From November 16-18, the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) hosted clinic directors, administrators and externship directors from optometry schools across the U.S. and Canada for a conference in the City of Brotherly Love. Active participants were all members of special interest groups within the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), a non-profit association representing the interests of optometric education.
“This [specific] conference brings the leadership from all of the optometry programs together to discuss best practices so they can all provide the highest level of clinical education to their students,” said John Gaal, FACHE, vice president of Clinical Operations.
The three-day conference allowed the group to discuss a variety of timely topics related to the operations of optometric clinical facilities, assisting struggling students and residents, the future of clinical optometric education, among others. It was also a perfect time to highlight the University’s didactic and clinical facilities - attendees toured The Eye Institute, PPCO’s clinical facility, and the University’s Elkins Park campus, including the newly renovated Optometric Clinical Procedures Lab and adjacent Virtual Reality Simulation Lab.
In her presentation, "Your Personal Communication Style for Leadership Effectiveness," Marilyn Nyman, MEd, CCC-SLP, founder and CEO of Fort Washington, Pa. based Nyman Group, discussed factors that can influence communication’s effectiveness for leaders, such as vocal tone and style, the importance of connecting with the audience and the pace of speech. She even included PCO faculty, Drs. Neal and Jeffrey Nyman, as examples in her activity based on twins and power poses in regards to nonverbal communication and body language. The Nyman Group is a boutique firm, which provides highly specialized communication solutions for leadership development and organizational effectiveness.
“Remediation of the Struggling Optometry Student" by Jeannette Guerrasio, MD, associate professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado, explained that 15 percent of all students, faculty and staff need remediation. Dr. Guerrasio’s research explores understanding and early identification of at-risk learners and remediation methods and outcomes.
Michael Chaglasian, OD, chief of staff at the Illinois Eye Institute, explained the benefits of opening an in-house pharmacy for patients 14 months ago. Not only did he find the pharmacy provided a convenience to patients, but it also was a cost savings.
Linda Casser, OD, coordinator of Interprofessional Education at Salus, presented the honorary Dr. Lester Caplan lecture.
“This lecture is a tribute to his steadfast contributions to ASCO and optometry,” said Dr. Parisi, PCO associate dean of Clinical Affairs. “He was the first Clinic Directors and Administrators ASCO administrator and actually started the special interest group itself. We’re really appreciative of all his hard work.”
Dr. Caplan served as administrator
of ASCO’s Clinic Directors and Administrators Special Interest Group from 1990-1993. He has been practicing for more than 60 years and is a member of the National Optometry Hall of Fame. Dr. Casser provided an overview of her career, highlighting some of the pioneering steps women were taking in optometry during the late 1970s and early ’80s. She then emphasized the importance of interprofessional education as optometry continues to develop. Drs. Caplan and Parisi also presented Dr. Casser with an award to honor her career thus far.
Michela Kenning, OD, Pacific University College of Optometry, Hillsborough clinical director, thought the conference was very informative and a great way to experience Philadelphia.
“The speakers were fantastic,” she said. “We loved all the personalized touches with the [Philadelphia-themed] food and goodies.”
See More Event Photos