Current Student News

First Class of Optometry Scholars Students

The University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) Scholars Program is the nation’s first accelerated Doctor of Optometry degree program. The first cohort of 10 students were welcomed into this highly selective, continuous, three-year program in July and are scheduled to graduate in June 2017.

Students enrolled in the Scholars Program earn the credit equivalency of students in a traditional four-year program. President Michael H. Mittelman, OD ’80, MPH, said, “This unique program further demonstrates our intense commitment to providing an innovative, professional education that serves the needs of our students and their patients."

The program continues the legacy of innovation and professional leadership begun with Pennsylvania College of Optometry decades ago, and the pedagogical and clinical aspects of the Scholars curriculum underwent careful planning and great scrutiny in the years leading up to the program’s launch. “As a multi-disciplinary health sciences University, we are proud to be on the leading edge of healthcare education aimed at  meeting the growing needs of patients and communities,” explained Dr. Janice Scharre, Salus provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.” The Scholars Program, which attracted far more candidates than available slots, is based on best practices and the first class is stellar in every respect, as are the faculty that will be responsible for their training.”   

The program’s unique curriculum emphasizes lecture and laboratory instruction, small group learning, case-based learning, and online and web enhanced instruction. Guided independent study offers students the ability to work individually and in small groups with faculty mentors.

“Like every one of our doctor of optometry graduates, the students will benefit from extensive, structured patient care experiences and a very favorable student-to-faculty ratio,” explained Dr. Lori Grover, dean of the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry.  Salus PCO students receive invaluable faculty mentorship as they develop the critical thinking and clinical competencies necessary for optometric practitioners.”

Students accepted into this program are carefully screened and accepted based on qualifications, history of academic performance and career path.


Landmark Audiology Legislation

The first significant update of audiology licensure in Pennsylvania since 1984 was signed by Governor Corbett on July 2, 2014. The Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists Licensure Act (Act 106 of 2014) contains requirements reflective of national standards, updates terminology and, beginning January 1, 2015, will require all applicants for licensure to have a doctoral degree in audiology.

According to Osborne College of Audiology (OCA) dean, Dr. Victor Bray, Salus OCA faculty member Dr. Sherman Lord ’10 was instrumental in getting the legislation passed in his capacity of vice president of Governmental Affairs for the Pennsylvania Academy of Audiology (PAA). 

In an update to his colleagues Dr. Lord noted that the bill’s passing required compromise and collaboration, and he cited members of the Pennsylvania legislature, our Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) colleagues, Pennsylvania Speech Hearing Association, the three Pennsylvania Doctor of Audiology (AuD) university programs, several physician groups, and the Pennsylvania Medical Society. 

In addition to the scope of practice update, the other important changes to the law include the following:

  • By their request, no longer will Teachers of the Hearing Impaired be licensed under this Act.
  • An audiologist is defined as an "independent practitioner."
  • Beginning on January 1, 2015, all new applicants for an audiology license must possess a doctoral degree in audiology as determined by the State Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (Licensure Board).
  • Reduces the number of physicians on the Licensure Board to one.
  • Provides the Licensure Board with the power "To recognize the national professional organizations in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology that have established definitions of the practice of speech-language pathology and audiology. The board shall have the power to adopt those definitions to the practical definitions of the practice of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology for licensees under the board."
  • Certification other than the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in audiology may now be accepted as documentation necessary to waive the examination requirement (e.g. board certification through the American Board of Audiology)
  • The Licensure Board may now issue a provisional license to recently graduated AuD students as well as audiologists moving to Pennsylvania who are awaiting their application approval to become fully licensed.


Salus PA Student Elected to SAAAPA Board   

L to R: Mrs. Vause, Bethany Rohrs
and Dr. Vause, Director of the Salus University Physician Assistant program.

In late May, at the national meeting of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), then first-year student Bethany Rohrs ’15PA represented the University’s PA Program in the Student Academy of the AAPA Assembly of Representatives (AOR).  The Student Academy was created to represent the unique views and needs of PA students.  The AOR is their governing body and is comprised of one representative from the student society of each Physician Assistant program nationwide. 

According to Physican Assistant program director, Dr. Richard C. Vause, Jr., as the Salus AOR representative, Ms. Rohr was the liaison between the Salus students and SAAAPA.  The AOR reviews, deliberations, and votes on resolutions that are submitted to the Board by the student societies.  The carried resolutions set the Student Academy agenda for the upcoming year.  Ms. Rohr participated in debate and discussions pertaining to the resolutions, while representing the interests of the students in Salus’ PA Program.  The executive branch of SAAAPA is led by the Board of Directors, who are elected by AOR representatives at the annual AAPA conference. 

Additionally, Ms. Rohr ran and was elected to the position of director of Student Communications.  In her new role on the SAAAPA Board, she will work on coordinating efforts at the national level to promote local action by individual student societies and PA students.  She will also serve as chair for the Communication and Outreach Volunteer Group to fulfill the mission set forth by the AOR resolutions.  She endorses the concept that effective communication requires timely, accurate exchange of information through multiple media to reach a diverse audience.  Ms. Rohr looks forward to promoting the PA profession while representing Salus University at the national level in her new role this upcoming year, while beginning her second-year clinical rotations next month.

Congratulations to Alta Fried '14OT (center of photo), on the publication of her inspiring story! Read all about it in Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners current issue.

Accreditations Awarded

The Occupational Therapy program received full accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association  (AOTA) earlier this month.

New SLP Program Offers Info on Campus

In honor of May, the “Better Hearing and Speech Month,” the faculty and staff of the Department of Speech–Language and Pathology (SLP) in the College of Education and Rehabilitation provided the Salus community with information regarding the profession of Speech-Language Pathology and an update on the program’s accreditation and construction of the Speech Clinic in the Breyer Office Park building on the Elkins Park campus.

Department chair and program director, Dr. Carolyn Mayo, and SLP faculty and staff were on-hand during lunchtime outside the University’s Café on two days to present information on: Communication Milestones; Stroke Awareness; Health Literacy; Vocal Hygiene for Professors; Accent Modification and Reflux Prevention.

The Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology degree program will welcome its first class in the 2014-2015 academic year.


PhD White Coat Ceremony

A white coat ceremony was held late last month for Ms. Wafa Al-Otibi, a student in the PhD Biomedicine program from Saudi Arabia, who could not be present for the ceremony held in August.

Pictured above are Ms. Al-Otibi, Dr. Pierrette Dayhaw-Barker, founding dean of the Biomedicine program and Ms. Noura Aldossary, who received her white coat in August.