Pennsylvania College of Optometry
Doctor of Optometry Programs
- Salus University Names New President - Details
CE Presentation by PCO Externs
Earlier this month fourth year externs Ashley Sousa and Christopher Luft of the Class of 2013 presented a program to optometrists at a North Carolina meeting organized by Dr. James Fanelli, PCO adjunct faculty member and visiting professor of Clinical Medicine. Mr. Luft and Ms. Sousa presented a neuro-ophthalmic review of publications for the past year that covered current research on a variety of neuro-ophthalmic topics. The students are currently fulfilling externships with Dr. Fanelli at his practice.
Externships - required for all optometry, audiology and physician assistant students - take place at pre-determined, designated preceptor locations around the country in private practice, hospital and Veterans Administration settings, where students are mentored by practitioners. The term ‘extern’ is used to differentiate students on clinical rotations away from The Eye Institute and Pennsylvania Ear Institute, the University’s clinical facilities, where students are known as ‘interns.’
Both Ms. Sousa and Mr. Luft are in the Advanced Studies program at PCO. The Advanced Studies program is an elective educational program that is optional for students, and students who participate in the program must complete additional work over and above their regular coursework in order to meet the requirements of the program. Dr. Melissa Vitek is the program director.
In an invitation sent to his colleagues Dr. Fanelli explained that the Advanced Studies program at PCO “produces top notch clinicians, and these students are first class.” He also encouraged area practitioners to attend, saying that this would be “a great opportunity afforded the two students,” and a great opportunity for the optometrists to “support the future of our profession.”
PCO to Receive First Rick Bay Memorial Scholarship
The Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University will receive the inaugural Rick Bay Excellence in Eyecare Education scholarship in Optometry from the Rick Bay Foundation for Excellence in Eyecare Education.
The late Rick Bay, publisher and president of the Review of Optometry and Review of Ophthalmology, passed away in December 2012. Jobson Healthcare LLC established the Rick Bay Foundation and the announcement that PCO was to receive the first scholarship was made last month.
President Lewis said, "Rick Bay was a wonderful friend to the Pennsylvania College of Optometry... Over the years Rick collaborated with PCO on many Continuing Education programs and other projects..PCO is proud to be the first recipient of the Rick Bay Excellence in Eyecare Education Scholarship in Optometry." The University will work with the Rick Bay Foundation to finalize the operational details of the scholarship, according to Dr. Larry McClure, associate dean for Student Financial Affairs.
VOSH PA Mission Trip hosted by CRUDEM in Milot, Haiti
by James Deom ’14OD, AOSA Trustee
It was with great pleasure and honor that I was able to accompany two other third-year OD students, Kriti Bhagat and Kimberly Dobrodziej on our very first VOSH PA mission to Milot, Haiti.
We were very lucky to be with a group of top-notch doctors from the St. Louis area and Iowa. Our mission was led by a private practice doctor, Diane Wilson OD, who has been to the region countless times. On her first trip to the region she fell in love with the people and recognized the need. Dr. Wilson has heard the calling to help the people of Haiti and leads at least two trips annually to bring necessary vision and medical eye care to the rural regions of Northern Haiti surrounding Cap Haitian, the second largest city in Haiti.
Also on our trip was Dr. Alexander Harris, assistant clinical professor and director of externships at The University of St. Louis Missouri College of Optometry (USML), Dr. Barbara Brown, assistant to the Dean at UMSL and private practice owner, and Dr. Rommel Fuerste, a Board Certified Ophthalmologist and private practice owner from Dubuque, Iowa.
Our team was hosted by CRUDEM. CRUDEM is a non-profit organization located in a small town in Northern Haiti called Milot. The organization is the lifeblood of the Hôpital Sacré Coeur (HSC). The largest private hospital in the North of Haiti, the 73-bed hospital has provided uninterrupted service for 25 years. The organization hosts a new group of healthcare professionals every week from all over the world. Just before our group was a group of physical therapists and just after our group was a group of laparoscopic surgeons.
The hospital was transformed into a 200+ bed hospital during the massive earthquake that hit the southern region of Haiti and became a center for those displaced and sickened by widespread disease at that time. The country is still reeling to get back onto its feet after the earthquake. However incidence of cholera has decreased substantially and during our stay, the hospital only treated a few for the devastating infection when normally they treat at least 10 throughout the week.
I think all of those visiting Haiti for the first time were in complete shock for the unimaginable level of poverty that is pervasive throughout the country. There are no luxuries --no electric or running water, no food stores, clothing stores, etc.--not to mention infrastructure--there a very few paved roads or governmental or police type personnel. It is truly another world, which many of us lucky enough to live in the United States cannot imagine. I spoke with several of our translators about the state of Haiti and they told me that only 30 percent of children can afford to attend school of some type and unemployment is nearly 80 percent. So if you think about it that leaves a majority of the people in Haiti doing nothing. There is very little work and very little education—most people we saw were out trying to sell sugar cane or some of the fruits that grown in the region.
As far as our medical mission was concerned we brought medical and vision care to five distinct villages in and around the city of Cap Haitian. As was alluded to above, many of the things we see in our life as essential --like eye care--are truly luxuries in third world countries like Haiti. Not even one person that we saw came in with a pair of existing glasses. We were hosted in these villages by churches, schools, and orphanages.
Here is the breakdown of the patients we were able to see and the villages we visited.
Mornerouge total: 220 Suspected Undiagnosed Glaucoma: 30
Limonade total: 265 Suspected Undiagnosed Glaucoma: 33
Vertieres total: 220 Suspected Undiagnosed Glaucoma: 25
Balan total: 195 Suspected Undiagnosed Glaucoma: 27
Lafit total: 147 Suspected Undiagnosed Glaucoma: 27
Eighty percent of those who had suspected glaucoma were given glaucoma meds and asked to come back when a surgical eye mission doing laser eye surgery was returning in a couple of months. We also referred about 30 people with cataracts-- ranging from moderately visually significant to hypermature--for cataract surgery in the surgical suite at HSC in Milot by our cataract surgeon.
In all we saw 1,265 patients throughout the week. Most were given reading glasses; however, those without a prescription were given a pair of sunglasses and a hat to decrease the incidence of debilitating cataract and pterygium. Also found and referred on our trip were several cases of presumed ocular histoplasmosis syndrome, several very high myopes and hyperopes, and one case of presumed Marfans Syndrome.
If you are interested in donating to CRUDEM to help those in need in Haiti visit www.crudem.org to learn more and donate.