded them that the symbol of their profession - the white coat - was a "symbol of service, not status."

       After an introduction given by vice president of Academic Affairs, Dr. Anthony F. Di Stefano, Dr. Mittelman told the graduates, "As you transition from a life of being a full-time student to one of a health care professional, healer and life-long learner,  you have to not only embrace the opportunities afforded you, but also must have the courage and determination to transform those opportunities into accomplishments." 

      Honors for exceptional work (summa cum laude, magna cum laude and laude) were announced by Dr. James M. Caldwell, dean of Student Affairs. A record 33% of the graduates earned honors and seven students were inducted into the Pi Alpha National Honor Society, a prestigious recognition that requires a 3.5 GPA and demonstrated excellence.  

      The recipient of this year's Pi Alpha Society Award to a non-physician assistant was revealed to be Dr. John J. Fitzgerald, medical director and associate program director. PA program director, Dr. Richard C. Vause, Jr., presented the award to a surprised Dr. Fitzgerald, explaining to the audience that it is bestowed once a year on an individual who has "made outstanding contributions of time and effort in support of the physician assistant profession."

       After the recognition of honors awardees and receiving their diplomas the graduates led the procession back to the Hafter Center, where they enjoyed light refreshments with their guests.

       Best wishes to the newest Salus University graduates!

(pictured above are the Physician Assistant Class of 2013 with faculty and Dr. Mittelman)

Dr. Oleszewski Stepping Down
Last month Susan Oleszewski, OD '76, executive vice president for Patient Care, The Eye Institute (TEI), announced that she would be transitioning from that position after eight years. Dr. Oleszewski told the Salus community that it had been a privilege to serve the optometry program for 35 years. She spoke of her realization that the TEI clinical practice has been her life's work, noting she had "grown up in its service, as a student, resident, teaching faculty, service chief, associate dean and vice president" and thanking all those who had "provided her with opportunities."  

    Dr. Oleszewski also spoke of being most proud of what the faculty and staff at TEI accomplish every day, saying "we took care of our community with exceptional competence and grace. Our largely under-served patients received the best vision care in the city. Every day our students were mentored by the collective talents of an amazing clinical faculty. Every day you tirelessly met and exceeded the contract we have with our students. Every day we met our patient care and clinical education mission."

     Dr. Oleszewski concluded her announcement by thanking her colleagues for their "support, humor and friendship," and saying, "I will continue to serve Salus University in meaningful ways."
Dean Casser To Step Down
Dr. Casser
On September 12, Dr. Linda Casser,
dean of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) announced that she will be stepping down on December 31 at the end of her five-year appointment.

   In her announcement to faculty and staff, Dr. Casser said she was "extremely proud and appreciative of our many accomplishments, our strong work ethic, and our shared professionalism, adding I am confident that we have substantially contributed to the excellence and reputation of PCO, as well as our profession, while continuing to build a stronger preparedness for the future of the institution."

   Dr. Casser has agreed to remain as interim associate dean for the Practice of Optometric Medicine from January 1, 2014 until at least June 30, 2014.

    The first female dean of PCO,* Dr. Casser, an Indiana University College of Optometry graduate, served for four years as chief of Primary Care Module Four at The Eye Institute and assistant professor at PCO in the 1980s. After serving on the faculty at Indiana University College of Optometry and as associate dean of Academic Programs at Pacific University College of Optometry, Dr. Casser joined the National Board of Examiners in Optometry as associate executive director of Clinical Examinations before becoming PCO dean.

 (*Dr. Audrey Smith of the College of Education and Rehabilitation is the first female dean in the history of the University).

Faculty Appointments 
There have been a number of recent faculty appointments in several of the University's colleges over the past few months. Congratulations to the newest members of the faculty as well as to faculty members who have earned a higher ranking:


Pennsylvania College of Optometry

Michelle (Gutman) Britchkow, OD '09,from interim faculty     

      to Instructor

Alissa Coyne, OD '10, from consultant to Instructor 

Erin Draper, OD '09, from Instructor to Assistant Professor

Janet Swiatocha, OD,  from Instructor to Assistant Professor

Elizabeth Tonkery, OD, from Instructor to Assistant Professor

Luis Trujillo, OD '09, from consultant to Instructor


College of Education and Rehabilitation

Ellen L. Kolodner, MSS, OTR/L, FAOTA Associate Professor,

      Occupational Therapy program

Kerry Lueders, MS, from Instructor to Assistant Professor

Jamie Maffit, MS, from Instructor to Assistant Professor

Fabiana Perla, EdD,  from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor

Andrea Carr Tyszka, MS, OTR/L, SIPT, Assistant Professor, 

       Occupational Therapy department


Osborne College of Audiology

Gregory Genna, AuD, adjunct, clinical educator


College of Health Sciences

Lisa Kuehn, PA-C, Assistant Professor, Physician Assistant program  

SOSH 2013: Haiti

by Kristina Ngo '15OD, president PCO chapter of SOSH


For the first time since 2008, the SOSH (Students in Optometric Service to Humanity) team of twenty students and two faculty advisors traveled back to Cap Haitien, Haiti.        Together the group examined 1,314 patients over the 5 days of clinic operation, dispensed more than 2,500 pairs of glasses and sunglasses and made 129 referrals for surgery or additional medical treatment. Lions Clubs, social organizations, and private contributors donated the glasses for the 2013 mission to SOSH.

       We worked in five different clinics - all at least an hour's drive from Cap Haitien, which made for a daily 6:00 a.m. start in order for us to meet the 7:45a.m. departure. We traveled in two vans along with five translators to reach the clinics, where we set up five stations: patient history taking (with the help of a translator); slit lamp station to examine ocular health and identify any pathology; tonometry station to rule out glaucoma; a ret rack station to determine the patient's prescription, and the final station, where an OD examined the back of the eye and a final examination was performed with the doctors, utilizing the information collected at the previous patient stations.  

       As SOSH members on previous trips had told us, the number of patients needing care was tremendous. On the third day of clinic we saw 400 patients and had to turn away 100 more. The demand for glasses was so great that we were running short by the third day of seeing patients. Thanks to Dr. Dave McPhillips '85 of VOSH (Volunteers in Optometric Service to Humanity) and Dr. Guerline Roney of a vision clinic in Cap Haitien, we received additional glasses for our fourth and fifth clinic days.

       It was a busy and rewarding trip to bring much needed vision care services to a population that would not have them without our help. We were all proud to be a small part of helping people to see clearly, many of them for the first time in decades.

       Thank you to our sponsors and supporters whose efforts and donations made this trip possible. Thank you to our faculty advisors, Dr. Alissa Coyne and Dr. Michael Rebar, and thank you to the SOSH Class of 2015 members who participated: Veronika Ageyeva, Sana Al-Imari, Christina DalPorto, Priya Desai (internal fundraiser), Jerson Desiderio, Alyssa Donahue, Elina Dorfman, Lindsey Eisenberg, Jill Federico, Stacy Fortin, Amber Gonka, Alysson Mass, Tamara Mendez (vice president), Kelsey Moody (external fundraiser), Charlene Pineda, Aaron Punim (treasurer), Kathleen Van Horn, Fei Yang and Francis Mai '16OD.

Audiology Grand Rounds Winners  
The winners of the Grand Rounds presentation award this year were Jaymee Levine '16AUD and Lyndsey Spencer '16AUD, shown here with faculty members Dr. Jonette Owen (left) and
Dr. Radhika Aravamudhan (right).