Many of you have probably heard the term, “We stand on the shoulders of giants” when describing people who have come before us who have made significant impacts to an organization. In this issue of the Salus University alumni magazine, we honor three of these people who have made numerous, notable contributions to the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO)
as well as the optometric profession.
The contributions of Drs. Satya Verma, Jeffrey Nyman and Neal Nyman to the advancement of optometric education and the profession, as well as the careers of thousands of former students and residents, cannot be overstated. These three luminaries of optometry, through their actions and dedication, have changed the way the profession is practiced both nationally and internationally.
Dr. Verma, who retired after his 50th year at PCO/Salus in December 2021, was teaching when I arrived as a student in 1976. To this day, I can recall his quick wit, approachability and incredible knowledge of the optometric profession.
He established the first low vision service at The Eye Institute (TEI)
the year it opened in the late ‘70s, where he wrote the first lab manual for low vision. He was the clinical supervisor for the Philadelphia Interdisciplinary Health and Education Program (PHIHEP), Contact Lens and Low Vision service, and has been an integral part of the Externship Program. Dr. Verma started the Community Eye Care Service program, a clinical experience for students that provided eye care to the homebound elderly population in Philadelphia, the first of its kind at the time. He also developed and has taught an elective course in geriatric optometry for PCO/Salus students. Dr. Verma instituted the first External Residency Program and developed up to 10 residency programs during his tenure.
Dr. Jeffrey Nyman was also at PCO when I arrived, beginning his career here in 1977. I was lucky enough to be assigned to the clinical module Jeff was working in. He too was very approachable, incredibly knowledgeable (still is) and he had a wonderful way of teaching so a novel student could remember every lesson he taught you at every junction of your clinical education.
A true pioneer in optometry, Dr. Jeffrey Nyman elevated the value of a PCO/Salus degree and the optometric profession as a whole. As chief of Emergency Services at TEI for the entirety of his career, with a sincere commitment to his patients, Dr. Nyman has enabled our graduates to distinguish themselves through increased expertise in patient care. The University will honor Dr. Jeffrey Nyman by naming the Emergency Service Suite at TEI, The Jeffrey S. Nyman, OD Emergency Service Suite.
Dr. Neal Nyman arrived at PCO in the mid-1980s and became interested in doctor-patient relationships. There was no course then in that specific area, so he developed one, which he taught for the next 33 years before his retirement in 2019. Although I never had the opportunity to work closely with Neal, everyone who has will sing his praises as an extraordinary clinician, teacher and advocate for our patients. The University will recognize Dr. Neal Nyman’s decades of service by dedicating the “team room” in TEI’s Primary Care Suite Three, in his honor.
Please join us in saying thank you to these three giants. Dr. Verma will have an externship suite dedicated in his honor. The Nyman Brothers Scholarship Campaign
honoring these two exceptional clinical educators has a goal of raising $100,000. All proceeds will be used to create a scholarship at PCO to be selected with input from both Drs. Nyman and the Dean’s office. Please consider making a meaningful gift - I cannot think of a more apt way to honor these icons of our institution and the optometric profession.
Also in this issue, you’ll read about the innovative Orientation and Mobility (O&M) program partnership with Vanderbilt University; and the winners of our annual Alumni Association awards.
Thank you for everything you do to support our mission and our community. Together we remain Salus Strong!