Robert Owens, OD ‘80, FAAO, Diplomate American Board of Optometry
, has been named the new Salus University Alumni Association president, effective this past July 2022.
“I am sincerely pleased to draw closer to my alma mater and associate with the dynamic progression of Salus University,” said Dr. Owens.
He said it has been gratifying to not only see how advanced the clinical training of future optometrists has become at the University, but also to see how Michael H. Mittelman, OD ‘80, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHE,
has integrated the advancement of the other allied health sciences together under the Salus umbrella.
“I would encourage our alumni to arrange a visit to our campus and witness the changes that are continuing to be unveiled,” said Dr. Owens, who is a past president of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association (POA) board. “Also, it is important to connect with the current students and help mentor their clinical development."
With regards to his tenure as the Salus Alumni president he shared:
“I view myself as more of a team player rather than a leader (i.e. a serving leader to empower others). I like to support the 20 percent who do 80 percent of the work. As I was finishing my tenure as president of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association (POA) board, I was invited to join our alumni board. How could I resist the opportunity to offer some background support for one of my classmates and an illustrious member of the class of 1980 — our Salus President Dr. Mike Mittelman."
Upon graduation from PCO in 1980, Dr. Owens accepted an associateship in private practice with A.E. (Buddy) Wascou, OD ’46
. However, unbeknownst to him, Dr. Wascou had health issues and passed away within the first year he was working with him. In 1981, Dr. Owens assumed the practice and has since continued practicing in New Holland, Pennsylvania. As an interesting side note, it appears that Dr. Wascou’s predecessor Dr. Jonathan Sensenig started the practice in 1907; making the transition from jeweler to optician to self-studying his way to passing the early exams for his certification as a Doctor of Optometry.
During Dr. Owens’ professional career in addition to private practice, he volunteered 40 years on committee work with the POA, served on its board of directors and as the POA president (2013). He also served on the Medical Advisory Board for PennDOT for 23 years. He has lectured nationally and internationally and has published in several peer-reviewed journals. In 2004, he took a temporary leave from his private practice to serve as a clinical supervisor at the College of Optometry at the Auckland University in New Zealand. Finally, as a side challenge, he converted a 32’ RV into a mobile eye care unit.
He shared that during his presidency on the alumni board he has the following goals:
- Help strengthen the bond between the professional state organizations and Salus.
- To impart to the students the necessity of being involved legislatively to assure the advancement of their professional careers and to assure they can practice to the full scope of their clinical training – our professional scopes of practice are governed by legislation.
- To have a fully engaged board of directors, with 100 percent financially supporting Salus.
- To offer, the option of face-to face alumni board meetings back on campus which helps encourage more active enthusiasm of a vitalized board.
- To implement and address the newly revised Alumni Board Bylaws.
- To engage with and encourage Salus students; it’s a privilege to vicariously experience the exuberance of launching into their new careers.