Presidential Medal of Honor Recipients
placed here only to preload the colorbox scripts
Skip to Main Content

Presidential Medal of Honor Recipients

Presidential medal winners group photo

It takes a special community to ensure that Salus continues to be a leader in health science education. In 1995, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the University’s founding College, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO), 76 people of note were awarded the Pennsylvania College of Optometry Presidential Medal. On Friday, April 26, 2019, another 35 were awarded Presidential Medals to again commemorate milestones: 100 years of PCO and 10 years of Salus University.

Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO)
Presidential Medals

Diane Adamczyk, OD ’85, FAAO

Dr. Diane AdamczykDr. Diane Adamczyk has served as the director of Residency Education at SUNY College of Optometry since 1999, where she is also a professor. A graduate of PCO, she completed a residency at the Newington VA Hospital in Newington, Conn., and began her career as a low vision specialist. Dr. Adamczyk regularly lectures internationally on topics ranging from glaucoma to ocular pharmacology and has authored many articles and textbook chapters including co-authoring Primary Eyecare in Systemic Disease. She is actively involved in the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education, is a member of the American Optometric Association (AOA), and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO). She was also the 2016 recipient of the Salus University Alumni Association Albert Fitch Memorial Alumnus of the Year Award.

Derrick Artis, OD ‘89, MBA

Dr. Derrick Artis Dr. Derrick Artis dedicated his career to the advancement of optometry. He is the former chief operating officer of Vision Source, a network of over 3,500 independent optometrists. He retired in January 2018 after 10 years on the management team at Vision Source and a successful transition of ownership to Essilor of America. Prior to Vision Source, he served as the director of Professional Affairs at Johnson and Johnson (J & J) Vision Care, Inc. Prior to joining J&J, he was the director of Professional Services at For Eyes Optical Company in Hialeah, Fla. Dr. Artis practiced optometry in the Washington D.C. area for over 10 years, and was the founder of Visual Eyes Optometry with Teresa Grillo, OD ‘96 in 1997. He served as chairman of the Washington D.C. Board of Optometry from 1996 to 2000 and was vice president of the state association for two terms. Dr. Artis worked alongside Michael Rosenblatt, OD ‘90 to lead Washington D.C.'s efforts to secure therapeutic drug prescription privileges. He received an MBA in Healthcare Management from the University of Miami. Dr. Artis has authored numerous publications and lectured across the globe on contact lenses and eye care. He received a U.S. patent for the invention of a contact lens device and was awarded the Wesley-Jessen Innovation in Contact Lens Patient Care Award in 1998. Dr. Artis has been a member of the AOA and the National Optometric Association (NOA) for 30 years. As a student at PCO, Dr. Artis was elected the national president of the National Optometric Student Association (NOSA) and voted National Student of the Year by NOSA in 1988. He is the 2006 recipient of the Albert Fitch Memorial Alumnus of the Year Award and was selected as the National Optometric Association's Optometrist of the Year in 2007. He has served on the Salus University Board of Trustees since 2014.

Sheree Aston, OD ’82, MA, PhD

Dr. Sheree AstonDr. Sheree Aston has been vice provost and professor of Optometry at Western University since 2007. She planned, launched, and continues to oversee Western University’s three-phase Interprofessional Education Program (IPE). Dr. Aston is currently a trustee of the American Interprofessional Health Collaborative (AIHC) and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Interprofessional Healthcare. She served on the Executive Committee for Collaborating Across Borders (CAB) IV and is the current United States chair of CABV conference. She is the director of the Geriatric IPE project and is a member of the Executive Committee of the California Geriatric Education Center (CGEC), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Early in her career, she helped form and served on the steering committee of the University of Pennsylvania’s Delaware Valley Geriatric Education Center. Dr. Aston was the lead author of a collaborative article on IPE programs that appeared in the July 2012 issue of Academic Medicine, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal. She has authored and co-authored more than a dozen scholarly articles in refereed health, aging and rehabilitation journals; authored an interdisciplinary-based clinical geriatric text; served as the director of several public-funded training grants; and lectured nationally and internationally on IPE, geriatrics and health education in a variety of health and rehabilitation venues.

Felix M. Barker II, OD, MS, FAAO

Dr. Felix M. BarkerDr. Felix M. Barker, professor emeritus and former 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 Residencies, 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 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 Lions Club student chapter. Dr. Barker received Salus University Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award in 2014.

G. Richard Bennett, MS, OD ‘79, Resident ’80, FAAO, FNAP

Dr. G. Richard Bennett Dr. G. Richard Bennett graduated PCO in 1979 and completed his residency in Primary Care at TEI in 1980. He is currently the director of the Glaucoma Center of Excellence at TEI, a lecturer in Retinal Disease and Glaucoma, and professor of Optometry, as well as a past PCO Trustee. He was also an adjunct associate professor of Ophthalmology at Hahnemann Medical School of Medicine (now Drexel University School of Medicine). Dr. Bennett was the Eye Group Coordinator of the Nemours Health Clinic in Wilmington, Del., and maintains a private practice in Philadelphia. He is a Fellow of the AAO, and serves as a referee for the American Journal of Optometry and Physiological Optics and Journal of the American Optometric Association and is also a reviewer for Optometry and Clinical Vision Science. Dr. Bennett lectures extensively and is an active clinical researcher. He has authored or co-authored over 50 published articles and presented a number of his papers at conferences and symposiums. Currently, Dr. Bennett is a principal investigator of the Ocular Hypertensive Treatment Study (OHTS), a multi-center clinical glaucoma trial funded by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Bennett’s professional activities have included serving as president for the Pennsylvania Academy of Optometry (PAO); board member for the Philadelphia County Optometric Society; a member of the AOA and International Perimetric Society. He is the recipient of numerous awards including PCO Teacher of the Year; the Optometric Recognition Award five times from the AOA; the Distinguished Alumni Award from Clarion University; the Alfred I. DuPont Physician of the Year Award; and Distinguished Practitioner from the National Academy of Practice in Optometry of the National Academies of Practice.

Bernard H. Blaustein, OD ’67, FAAO

Dr. Bernard Blaustein Dr. Bernard Blaustein was part of the PCO and Salus community for more than 50 years, first as a student and then in numerous capacities, including associate professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences and director of the Residency Programs. Dr. Blaustein retired in 2018 as professor emeritus. He was also 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 more than 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 a member of the AOA.

Richard L. Brilliant, OD ’76, FAAO

Dr. Richard BrilliantDr. Richard Brilliant is recognized as one of the world’s foremost low vision specialists. He completed a Low Vision residency under Dr. Randall Jose at the Center for the Blind/PCO in 1977. Dr. Brilliant went on to complete a two-year fellowship in Low Vision, under Dr. William Feinbloom at the William Feinbloom Center housed within TEI. He served as chief of the Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center 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 and Abington Hospitals. 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 is a diplomate in low vision. He 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. 

James M. Caldwell, OD ‘89, Resident ‘90, FAAO, EdM

Dr. James CaldwellDr. James Caldwell has held a number of key positions at PCO and Salus University. Currently the dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Caldwell has previously served as the associate vice president of Academic Affairs and the director of Admissions. He was a contributing member of the institutional committee that obtained the approval of Salus University from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. As a PCO clinical educator, Dr. Caldwell taught in the primary care modules of TEI, the clinical procedures lab, and several international and continuing education programs. He is a Fellow of the AAO, a long-standing member of the POA and AOA, and holds a degree in Higher Education Administration.

Roger Cummings, OD ’76, FAAO

Dr. Roger CummingsDr. Roger Cummings, who was a PCO faculty member for 22 years, left the College to provide services to the VA in North Carolina. He was also a co-investigator on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded grant on eye movement monitoring in the partially sighted with Dr. Steve Whitaker. Dr. Cummings is a diplomate in low vision and served as chair of the low vision section of the AAO from 2009 to 2010. He is the founding president of the North Carolina Chapter of the Academy. In collaboration with Salus, Dr. Cummings created a “First to Fellowship Award” to encourage Hefner VAMC optometry residents to become Academy Fellows. 

Edward Deglin, MD

Dr. Edward DeglinDr. Edward Deglin is an ophthalmologist with a specialty in retinal and vitreous diseases and surgery. Dr. Deglin completed his residency at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington D.C. He went on to complete a NIH Special Fellowship and earn his Master of Science degree in Ophthalmology with a thesis in Retinal Hemodynamics in Diabetes Mellitus at Georgetown University Medical Center, and a Retina Fellowship at Wills Eye Hospital. He has been in private practice in Philadelphia and its suburbs for more than 30 years. Dr. Deglin currently holds a faculty position at the University of Pennsylvania in addition to PCO, where he has been a professor since 1980. He additionally sees patients and precepts students once a week at TEI. The Consumer Research Council has recognized Dr. Deglin, a board-certified member by the American Board of Ophthalmology and a Fellow of the AAO, as one of “America’s Top Ophthalmologists.”

Alexander Dizhoor, PhD

Dr. Alexander Dizhoor,Dr. Alexander Dizhoor, who received his PhD in Molecular Biology from Moscow University, joined Salus when he moved his laboratory from Wayne State University in order to conduct studies in molecular biology, pharmacology and congenital diseases of photoreceptors. He was awarded the newly established Hafter Family Chair in Pharmacology. Dr. Dizhoor and his team have since conducted groundbreaking research on signal transduction in retinal rods and cones and its link to congenital blinding disorders. Their work has been featured in many academic journals and professional publications, as they were the first to restore light sensitivity in retinas lacking photoreceptors and clarify various molecular mechanisms related to retinal blindness. NIH; the Lions of Pennsylvania Sight Preservation and Eye Research Foundation; the Human Science Frontier Program; and the Pennsylvania Department of Health have supported Dr. Dizhoor’s work. Dr. Dizhoor’s professional affiliations include the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the Society for Neuroscience, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He has served as a member of NIH study sections and as a reviewing editor for the international journal Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. 

Brien Holden, PhD


Dr. Brien HoldenDr. Brien Holden’s contributions extended across research, education, public health and social enterprise and generated more than $1.3 billion in research, education and humanitarian funds. In 2010, the Institute for Eye Research in Australia was renamed the Brien Holden Vision Institute in recognition of his contributions. In November 2018, 17 students began their studies at the first optometry program in Haiti thanks to the recent collaboration between l’Universite d’Etat d’Haiti (UEH), Brien Holden Vision Institute, Optometry Giving Sight, Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) International and Charity Vision with support from the University of Montreal. His efforts were acknowledged through a host of national and international awards and honors, including an Order of Australia Medal for his work in eye health and vision science; the Schwab Social Entrepreneur Award for Africa 2010 at the regional World Economic Forum; the Charles F. Prentice Medal (optometry's highest scientific honor) and seven honorary doctorates from universities in Canada, South Africa, UK and the U.S.

Bernard P. Lepri, OD ’79, MS, MEd

Dr. Bernard LepriDr. Bernard Lepri is a senior advisor for Global Regulatory & Clinical Affairs at Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc. In this role, he provides support for global medical technology related to clinical trial design and scientific substantiation of medical device product claims of safety and effectiveness. Dr. Lepri was the FDA’s expert for ophthalmic medical devices indicated for the treatment and/or correction of visual impairment resulting from macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, stroke and other ocular diseases. He joined Zeiss upon retiring from the FDA Center for Devices and Radiologic Health’s Office of Device Evaluation in 2018. Dr. Lepri is a former PCO assistant professor and director of External Clinical Programs. With his background in vision rehabilitation and counseling, Dr. Lepri authored the clinical section of the Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) Guidance for Retinal Prostheses - Guidance for Industry and FDA staff. This was the first time in the history of the FDA that low vision assessments were incorporated into FDA guidance for industry. As a result, companies developing retinal and cortical visual implants for blind and visually impaired patients now evaluate psychological preparedness for these surgeries and perform functional vision assessments to demonstrate effectiveness and probable benefit in addition to safety. Dr. Lepri was the primary low vision clinical reviewer of numerous first-of-a-kind low vision medical devices such as the Argus II retinal implant for end stage retinitis pigmentosa, the implantable miniature telescope for end stage age related macular degeneration and the HumanOptics' CustomFlex Artificial Iris for congenital and acquired aniridia. He also worked with the FDA’s Center for Biological Evaluation and Research in bringing the first gene therapy treatment (Luxturna) to approval for patients with vision loss due to confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy. Dr. Lepri’s other FDA accomplishments include designing refractive analysis strategies for Paragon’s CRT Orthokeratology lenses to demonstrate effectiveness in the temporary reduction of myopia, clinical review of the first LASIK lasers, the Crystalens Accommodating IOL, the Ophtec Artisan Phakic IOL for the correction of myopia, the BrainPort ® Vision Device - an electronic assistive device for the blind used as an aid to orientation, mobility and object recognition - and the SensiMed Triggerfish™ Telemetry contact lens for 24-hour monitoring of diurnal variations in intraocular pressure.

Kelly A. Malloy, OD ‘96, Resident ‘97, FAAO

Dr. Kelly MalloyDr. Kelly Malloy is an associate professor at PCO and chief of the Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease at TEI. She is also an instructor of Head and Neck Anatomy, Neuroanatomy, and Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease Courses at PCO. Dr. Malloy is a Fellow of AAO and is currently the only diplomate in neuro-ophthalmic disorders. She is a founding officer of the AAO Neuro-Ophthalmic Disorders Special Interest Group, and is its Educational Programs sub-chair. Dr. Malloy has multiple publications and lectures extensively both nationally and internationally. She co-created the first and only optometric Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease residency at TEI in order to formally train more optometrists in this important clinical specialty.

Leonard V. Messner, OD ‘84, Resident ‘85, FAAO

Dr. Leonard MessnerDr. Leonard Messner is the vice president for Patient Care Services at the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) and a professor of optometry.

He is the immediate past chair of the Neuro-Ophthalmic Disorders Special Interest Group of the AAO and a member of the advisory board of the Concussion Legacy Foundation and serves on the Concussion Research Committee of the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society. 

Dr. Messner’s predominant research interests include vision, ocular structure and visual motor abnormalities with concussion, the eye movements associated with the physical act of reading, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, optic neuritis and diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and textbook chapters in the areas of neuro-ophthalmic disorders and vitreoretinal disease.

He is a two-time recipient of the AAO’s Service Appreciation award, the 2012 recipient of ICO’s Alumni Council Educator of the Year Award and was recognized as the Optometrist of the Year in Illinois in 2013. He is also a 23-time recipient of the “Teacher of the Year” award at ICO.

Stephanie S. Messner, OD ‘84, Resident ‘85, FAAO

Dr. Stephanie MessnerDr. Stephanie Messner joined the ICO faculty in 1985 and has served in a variety of administrative roles, primarily related to patient care education and residency programs. She currently serves as ICO’s vice president and dean for the department of Academic Affairs. Dr. Messner is an active participant in the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), currently serving as chair of the Leadership and Professional Development Implementation Task Force and member of the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) committee. She is the past chair of the Chief Academic Officers group and member of the Residency Affairs Committee. Dr. Messner is in her second term as a member of the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) where she chaired both the Residency and Professional Development Committees. She also served as a member of the Illinois State Optometry Licensing and Disciplinary Board for eight years. Dr. Messner is a Fellow of the AAO and a diplomate of the American Board of Optometry. 

Marla Moon, OD ’82, Resident ’83, FAAO
Dr. Marla MoonDr. Marla Moon was awarded the Dr. W. David Sullins Award by the AOA which recognizes an individual Doctor of Optometry who has made significant contributions to optometry and public service involving the InfantSEE™ program. Her most notable contribution to the POA has been in the development of the POA's Kids Welcome Here pediatric vision care campaign. In addition, her peers named her the "Optometrist of the Year" for both the Mid-Counties Optometric Society and the POA. She was one of the founders of the annual Give Kids Vision for the Future Program in cooperation with the Centre Volunteers in Medicine. In 1992, she was the recipient of the Penn-Del AER Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Moon has been a member of the AOA, the POA, and the Mid-Counties Optometric Society (MCOS) for her entire professional career. She also served as president of the POA and MCOS. She served on the Pennsylvania State Board of Optometry for eight years and six of those years as chair of the board. Dr. Moon was elected to the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO), and currently is serving on the Board's Finance, Judiciary and Examination Committees. She served on the PCO Board of Trustees for six years and is a Fellow of the AAO.   
Jeffrey Nyman, OD, FAAO

Dr. Jeffrey NymanDr. Jeffrey Nyman joined PCO’s faculty in 1977. He currently is an associate professor and director of Emergency Services at TEI. He also received the Annual Faculty Award from his PCO peers. He has published numerous articles and textbook chapters in optometric literature, and he has lectured extensively nationally and internationally on topics related to vision, eye disease and public health. Dr. Nyman is a Fellow of the AAO as well as a member of the POA and AOA. He is a recipient of the Annual Faculty Award and Clinical Sciences Educator of the Year Award, both from PCO. He also was recognized as Educator of the Year at PCO.

Susan Oleszewski, OD ’76, Resident ’78, MA, FAAO

Dr. Susan OleszewskiDr. Susan Oleszewski’s roles in her four decade career at PCO and Salus included classroom and clinical educator, vice president for Patient Care Services, where she shepherded the $11-million dollar renovation of TEI; chief of staff for the University and vice-president of Institutional Advancement and Community Relations. She founded the Looking Out for Kids (LOFK) initiative and was central to raising over $600,000 to support vision care services and eyeglasses for economically disadvantaged children in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. Dr. Oleszewski received Salus University Alumni Association’s Special Recognition Award in 2018.

Carlo Pelino, OD ’94, FAAO

Dr. Carlo Pelino Dr. Carlo Pelino is chief of TEI’s Chestnut Hill satellite location and has a referral retinal practice. He lectures extensively in his areas of interest such as internal and external ocular diseases in both domestic and international programs. Dr. Pelino is one of the chief optometric advisors to WebMD as well as an advisor to several ophthalmic industry companies. He has conducted research in the area of visual function and writes regularly in ophthalmic literature. Dr. Pelino is active in the Salus community, serving on several University-wide committees and is a board member of the AAO’s Retina Special Interest Group (SIG) as well as a member of the AOA. Dr. Pelino is a Fellow of the AAO and his training had an emphasis on medical and surgical management of vitreo-retinal diseases.

Leonard J. Press, OD ‘77, Resident ‘78, FAAO, FCOVD

Dr. Leonard PressDr. Leonard Press formerly served as chief of the Pediatric Service at TEI. He is recognized internationally for his work in the field of learning related vision problems and served as a consultant on visual disabilities for the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). In this role, he reviewed requests for test accommodations on examinations that certify MDs to practice medicine in the United States. In 1982, Dr. Press was recruited to the SUNY College of Optometry, to serve as the chief of the Vision Therapy Service, where he was associate professor of Clinical Optometry for 15 years before entering into full-time private practice. He was a co-author of the Clinical Practice Guidelines in this area for the AOA, as well as a co-author of the AOA Clinical Practice Guideline on Amblyopia. The recipient of numerous awards for his research, writing, and clinical work, Dr. Press has received the Scientific Achievement Award from the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians (NJSOP) on two separate occasions, in 1995 and in 2002, and the EC Nurock Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. He received the Skeffington Award for Excellence in Optometric Writing from the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) in 1992 and also served as president of COVD. Dr. Press was honored by his peers as Optometrist of the Year by the NJSOP in 1999, and has served as president of the organization. He was honored twice by the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, in 2015 with the Advancement of Sciences Award, and in 2018 with the William & Diana Ludlam Educators Award. He was honored as the PCO Alumni Association Alumnus of the Year in 2003, which cited him for his outstanding contributions in the field of children's vision and vision-related learning problems.

The author of three optometric textbooks as well as multiple monographs and textbook chapters, Dr. Press continues to see patients in Lakewood, N.J., in his role with Press Consultants, P.C.  He serves as editor-in-chief of Vision Development & Rehabilitation, the Journal of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, and as associate editor of Elsevier's Weekly online service, Practice Update Eyecare. He also serves as a section editor for Elsevier's annual volume on Advances in Ophthalmology and Optometry. Dr. Press is the proud middle member of a three generation PCO family. His father, Israel Press, OD ’44 and his son, Daniel Press, OD ‘07 also attended.

Christopher J. Quinn, OD ’85, FAAO

Dr. Christopher QuinnDr. Christopher Quinn is the founder, owner and president of optometric referral center Omni Eye Services in New Jersey. Dr. Quinn holds academic appointments at the New England College of Optometry, SUNY College of Optometry, University of Houston College of Optometry, PCO, Southern College of Optometry and University of California Berkeley School of Optometry. Dr. Quinn is the immediate past president of the AOA, a past president of the NJSOP, and a member of the American Public Health Association (APHA) - Vision Care Section. He received numerous scholarships and awards for his outstanding academic performance during his time at PCO. He is a Fellow of the AAO and a Distinguished Practitioner in the National Academy of Practice in Optometry. Dr. Quinn is on the medical staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and is Board Certified by the American Board of Optometry. Dr. Quinn has been extensively published in professional journals and books. He is the principal author of the AOA's Clinical Practice Guidelines on Care of the Patient with Conjunctivitis and is currently a contributing editor to the Review of Optometry. He is a recognized authority and sought-after to lecture nationally and internationally on the treatment and co-management of eye diseases. 

Joseph P. Shovlin, OD ’80, FAAO

Dr. Joseph ShovlinDr. Joseph Shovlin joined Northeastern Eye Institute in 1985 and practices in their Clarks Summit and Scranton, Pa., offices. He is a board certified optometrist, the immediate past president of the AAO, as well as a Fellow of AAO. He is a distinguished Practitioner of the National Academy of Practice in Optometry, and a member of the AOA and the POA. He is a diplomate and past chair of the section on Cornea and Contact Lenses of the AAO, past chair of the Contact Lens section of the AOA, and a former voting member of the of the Ophthalmic Advisory Panel of the FDA. He is a member of the International Society of Refractive Surgery, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and the American Public Health Association. He is a past member of the National Advisory Eye Council of the National Eye Institute, NIH, and an advisory panel member of the Pennsylvania Lions Sight Conservation and Eye Research Foundation. He serves as the associate clinical editor of the Review of Optometry, clinical editor of the Review of Cornea and Contact Lenses, and consulting editor of the Contact Lens Spectrum and Primary Care Optometry News and the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. He is on the journal review board of Optometry Clinics, the Journal of the American Optometric Association, and has held editorial board appointments to International Contact Lens Clinic and Making Contact and Optometric Management. He has over 300 publications to his credit. He is listed in Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare and Who's Who in Science and Engineering. He received the AOA’s Cornea and Contact Lens Section Achievement Award, as well as the National Optometrist of the Year award for the National Keratoconus Foundation/NKCF, and the National Academy of Practice’s James A. Boucher Award. Dr. Shovlin has received Academic Distinction and the Clinical Excellence Award from PCO and was a recipient of Salus University Alumni Association’s Albert Fitch Memorial Alumnus of the Year Award in 2011.

Joel Silbert, OD ’73, FAAO

Dr. Joel Silbert Dr. Joel Silbert is a nationally recognized expert in contact lens. He joined PCO’s faculty in 1974. Currently, he serves as a professor, director of Contact Lens Programs and chief of the Cornea and Specialty Contact Lens Service at TEI, as well as chairman of the Credential Committee at TEI. He has been a clinical mentor and educator to generations of students as well as residents in primary care and contact lenses.  He also maintains a private practice in N.J. Active in national and international continuing education, as well as in clinical research, he served as a principal investigator at PCO for the CLEK Study on keratoconus, a national multi-center study funded by the NIH. He has also conducted many clinical investigations for contact lens manufacturers.  Dr. Silbert has written numerous articles, ophthalmic textbook chapters, served as associate clinical editor for the Review of Optometry and Contact Lens Forum, and authored two editions of Anterior Segment Complications of Contact Lens Wear, a reference textbook for practitioners. Dr. Silbert has been honored by the AOA Cornea & Contact Lens Section with the 2011 Achievement Award; the Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators with the Lester E. Janoff Memorial Award for Excellence in Contact Lens Education, Publication and Research; the NJSOP;  and PCO for Faculty Member of the Year. He is a diplomate in the Cornea, Contact Lens, and Refractive Technology Section of the AAO, and has served on the executive committee of that section and is past chair of the Association of Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE). His latest chapter in a peer-reviewed 2019 publication will be devoted to new advances in clinical diagnosis and management of dry eye disease, in Elsevier's Advances in Ophthalmology and Optometry.

Satya Verma, OD '75, FAAO

Dr. Satya VermaDr. Satya Verma had an optometric degree from India and completed some graduate work in the U.S. when he came to PCO to join the faculty in 1971; he subsequently also became a student pursuing his Doctor of Optometry degree. Forty-seven years later, Dr. Verma, an associate professor and director of the PCO Externship Program, now holds the distinction of being among the longest-serving PCO and Salus employee. Among his many accomplishments at PCO and Salus is launching the low-vision clinic mobile clinic to serve the visual needs of home-bound patients. Dr. Verma has held numerous local, state and national leadership positions including serving as the 100th president of the POA. It was during his tenure that the Pennsylvania Therapeutic Law was passed. He also formerly held positions as the secretary of the Indian Optometric Association; chair of Vision Care Section of APHA, chair of National Council on Aging (NCOA); and chair of National Voluntary Organization for Independent Living for the Aging and Health Promotion Institute of NCOA. He was one of the longest serving board members of NCOA; a delegate for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the 1995 White House conference on Aging; chair and co-chair of the National Academy of Practice in Optometry; and president of NAP. Dr. Verma has also served the AAO as chair of the Public Health and Environment Vision Section and the AOA as chair of Professional Relations Committee and currently serves on its Ethics and Values Committee. He helped to facilitate the passage of the Medicare Act, which allowed optometrists to be viewed as physicians. Among Dr. Verma’s many honors is the Optometrist of the Year Award (twice); George Gottschalk Award and Jerry Davidoff Award from the POA; Optometrist of the Year from the AOA; Carl Koch Award and Life Fellowship Award from the AAO; Distinguished Service Award from Prevent Blindness and Vision Care section of APHA; Geneva Mathiason Award from NCOA; Professional Excellence award from the Council Indian Organizations; James A Boucher Award from the National Academy of Practice in Optometry; and most recently the Nicholas A. Cummings Award from the National Academies of Practice. Dr. Verma was one of only four optometrists selected for the Health Policy Fellowship. He has also been in private practice in the United States since 1997.

Salus University Presidential Medals

Pierrette Dayhaw-Barker, PhD

Dr. Pierrette Dayhaw-BarkerDr. Pierrette Dayhaw-Barker served both PCO and Salus for more than 35 years teaching within the Optometry, Audiology and Physician Assistant programs. Dr. Dayhaw-Barker also served as the assistant dean and then associate dean of Basic Science before serving as the associate dean for the Foundations of Optometric Medicine. She played an instrumental role in the development of Curriculum 2000, a major innovation to the optometry curriculum implemented in 2001, she laid the foundation for University-wide interprofessional education and launched the University’s PhD in Biomedicine program. Dr. Dayhaw-Barker, professor emeritus, received Salus University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2014.

Tomi Browne, AuD ‘04

Dr. Tomi BrowneDr. Tomi Browne is the founder and president of HEARt of the Village, Inc., which works with HIV+ children in Kenya. Dr. Browne and her teams have identified and arranged treatment and surgery for dozens of children with ear disease and hearing loss. Salus Osborne College of Audiology (OCA) students and faculty have been active participants in this program. She was an early supporter of Dr. George Osborne’s efforts to establish the Audiology Program at PCO, and she taught classes online for six years. Dr. Browne, who has over 20 years of private practice experience, is a founder of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and a past recipient of the AAA President’s Award for her exceptional service and dedication to the Academy, the profession of audiology and to the individuals with hearing, tinnitus or balance disorders. A past director of the Salus University Alumni Association, she was the 2015 recipient of the Salus University Alumni Association Audiology Alumnus of the Year Award for distinguishing herself through extraordinary service and contributions to the profession of audiology, bringing honor and prestige to Salus University and, specifically, to OCA. 

Anthony F. Di Stefano, OD ‘73, MPH, MEd, FAAO

Dr. Anthony Di StefanoDr. Anthony Di Stefano formally joined the PCO faculty in 1974 as an associate professor of Public Health. President Dr. Norman Wallis appointed Dr. Di Stefano as a special assistant to the president for Strategic Planning in 1975. He developed PCO’s first five-year strategic plan which would form the foundation for PCO’s future growth. He was the architect of many new degree programs and innovative program delivery methods, including the transformation of the Optometry program through such initiatives as Curriculum 2000 and the three-year Doctor of Optometry Accelerated Scholars Program. 

Gail Gudmundsen, AuD ‘02

Dr. Gail GudmundsenDr. Gail Gudmundsen has devoted decades of service to the profession of audiology. Early in her career, she provided clinical audiology services at the two largest teaching hospitals in Chicago, Ill. She subsequently operated a multi-office audiology private practice for over 20 years. Dr. Gudmundsen has made important contributions to Salus and OCA, both as a former adjunct faculty member and as the first AuD to serve on the Board of Trustees. Dr. Gudmundsen was the first recipient of the Salus University Alumni Association's Audiology Alumna of the Year Award in 2012.

Thomas L. Lewis, OD ‘70, PhD, FAAO

Dr. Thomas LewisDr. Thomas Lewis joined the PCO faculty in 1972. By 1979, Dr. Lewis was appointed vice president and dean of Academic Affairs prior to becoming PCO president in 1989 in which he served until 2013. Under his leadership, the institution continued to earn a reputation for excellence in healthcare science. His vision also included many campus facility improvements, including the University’s move to Elkins Park, Pa.; the development and building of the Hafter Student Community Center; and an $11 million renovation of TEI. He also spearheaded PCO to apply for University status with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, so that the newly integrated programs would work in unison under the new umbrella institution of Salus University. He is a past president of the AAO and member of the NBEO and ASCO, as well as the Partnership for Optometric Education. He has received many awards in addition to the Distinguished Service Award from the AOA.

Michael H. Mittelman, OD ’80, MPH, FAAO, FACHE

Dr. Michael H. MittelmanDr. Michael H. Mittelman served with distinction for more than three decades in the United States Navy in a succession of increasingly responsible, mission-critical command positions, and achieving the rank of Rear Admiral (Upper Half) and serving as Deputy Surgeon General. He was a trailblazer for optometry in the military as the first Navy aerospace optometrist, the first optometrist to command a major naval hospital; the first and only clinician to lead the Navy Medical Service Corps; the first non-medical doctor to serve as a combatant command surgeon in the U.S. Pacific Command; and the first non-medical doctor to serve as the command surgeon for the U.S. Joint Forces. After 33 years, Dr. Mittelman retired from the U.S. Navy, a Rear Admiral and former Deputy Surgeon General, and returned to his alma mater to become Salus University’s  sixth president in 2013. Dr. Mittelman is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the AAO. He is a past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the AOA and of the Armed Forces Optometric Society’s Orion Award.

George Shepard Osborne, PhD, DDS


Dr. George Osborne Dr. George Osborne and PCO established the PCO School of Audiology in 2000. He first created AuD online, a robust and comprehensive program designed specifically as a bridge for licensed and practicing audiologists and was the second largest program in the country. A few weeks after celebrating the graduation of the first class of residential Audiology students, Dr. Osborne died unexpectedly at the age of 66. Shortly after Salus University was established on July 1, 2008, the PCO School of Audiology was renamed the Osborne College of Audiology.  Dr. Osborne was the founder and past president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Audiology; co-founder and past chair of the Audiology Foundation of America; co-founder and director of the AAA; and co-founder and director of the Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education. 

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

Dr. Fabiana PerlaDr. 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 Surpin Jo 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.