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Residents' Day has become an annual event, in which all of the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) residents, on and off campus, gather for two days of learning and celebration.

From June 6-7, participants were able to learn from nearly 20 Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) approved lectures about a variety of different eye care related topics.

Run by Dr. Bhawan Minhas, director of PCO’s On-Campus Residency Program, and Dr. Shital Mani, director of the Off-Campus Residency Program, this year’s cohorts consisted of 28 off-campus residents and 11 on-campus residents. 

Describing it as one of her favorite events of the year, Dr. Minhas said, “It is fast-paced, informative, and fun! The PCO residents include both PCO graduates and also those from optometry schools throughout the country - it is extremely rewarding to see many of my previous students present such top-notch presentations and to see their growth over the short year.”

Resident-s-Day-2019-(1).jpgDuring the event, the Bernard Blaustein Resident Excellence Award was bestowed to Dr. Samantha Myers, a cornea and contact lens resident at The Eye Institute (TEI). The award, instituted in 2017, recognizes a distinguished optometric resident from each residency class who has shown exceptional clinical promise and aptitude during their residency year. 

Prior to delivering the award, Dr. Blaustein affectionately known as “Uncle Bernie,” reflected on the importance of completing a residency.  “I believe that if you want to practice in the way you want to practice, you need more than a four year degree from an optometry school,” he said. “You must do a residency. Even the best students need to do an additional year to give them that extra ‘kick’. I admire and envy all of you for having completed the program.”

The idea for Residents' Day came from Drs. Mani and Michael Rebar, the former director of On-Campus Residency Programs. They hoped to build a sense of camaraderie by allowing the residents to share their unique clinical experiences and learn from one another.

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A cocktail reception followed the final round of presentations, which brought everyone together to celebrate the residents as they received their certificates. “The graduation ceremony is humbling,” Dr. Minhas said. “The year can be hectic and go by faster than you think so it is so rewarding to know that Dr. Mani and I had some small part in these wonderful professionals’ careers.”

Salus president, Dr. Michael H. Mittelman, congratulated the residents and said, “I want to thank you for your commitment, not only for your contribution to the institution but also to the profession. You all hold the future of the profession. You are the shoulders that the next generation of students will be standing on.”

The University’s PCO has one of the largest optometry residency programs in the country. Residency programs at TEI include: Primary Eye Care, Pediatric Optometry/Vision Therapy, Low Vision Rehabilitation, Cornea and Contact Lenses, and Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease. Affiliated residency programs offer clinical education and training in Ocular Disease and/or Primary Care in various practice modalities.

Congratulations to the 2018-2019 residency class!