Faculty and Staff News

President Michael H. Mittelman, OD ’80, MPH, FAAO, announced the appointment of Janice Scharre, OD, FAAO to the position of provost earlier this month. In his announcement to the Salus community Dr. Mittelman said, ”Dr. Scharre brings a history of success in key areas that include her considerable experience in academic affairs, accreditation, research, program expansion, increasing national test rates, and creating collaborative programs with area universities and colleges.”

Dr. Scharre currently serves as interim associate vice president of Academic Affairs and facilitated the development of the Salus PCO Scholars program a few years ago. A graduate of Illinois College of Optometry, she is an academic leader whose 25 years of experience includes appointments as vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of optometry for Illinois College of Optometry (ICO). 

Dr. Scharre was associate dean for clinical education; Rehabilitative Services coordinator; chief, Pediatric/Binocular Vision Service (ICO/Illinois Eye Institute), and director of Infant/Preschool Vision Clinic, Developmental Visions Clinic, Quality Assurance, and Externships. As advisor to the provost and chancellor at University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), she helped to facilitate that institution’s expansion of its graduate healthcare programs into optometry and physical therapy, and assisted in the institution’s strategic planning and self-study process.

Dr. Mittelman commended the Provost Search Committee for their efforts during this process: Dr. Radhika Aravamudhan; Dr. Victor Bray; Dr. Linda Casser; Dr. Craig Cassey; Dr. Alexander Dizhoor; Dr. John Fitzgerald; Mr. Don Kates; Ms. Vivien Li; Dr. Lorraine Lombardi; Dr. William Monaco; Dr. Fabiana Perla; Ms. Susan Platt; Dr. Audrey Smith and Dr. Brooke Smith (chair).

Dr. Scharre will begin her transition to her new position at the end of May. She succeeds current vice president of Academic Affairs, Dr. Anthony F. Di Stefano, who is taking a year's sabbatical and will be enhancing and expanding the University's Public Health programs.

New Appointments for Drs. Scheiman and Monaco

Dr. Anthony F. Di Stefano,vice president, Academic Affairs, announced new appointments earlier this month for Mitchell Scheiman, OD, FAAO, and William A. Monaco, OD, PhD, FAAO.

Dr. Scheiman is now interim dean of Research for the University. In an announcement to the Salus community, Dr. Di Stefano said Dr. Scheiman's "outstanding career as a researcher, educator and clinician- scholar" includes appointments as associate dean of Clinical Research and director of the PCO Pediatric/Binocular Vision Programs. Recognized nationally for his leadership in binocular vision, serving with such groups as the DOD Clinical Practice Consensus Steering Committee on Vision Pediatric Eye Doctor Investigator group (PEDIG), Dr. Scheiman has extensive clinical research extramural funding serving as the Co-Protocol Chair of the NEI Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Study (CITS) and Study Chair of the NEI Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial (CITT). He is currently awaiting a final decision on his proposed NEI/U10 Cooperative Clinical Research grant entitled the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial - Attention and Reading Trial (CITT-ART). Dr. Di Stefano also noted that Dr. Scheiman will bring administrative leadership and a distinctive track record to his new position.

Dr. Monaco has assumed the position of interim associate dean for Graduate Programs in Biomedicine (GPBI) and brings "broad and extensive academic and clinical leadership experience to the position." Over the past several years Dr. Monaco has served as the associate director of the University's Master of Public Health (MPH) program and as special assistant to the vice president of Academic Affairs for Program Development. Dr. Di Stefano also noted that, during this period, Dr. Monaco has been instrumental in building the on-line pedagogical infrastructure for the MPH and subsequently for the PhD/MSc in Biomedicine, both programs in which he teaches.

Dr. Monaco's career spans significant leadership positions including: US Navy Residency Research director; research director of the St. Vincent's Medical Center, Heart and Lung Institute; dean, College of Optometry at Northeastern State University; director of the Optometry Service at the Veterans Health Administration; and research optometrist at the US Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen (MD). He has continued his long-time work as a clinical optometrist, serving underserved populations in nursing homes and other institutional settings and also teaches gerontology in our MPH program. Dr. Monaco brings distinctive leadership skills to the GPBI which will allow us to build on the foundational work of Dr. Pierrette Dayhaw-Barker, professor emeritus and founding dean of the Biomedicine program.


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.”

Associate professors Dr. Sarah Appel and Ms. Marcy Grayboyes, MSW, have received a grant of $20,000 provided through the generosity of the Albert B. Millett Memorial Fund of the BNY Mellon Mid-Atlantic Charitable Trusts to fund the Feinbloom Community Based Low Vision Mobile Clinic.  With this grant, the Low Vision Mobile Clinic service will continue to bring comprehensive low vision evaluations to children with visual impairment in their educational settings at sites throughout the Delaware Valley. 

Located within The Eye Institute, the William Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center was established to continue the groundbreaking work of Dr. William Feinbloom (1904-1985), who used his knowledge of physics, math, biophysics and visual  psychology to invent many specialized magnification devices that are still in use today in the rehabilitation of individuals with visual impairment.

The Salus community congratulates the following members:

Dr. Radhika Aravamudhan and Dr. Victor Bray, on the publication of their co-authored paper, “Preservation of Auditory Brainstem Response Thresholds After Cochleostomy and Titanium Microactuator Implantation in the Lateral Wall of Cat Scala Tympani” in the April issue of Otology & Neurotology, a peer-review journal (Vol. 35 - Issue 4: p 730-738).

Dr. Richard Brilliant, on the recent publication of an article on night driving with low vision in Medscape Eye. (link: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/819137)

Benjamin Foreman ’15OD, who was recently awarded the 2014 Dr. Seymour Galina Grant from the American Optometric Association.

Alta Fried, ’14OT, who will have her article about her journey to the Occupational Therapy profession published within the next few months as a special feature article/cover page of OT Advance magazine.

John Kilpatrick ’14MS, who won the Delta Gamma Award at the American Foundation for the Blind's Leadership Conference, in Brooklyn New York in February. According to Dr. Fabiana Perla, O&M program director, John was one of a few graduate students in the country given this award for his accomplishments and potential for leadership in the field of visual impairments.  

Vitto Mena ’14OD, who was a winner in Transitions Optical’s annual Students of Vision “Share Your Impact” contest. More than 45 optometry and opticianry students submitted a video, short story, photograph, poster, drawing, painting or illustration demonstrating how they will use (or have used) their professional expertise to impact the lives of others.

Charita Smith ’14OD, who co-authored two posters at SECO in March. The posters' abstracts will be published in the April Optometry and Visual Performance (OVP).
OVP is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal published by the Optometric Extension Program Foundation and the Australasian College of Behavioral Optometry.

Marian Weber who, after 21 years at PCO/Salus, retires today from the Cottet Library, where she has served hundreds of students as a library technician.

Alison Wilk, who has left her position as administrative assistant at the College of Education and Rehabilitation to become the new library technician in the University’s Cottet Library.