2014 Alumni Reunion - Friday, June 27, 2014 starting at 7:30 p.m.
Newly appointed vice president of Clinical Operations, John Gaal, had a busy first week. On Monday, February 3, his first day, the University and its clinics were closed due to a major snowstorm, which was followed by ice storm-related power outages from Wednesday to Sunday on the Elkins Park campus, which includes the Pennsylvania Ear Institute.
A US Army veteran with 28 years of service, then Colonel Gaal was chief operating officer at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, MD prior to his retirement. In his new position at Salus, Mr. Gaal is responsible for the operation of The Eye Institute, the William Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center, the Pennsylvania Ear Institute and any future University clinical services.
In his announcement to the University community, President Michael H. Mittelman said, “John Gaal’s exceptional skill in managing large hospital operations will be a great asset to Salus as we continue to thrive and grow,” noting that Mr. Gaal’s years of experience as chief operating officer in military hospitals, combined with his leadership ability, “make him a valuable part of the Salus team.”
Mr. Gaal’s healthcare administration experience stood him in good stead and, as he noted in his second week on the job, “My first week on the job was interesting, fun, and chaotic… exactly what I was looking for in my new job. I was impressed with the staff and faculty, and how well they did dealing with the changes and challenges created by the unusual weather. The staff were great, keeping the needs of the patients at the forefront.”
CER “Reunion” in New Orleans
Faculty, current students and alumni of the College of Education and Rehabilitation’s Orientation & Mobility (O&M) program got together for a “reunion” in December at the O&M AER (Association for Education and Rehabilitation of Blindness and Vision Professionals) Annual Conference in New Orleans.
At their January meeting, the University's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to bestow the rank of professor emeritus upon Dr. Pierrette Dayhaw-Barker, founding director of the PhD in Biomedicine program, former associate dean of the Foundations of Optometric Medicine, and former interim director of the Physician Assistant program.
Salus president, Dr. Michael H. Mittelman expressed the University community's thanks to Dr. Dayhaw-Barker for her many contributions to the University. She in turn thanked Board members, Dr. Mittelman, and her colleagues, saying, "I was fortunate to spend my professional life in a profession for which I had a passion. I did not do this alone... this institution is fortunate to have not only wonderful clinical expertise but also some very capable and devoted basic science educators." She added that she had "served under four presidents and learned from each of them." Dr. Dayhaw-Barker, who retired on February 27, also thanked Dr. Anthony F. Di Stefano, vice president of Academic Affairs for his "mentorship, his trust and all the lengthy philosophical discussions we've had over the years," saying she would miss the discussions.
The first female PhD graduate of University of Houston College of Optometry, Dr. Dayhaw-Barker taught physiology, endocrinology some pathophysiology and some environmental optometry (the latter in the optometry program) during her distinguished career at PCO/Salus. She has also taight in the Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) since its inception. In addition to acting as a mentor to students in Graduate Programs in Biomedicine, she also taught various courses and coordinated courses in that program, such as Orientation to Research and some seminar courses.
Dr. Dayhaw-Barker's husband, Dr. Felix M. Barker, II, himself a professor emeritus who retired from Salus in 2010 after a long and distinguished career, was also present at the Board meeting.
On Sunday evening, January 26, the University hosted a reception for donors to the “Setting Our Sights” capital campaign, which raised more than $2.3 million for the $11.2 million renovation of The Eye Institute (TEI) completed in 2012. The reception offered many donors an opportunity to tour the renovated facility for the first time and to view inscribed plaques acknowledging their contributions.
University president, Dr. Michael H. Mittelman, welcomed donors and their guests to “the University’s flagship clinical facility.” Attendees also heard from Board of Trustees chair, Ms. Jo Surpin, immediate past president, Dr. Thomas L. Lewis, whose tenure included the campaign and renovation, and chief of staff Dr. Susan C. Oleszewski, who was TEI executive director for the entire renovation process, and who facilitated the many planning meetings with faculty, residents, students, staff, architects and builders to determine the space, design and flow needed for an improved TEI.
Optometry students were on hand to give tours and guests enjoyed light refreshments prepared by Williamson’s.
In the fall the University announced the establishment of the John Whitener Family Scholarship, to be awarded annually to an outstanding optometry student or optometrist who is completing a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at Salus.
James Deom, Salus University PCO Class of 2014, is the first recipient of the scholarship. The $2,000 scholarship was established by John C. Whitener, OD, MPH, in memory of his parents.
A former Salus PCO adjunct faculty member and member of the advisory board that helped to create the MPH program at Salus, Dr. Whitener worked in the AOA (American Optometric Association) Washington, DC office for many years, interacting with government agencies and optometric organizations on behalf of the profession. In addition to his service with the AOA, Dr. Whitener has also been actively involved in the American Public Health Association (APHA). Dr. Whitener was inducted as a Distinguished Practitioner by the National Academies of Practice in 2011.
The most common clinical measurement of visual function is visual acuity, measured by means of a Snellen chart. Recently, its use has been expanded not only to measure visual acuity, but also to measure the progress of disease or the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. In a test-retest mode however, the main difficulty with a Snellen chart is the lack of a precise scoring system. Traditional line-by-line scoring typically requires only that 50-80% of the letters in a line be identified correctly in order to score a successful reading of the entire line. Thus, the variability in line-by-line scoring is inherently high. When letter-by-letter scoring (which inherently has a lower variability) is used, test-retest visual acuity measurements are known to be - up to a factor of two - more precise.
We have developed a unique method of scoring Snellen chart responses through the use of LogMAR transformations that account for each letter read. The final, cumulative letter-by-letter LogMAR value is converted into an effective Snellen fraction. The mathematical processes are embedded in an EXCEL-based tool and are transparent to the practicing clinician. This letter-by-letter, LogMAR-based, scoring tool is available from this web site. In addition, the tool has a similar ETDRS spread sheet for those who use ETDRS charts.
We have designed this tool for clinicians, who are untrained in LogMAR use, so that they can: 1) apply these visual acuity data as a refined diagnostic tool, 2) assess progression of eye disease, or 3) quantify the efficacy of treatment of certain pathological eye conditions with greater precision. Potentially, this tool has broad applications for clinicians who, for a variety of reasons, have been hesitant to incorporate LogMAR principles into their clinical patient databases. Moreover, this tool has possible beneficial medico-legal implications. It could protect clinicians who are struggling to quantify visual performance in a manner that is: a) subtle enough to have scientific credibility, b) sufficiently established to supply a defensible metric acceptable to scientists worldwide, and c) robust enough to stand up in courts of law.
Snellen Chart Scoring Aid
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Users may not reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the software application without the expressed consent of the authors. This product is provided without warranties or conditions and is provided "As Is". To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event shall the U.S. Army, the authors, or Salus University be liable for any special, incidental, indirect or consequential damages whatsoever arising out the use of this product.