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.

Fabiana PerlaFabiana Perla, EdD, MS '93, COMS '94

Dr. Fabiana Perla is the chair of the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies within Salus University’s College of Education and Rehabilitation. She has worked extensively in providing direct services to individuals who are visually impaired, teaching, and securing federal and local grants to support graduate students and to enhance staffing in the field of blindness and visual impairment. Dr. Perla has gained an international reputation through her publications and presentations in the profession of orientation and mobility. Dr. Perla is currently involved in collaborative research on emerging technologies in the areas of mobility and retinal implants.

Carl Polsky, JD

Carl PolskyCarl Polsky is a past chair of the Board of Trustees. Polsky has been involved in many key initiatives, including the establishment of the Hafter Family Chair in Pharmacology, the Doctor of Audiology program, the establishment of the PCO Foundation and the development of the School as Lender Program. He provided important counsel on PCO's move to the Elkins Park campus and played a pivotal role in the development of the Hafter Student Community Center. Polsky was a founding partner of the law firm of Diamond Polsky and Bauer and a retired practice professor of accounting at the Wharton Graduate School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught for 50 years. He had membership affiliations with the Philadelphia and American Bar Associations, the Philadelphia and American Institutes of Certified Public Accountants, and the American Accounting Association. Polsky has authored articles in the areas of tax, accounting and finance and lectured internationally in those areas. In 2009, he was the recipient of the Salus University Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award, which is given to a non-alumnus who is closely identified with the University and who has provided notable service to both the University and their profession.

Jo Surpin, MA

Jo SurpinJo Surpin is a stellar figure in healthcare finance. Surpin’s pioneering work as president of Applied Medical Software (AMS) has led to the company becoming a national leader in gainsharing policy – the direct payment of incentives by hospitals to physicians based on performance – strategy and practical application. According to the Annals of Internal Medicine, her pivotal role in the development and implementation of “payment by the case” is "…arguably the most influential innovation in health care financing." AMS' patented Performance Based Incentive System is an extension of this earlier work and serves to emphasize physician alignment with hospitals resulting in lower cost of care and improved outcomes. Sustainable running gainsharing engagements now include hospitals and healthcare associations in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida. The Agency for Healthcare Research reported that the AMS system has saved 12 New Jersey demonstration hospitals $113 million; these results do not include the expansion to a total of 23 hospitals in New Jersey and those in other states. In recognition of Surpin’s  groundbreaking innovation, she was selected by the Philadelphia Business Journal as the 2014 Woman of Distinction and received the American College of Healthcare Executives Regent Award for Innovation with the New Jersey Hospital Association. In addition to serving as chair of Salus University’s Board of Trustees, she also is a board chair of the Philadelphia-based Home Care Associates. Surpin is a member of the Healthcare Finance Management Association and the American Hospital Association.