​Saturday Spotlight: Presidential Medals Awardees

It takes a special community to ensure that the institution continues to be a leader in health science education.

In 1995, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Salus University’s  founding college, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO), seventy-six people of note were awarded the President’s Medal of Honor. On Friday, April 26, 2019,  thirty-five additional notable individuals will be awarded Presidential Medals to commemorate the 100th anniversary of PCO and the 10th anniversary of Salus.  

Every Saturday leading up to Friday April 26, we will highlight a few of the new awardees.

Felix M. Barker II, OD, MS, FAAO

Barker_cropped.jpgDr. Felix Barker, professor emeritus and former Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) Trustee, has been an educator, researcher, administrator, and mentor. He is an accomplished investigator and has had his grant-funded research writings widely published. He began his career at PCO in 1978 as the chief of Primary Care Services at The Eye Institute (TEI). He subsequently served as director of the Residency Program, Clinical Science department chair, director of the PCO Laser Program and interim dean of Optometry before becoming dean of Research. In this capacity, Dr. Barker actively engaged with investigators in order to advance TEI’s Research program. As the dean of Research, Dr. Barker made significant changes to how the institution structured the program in order to elevate PCO’s research profile and capacity. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), and a Distinguished Practitioner of the National Academies of Practice as well as a William C. Ezell Fellow. He was the editor of the Journal of Optometric Education, chair of the Education and Primary Care Sections of the AAO and also served as chair of the AOA Council on Research. Dr. Barker served as an associate director of Research of the Rehabilitation and Reintegration directorate of the Veteran’s Administration (VA)/Department of Defense (DoD) Vision Center of Excellence, where he worked to facilitate clinical practice recommendations and the prioritization, development, and funding of vision care and vision rehabilitation research efforts within the VA, DoD and non-federal communities. An active advocate of community service, he founded the Salus University Lions Club student chapter. Dr. Barker received Salus University Alumni Association’s Distinguished  Service Award in 2014.
Bernard H. Blaustein, OD ’67, FAAO

blausteinCropped.jpgDr. Bernard Blaustein was a member of the Salus University and PCO community for over 50 years first as a student and then in numerous capacities, including associate professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences and director of Residency Programs. Dr. Blaustein retired in 2018 as professor emeritus. He was in private practice for over 33 years and served the nation’s veterans at the VA Medical Center in Coatesville, Pa., as chief of Optometry Services for over 40 years. Dr. Blaustein edited two textbooks: Ocular Manifestations of Neurologic Disease and Ocular Manifestations of Systemic Disease. Additionally, he authored over 30 professional articles and chapters in various optometric texts, presented over 50 papers at various scholarly conferences, and has delivered over 150 lectures throughout the United States and in many European and Asian countries. Dr. Blaustein is a Fellow of the AAO and the AOA.
Richard Brilliant, OD ’76, FAAO

richard brilliantDr. Richard L. Brilliant completed a Low Vision residency under Dr. Randall Joseat the Center for the Blind/Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1977. Dr. Brilliant went on to complete a two-year fellowship in Low Vision under Dr. William Feinbloom at the William Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center housed within The Eye Institute. He served as chief of the Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center of TEI for 10 years and is now the senior low vision clinician at the Feinbloom Center. He also serves as director of the Vision Rehabilitation Center at the Moore Eye Institute at both Springfield Hospital and Abington Hospital. Dr. Brilliant is a PCO professor and adjunct professor at the Waterloo College of Optometry in Canada. He is a Fellow of the AAO and a diplomate in Low Vision. Dr. Brilliant is involved in the design and development of many low vision devices and has also been involved in the clinical investigations of many low vision devices/lenses for low vision manufacturers. He lectures in numerous national and international meetings and has published articles related to low vision rehabilitation. Dr. Brilliant is the editor of a textbook (20 chapters, 409 pages) on Low Vision Rehabilitation, Essentials of Low Vision Practice designed for clinical Optometrists and Ophthalmologists. He has also been appointed to the Medical Advisory Board of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the center for Devices and Radiological Health.