Faculty Focus: Bhawan Minhas, OD Assistant Professor, Director of On-Campus Residency Programs, Pennsylvania College of Optometry

Dr. MinhasHailing from the Great White North, Dr. Bhawan Minhas is a first generation Indian Canadian, and both honored, and humbled by that fact. Her parents emigrated from India, and have been an unwavering source of support for both her and her siblings, providing access to a brighter future with increased opportunities.
 
Growing up, Dr. Minhas was extremely myopic, joking, “I think the late-night, under-the-covers reading of Goosebumps books with a flashlight is to blame for my -9 diopter prescription.” Naturally, she was intimately familiar with her optometrist - the lights, lenses, and dilating drops. “These elements became all too familiar at a young age and ultimately led me towards a logical career path,” she said. She attended the University of Calgary and pursued an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. She veered off the pre-med course for a short amount of time and completed a minor in Primatology. “It started as an ‘easy’ elective and turned into somewhat of an obsession,” she exclaimed. “Part of my studies even included a short period in the jungle!”
 
After spending time in the wilderness, she returned with a fierce determination to pursue a career in optometry, and relocated to Chicago to begin her education at the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO). “Besides starting a new adventure in the United States and learning what “American” cheese was, I was able to learn from some of the greatest educators in the business,” she noted. “All of these life experiences play a large role in the way that I practice and teach today.” Her passion for academia was planted at ICO and flourished at Salus University as a primary care resident at The Eye Institute (TEI). She joined the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) as an instructor in July 2014, and soon after was promoted to assistant professor. In July 2016, she took on the role of director of On-Campus Residency Programs. “My passion continues to grow every day as a faculty member of Salus,” she said. “Our students and residents continue to push me to be the best I can be and fuel the fire to pass on the knowledge that so many have given me.”

Dr. Minhas and Residents
Although her career took an unexpected turn, Dr. Minhas lives for the “light bulb” moments she experiences daily as a faculty member.  “I grow personally and professionally from my time spent with students and residents – they help me to be a better doctor, educator, and all around person,” she said.  “They inspire me more than I inspire them!”  Her teaching philosophy is one that is taught by example, as she believes this demonstrates the lifelong process of learning. “I hold my students to the highest standards and expect them to work diligently to unlock their full potential,” she noted.

Now after four years, Dr. Minhas reflects on her time here and how she has had the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. “I have been fortunate to be able to attend top academic conferences and seminars during my four years here as a faculty member,” she said. “I have gained insight into assessment to help me grow as an educator and into new technology in the optometric field to continue to fuel my passion for learning.” For instance, she was able to gain additional training in Bscan (diagnostic ophthalmic ultrasound) technology through a conference in Las Vegas which helps PCO and TEI explore new Optical Tomography Angiography (OCT-A), a non-invasive imaging technique that generates volumetric angiography images, software within the clinical facilities.

Now being director of the On-Campus Residency Program for two years, and with two successful residency classes “under her belt,” she helped change the primary care residency to a primary care/ocular disease residency which better reflects the complexity of patients examined at TEI.

“Many people are fortunate to have a good job, but I truly have found a passion here at Salus that is shared by so many of the staff and faculty around me,” she said.