Dr. Udom - WCO PresidentSalus Master of Public Health (MPH) student, Uduak Udom, OD, ’15MPH, who will graduate in the fall, was installed as president of the World Council of Optometry (WCO) in August. A native of Nigeria and a leader in optometry in Africa who has practiced since 1978, Dr. Udom became a Fellow of both the American Academy of Optometry and Nigerian College of Optometrists in 2006. She was elected president of the African Council of Optometry (AFCO) in 2010, and was the first female to hold that office.

As president of AFCO, Dr. Udom promoted a review of the AFCO constitution and mission statement to reflect the public health relevance of optometry. She was instrumental in forging a relationship with Salus University that resulted in the establishment of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between AFCO and the University to offer partial scholarships for African optometrists to earn an online Master of Public Health degree.

The Salus MPH degree program is an online program specifically designed for professionals and students from a variety of backgrounds and experience. The mission of AFCO blends well with that of Salus and both are embodied by Dr. Udom, who has shown repeatedly her commitment to broadening the reach of eyecare in developing and underdeveloped countries. With the WCO presidency and her public health degree, Dr. Udom will continue to affect the lives of thousands of people around the world. 

Dr. Anthony Di Stefano, director of Public Health programs at Salus, has called Dr. Udom “a role model to optometrists around the world and an inspiration to all who have been privileged to work and study with her,” noting that Dr. Udom’s achievements “speak to the depth of commitment, work ethic, and vision” that she brings to her WCO presidency.

In her inaugural presidential speech at the WCO annual meeting held in Medellin, Colombia this year, Dr. Udom mentioned the number of African optometric professionals currently enrolled in the Salus MPH program (12, with five expected to graduate in the fall). She also thanked Dr. Di Stefano, Dr. William Monaco, associate director of the MPH program and associate dean of Graduate Programs in Biomedicine, and Ms. Melissa Padilla, MPH ’13, assistant director of International and Continuing Education programs, for their help and support during her Salus studies.

Dr. Udom visited the Elkins Park campus in November and met with President Mittelman, Provost Scharre, students and faculty before she presented “Optometry’s Challenges in Global Eyecare” to a University-wide audience.

Dr. Udom and MPH Students
Drs. William Monaco , Uduak Udom and Anthony Di Stefano
with MPH students in November