Optometry’s Meeting 2017: American Optometric Association Conference Gathers Salus Students, Faculty and Alumni

Salus University at Optometry's Meeting
From June 21-25, Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) students, faculty and staff gathered in the nation's capital to participate in Optometry’s Meeting 2017, sponsored by both the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the American Optometric Student Association. The conference brings thousands of optometric professionals together to deepen their knowledge in the field and network with their colleagues.

Kelly Malloy, OD ’96, FAAO, chief of the Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease Department at The Eye Institute and instructor of the University’s Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease course, taught three different continuing education courses throughout the Optometry Bowlduration of the conference. The topics included “Neuro-Ophthalmic Manifestations of Stroke,“ “Education in the Round: The Necessity of the Neuro Retinal Rim“ and “The Value of Visual Fields.“ A copy of the presentations from each of these courses can be found here on the AOA’s Optometry’s Meeting website.

Thursday night held one of the conference’s highlights – the Essilor® Optometry Student Bowl, where representatives from 24 schools and colleges of optometry flex their skills in a knowledge battle. Leslie Gauntlett ’18OD reigned as champion in last year’s on-campus Salus PCO Quiz Bowl competition in order to secure her spot among the other 23 students in the competition.

National Vision Check PresentationOn Friday, representatives from National Vision presented a second $20,000 check as part of its $100,000 pledge to Salus PCO, which will be used to enhance facilities and ensure state of the art learning environments. The same day, PCO was proud to have Accelerated Scholars student Jamie Roden ’18OD, receive the 2017 Norman E. Wallis Award for achieving the highest score on the National Board of Examiners in Optometry Part I Basic Science Examination. Interim dean of PCO Dr. Melissa Trego accepted a commemorative plaque on Ms. Roden’s behalf as she is currently finishing her externship in Japan.

That evening, four students – Marni Robbins ’19OD, Kaitlyn Kolzow ’19OD, Kelsea Brown ’20OD and Tasneem Maner ’20OD – were recognized at the Walmart/Sam’s Club Project Foresight Scholarship Competition. The students were tasked with designing an “Optometric Practice of the Future,” which promotes the profession of optometry and the values of Walmart and Sam’s Club Health and Wellness — to provide quality, affordable and accessible healthcare for everyone. Kolzow and Robbins’ proposal focused on making stores more accessible for low vision patrons. Their suggestions included adding high contrast signs to increase visibility and maps controlled by voice navigation to help customers find the items they need. Brown and Maner’s presentation focused on inspiring those who are interested in optometry as a profession and how they can give back to “minority communities and customers from all walks of life.”

Walmart/Sam’s Club Project Foresight Scholarship Competition
Also on Friday, a special alumni and friends reception was held at the Marriott Marquis where the 2017 Albert Fitch Memorial Alumnus of the Year award was presented to Christopher J. Quinn, OD ’85, FAAO. Both University president Dr. Michael H. Mittelman and interim dean of PCO, Dr. Trego, gave a warm welcome to the more than 220 alumni, faculty, staff and friends in attendance. Following their remarks, Alumni Association president Dr. Dennis Lyons '73 presented Dr. Quinn with this prestigious award after listing his numerous accolades, which he infused with personal anecdotes and experiences. The award is presented annually to an alumnus/alumna of PCO who has distinguished himself/herself through extraordinary service and contributions to the profession of optometry, bringing honor and prestige to the University. “I was most fortunate to have the benefit of getting a tremendous education at Pennsylvania College of Optometry,” Dr. Quinn said during his acceptance speech. “It is a wonderful tradition that the institution has been on the leading edge of providing great patient care and educational experience. I feel I had a real advantage coming from PCO in my career and working together with all of you [my fellow classmates].”

Salus PCO Alumni Reception
Current president-elect of the AOA, Dr. Quinn’s numerous accolades contributed to his selection as alumnus of the year. Dr. Quinn is founder and president of the New Jersey-based Omni Eye Services, an optometric referral center practice dedicated to serving the needs of community optometrists. He has been extensively published in professional journals and books, and is the principal author of the American Optometric Association’s “Clinical Practice Guideline on Care of the Patient with Conjunctivitis.” His contributions to professional optometry have included serving as past president of the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians, member of the AOA Federal Relations Committee and State Government Relations Committee, and an AOA representative to the American Medical Association’s Resource-Based Relative Value Update Committee-Healthcare Professions Advisory Committee.

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The conference was also a great experience for the students especially as they were introduced to some of the latest technology and political matters in the optometric field, according to Chad Killen ’19OD.

“There have been so many educational opportunities like meeting company representatives with the newest technology on contact lenses, electronic health records systems and the latest optometric tools on the market,” he said. “We’ve also met students from other schools and have united to fight for the right of our profession to ensure we are serving our future patients to the best of our abilities.”

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