Alumni News

NJAAO Annual CE Program

The New Jersey chapter of the American Academy of Optometry will hold its 2015 CE program from April 22 to April 26 in Myrtle Beach, SC. Through their efforts and COPE-approved CE program over the years, NJAAO members have funded the NJ Academy of Optometry Harold Simmerman Clinical Excellence Scholarship, awarded annually to a deserving fourth year optometry student from New Jersey. For 2015 program information.

Toland Classroom Dedicated

On October 19 the Toland Classroom at The Eye Institute (TEI) was dedicated to Joseph Toland, OD '54, MD. Last year a group of PCO alumni, spearheaded by Dr. Susan Oleszewski ’76, decided to honor the man who was instrumental in allowing TEI optometrists to practice therapeutic optometry at a time when Pennsylvania didn't have therapeutics for optometrists. They organized a donor campaign and surprised Dr. Toland with the announcement of their intent at the annual Joseph P. Toland Excellence in Education event in May.

Dr. Toland and family

At a reception following the dedication, Dr. Mittelman and Dr. Oleszewski spoke of their former teacher and his influence on their lives. After her remarks Dr. Oleszewski invited the TEI faculty, staff and campaign donors in attendance to share their stories about Dr. Toland and the remembrances were always affectionate and often humorous. Dr. and Mrs. Toland and their family were in attendance.  

Addendum: A few days after the dedication, Dr. Susan Oleszewski emailed the following message to the Salus community:

“. . . (Last month) the University had the distinct pleasure of dedicating the TEI classroom as the Joseph C. Toland Classroom.  The amazing tributes and stories from the audience that day about the impact that Dr. Toland had, and the warm, from the heart comments were truly a gift to those of us who were there.  The roasting, reminiscing, and reflections represented a wonderfully important chapter in our institution’s history with Dr. Toland as the protagonist… During the reception I asked Joe if I could have a copy of his speech, as I thought that many who did not come to the event would welcome the  opportunity to read it.  He said that his scribbles would be an obstacle to reading his copy, but he promised to send a fresh copy.    For those who know or who have worked with Dr. Toland, I know you will be able to hear his voice while he offers his thanks and gratitude to so many.” Read Dr. Toland's speech.

Salus First University to Endorse HR 5304

The University became the first University or college to issue an endorsement of a federal bill – HR 5304 , the Audiology Patient Choice Act – that, if enacted, will grant audiologists limited licensed physician (LLP) status within Medicare, allow Medicare patients direct access to audiologists and, as a comprehensive Medicare benefit, give recognition to the profession of audiology so that it is recognized within the full scope of practice.

The endorsement, signed by Salus President Michael H. Mittelman, OD, MPH, Provost Janice Scharre, OD and Osborne College of Audiology (OCA) Dean Victor H. Bray, PhD, states that HR 5304 will “bring about a much needed modernization in the way audiology services are available to Medicare beneficiaries.”

The bill is a bi-partisan effort of US Representatives Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and has the full support of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). In late September, ADA members staged a “fly-in” to Washington, DC, where they met with staffers of Congressional members.  Federal health insurance for members of Congress and their staffs does not require a referral from a primary care physician before seeing an audiologist.

The goal of making audiology an autonomous profession with LLP status on a par with other, frontline healthcare doctoring professions such as optometry, dentistry, podiatry, was one of great importance to the late Dr. George S. Osborne, the founding dean of the University’s audiology program. Dean Bray and the many OCA alumni who are working to gain supporters of the bill are confident that Dr. Osborne would be in the forefront of their efforts. With audiologists licensed in all 50 states to offer these services and with the Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree the profession’s entry level degree, HR 5304 is the next logical step in elevating the profession. 

We Salute

The University community offers sincere congratulations to the following members: 

  • Dr. Michael R. Spinell ’70, associate professor, TEI, who, under the pseudonym M. Richards, is the author of “The Dog Knows…But He’s Not Talking,” a fictional mystery. (

  • Ms. Jo Surpin, chair, Board of Trustees, who has been named one of the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2014 Women of Distinction.

Alexis Abate Appointed Director of Communication  

Alexis Abate, Director of Communications

Alexis Abate, MA, was appointed director of Communication for the University, to become effective October 1. In his announcement to the University community, Dr. Michael H. Mittelman said, “I look forward to working with Alexis as we proceed with the Salus branding and marketing efforts. Her background, experience and expertise will serve the University well, as she leads our efforts to ensure that our name and reputation find a wider audience as we continue our mission to become the best institution in the nation for the education of healthcare professionals.

Ms. Abate has been marketing coordinator for The Eye Institute for the past six years. As director of Communication, she will report to Dr. Mittelman and have multiple responsibilities that include the development of an innovative communications strategy designed to engage audiences and stakeholders across multiple constituencies within Salus; creation and implementation of strategies to ensure the University’s outreach efforts and multiple-market visibility are maximized and the building of relationships with the media and surrounding communities to advance our position with relevant constituents. Ms. Abate also will be responsible for Salus University’s varied and integrated communications, including web-based media and publications; community relations; marketing of research and education programs; public outreach events and activities; and other current programs. 

Ms. Abate holds a BA in Communication/Mass Media Writing from LaSalle University and a Master of Arts in Communication Arts, Public Relations and Advertising from New York Institute of Technology.

Snellen Chart Scoring Aid

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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