Alumni News

Salus PCO Celebration at AOA

Attention PCO Alumni!

Watch your April mail for your official invitation to the Salus PCO fundraiser and special event supporting Salus community outreach programs. It’s an evening to get together with old friends and former classmates to celebrate our PCO legacy and support our Salus outreach programs. A win-win for all!

2014 Alumni Reunion - Friday, June 27, 2014 starting at 7:30 p.m.

For more reunion information

Pictured at the SECO annual meeting in Atlanta this month with Dr. Mittelman (far right) are from left to right: Michelle Kelly, Paul Kotch and Steve Wyman of Alcon. (photo credit: Dr. Tony Di Stefano).

VP of Clinical Operations


Newly appointed vice president of Clinical Operations, John Gaal, had a busy first week. On Monday, February 3, his first day, the University and its clinics were closed due to a major snowstorm, which was followed by ice storm-related power outages from Wednesday to Sunday on the Elkins Park campus, which includes the Pennsylvania Ear Institute.
A US Army veteran with 28 years of service, then Colonel Gaal was chief operating officer at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, MD prior to his retirement. In his new position at Salus, Mr. Gaal is responsible for the operation of The Eye Institute, the William Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center, the Pennsylvania Ear Institute and any future University clinical services.

In his announcement to the University community, President Michael H. Mittelman said, “John Gaal’s exceptional skill in managing large hospital operations will be a great asset to Salus as we continue to thrive and grow,” noting that Mr. Gaal’s years of experience as chief operating officer in military hospitals, combined with his leadership ability, “make him a valuable part of the Salus team.”

Mr. Gaal’s healthcare administration experience stood him in good stead and, as he noted in his second week on the job, “My first week on the job was interesting, fun, and chaotic… exactly what I was looking for in my new job.  I was impressed with the staff and faculty, and how well they did dealing with the changes and challenges created by the unusual weather. The staff were great, keeping the needs of the patients at the forefront.”

CER “Reunion” in New Orleans    


Faculty, current students and alumni of the College of Education and Rehabilitation’s Orientation & Mobility (O&M) program got together for a “reunion” in December at the O&M AER (Association for Education and Rehabilitation of Blindness and Vision Professionals) Annual Conference in New Orleans.

The most common clinical measurement of visual function is visual acuity, measured by means of a Snellen chart.  Recently, its use has been expanded not only to measure visual acuity, but also to measure the progress of disease or the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. In a test-retest mode however, the main difficulty with a Snellen chart is the lack of a precise scoring system. Traditional line-by-line scoring typically requires only that 50-80% of the letters in a line be identified correctly in order to score a successful reading of the entire line. Thus, the variability in line-by-line scoring is inherently high.  When letter-by-letter scoring (which inherently has a lower variability) is used, test-retest visual acuity measurements are known to be - up to a factor of two - more precise.

We have developed a unique method of scoring Snellen chart responses through the use of LogMAR transformations that account for each letter read. The final, cumulative letter-by-letter LogMAR value is converted into an effective Snellen fraction. The mathematical processes are embedded in an EXCEL-based tool and are transparent to the practicing clinician. This letter-by-letter, LogMAR-based, scoring tool is available from this web site. In addition, the tool has a similar ETDRS spread sheet for those who use ETDRS charts.

We have designed this tool for clinicians, who are untrained in LogMAR use, so that they can: 1) apply these visual acuity data as a refined diagnostic tool, 2) assess progression of eye disease, or 3) quantify the efficacy of treatment of certain pathological eye conditions with greater precision.  Potentially, this tool has broad applications for clinicians who, for a variety of reasons, have been hesitant to incorporate LogMAR principles into their clinical patient databases. Moreover, this tool has possible beneficial medico-legal implications. It could protect clinicians who are struggling to quantify visual performance in a manner that is: a) subtle enough to have scientific credibility, b) sufficiently established to supply a defensible metric acceptable to scientists worldwide, and c) robust enough to stand up in courts of law.

Instructions to Download, Customize & Use the Effective Snellen Chart.

Snellen Chart Scoring Aid

This software is provided by the copyright holders and contributors "as is," and any express of implied warranties, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose are disclaimed. In no event shall the copyright owner or contributors or Salus University be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary or consequential damages (including, but not limited to, procurement of substitute goods or services; loss of use, data or profits, or business interruption), however caused and on any theory of liability, whether in contract, strict liability or tort (including negligence or otherwise) arising in any way out of the use of this software, even if advised of the possibility of such damage.

Users may not reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the software application without the expressed consent of the authors. This product is provided without warranties or conditions and is provided "As Is". To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event shall the U.S. Army, the authors, or Salus University be liable for any special, incidental, indirect or consequential damages whatsoever arising out the use of this product.

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