Michael D. Twa, OD, PHD, FAAO, has been selected for the position of Dean at UHCO. Dr. Twa joins the College from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he serves as associate dean for research and graduate studies for the School of Optometry. Dr. Twa is expected to begin his duties on June 1, 2019. Welcome, Dr. Twa!
Former Louisiana state senator, David Heitmeier, OD., '87 has pledged his support to the Earl L. Smith, III, Professorship with a $10,000 gift to UHCO’s foundation, the Foundation for Education and Research in Vision (FERV).
“Earl has transformed UHCO over the last several years and I am more than happy to support a Professorship that carries his name,” Dr. Heitmeier said.
FERV launched the Earl L. Smith Professorship in 2018 to honor Dean Smith for his exemplary service to the college and optometry. Once fully endowed the Professorship will attract, promote, and retain high caliber faculty interested in pursuing research at UHCO.
The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), an affiliate of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), and VSP Global announced the recipients of this year’s Practice Excellence Scholarships. Congratulations to UHCO’s own Rami Aboumourad, OPT IV, and Kristen Watt, OPT IV. Nearly $200,000 will be distributed amongst top-performing fourth-year optometry students in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada. Two students from each school or college of optometry were selected by nomination of their individual institutions to receive the scholarship.
Vivien Coulson-Thomas, PhD, UHCO Assistant Professor, recently received a $1.9M grant from the National Eye Institute. Her research will look at how the hyaluronan creates limbal stem cells and whether you can take a cell, put it on a hyaluronan layer, or substrate, and create new stem cells in the lab. This revolutionizing research will hopefully improve the lives of patients with limbal stem cell deficiency.
UHCO has become the first optometry school in the nation to use the Anatomage Table, a 3D anatomy table that uses digital cadavers to teach anatomy, solely for the optometry program. The world’s first virtual dissection table allows users to visualize anatomy as they would on a human cadaver.
Congratulations to all residents who were selected for 2018 American Academy of Optometry Resident Travel Fellowships. The UHCO recipients are: Diana Chen, OD, Allergan Resident Travel Fellowship; Jonathan Chen, OD, ’17; Marcus Noyes, OD, ’17; Kellen Riccobono, OD, ’17; Felicia Satrio, OD, ’17; Bryan Williams, OD, ’17; and Katherine Zhang, OD who all received the Cornea and Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies Resident Travel Fellowships from CooperVision.
David A. Berntsen, OD, ’02, PhD, FAAO, has been selected as the Golden-Golden Professor at UHCO. Dr. Berntsen is an Associate Professor at UHCO whose research interests include myopia, contact lenses, and aberrations of the eye. The professorship was endowed in 2010 by Dennis Golden, OD, ’77, and Dixon Golden, OD, ’77. Congratulations, Dr. Berntsen!
Humana Inc., one of the nation’s leading health and well-being companies, and the University of Houston announced today a long-term strategic partnership to train the health care leaders of tomorrow with a focus on advancing population health, improving health outcomes and expanding the use of value-based payment models. Together, the two organizations will create the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute at the University of Houston, which will unite the university’s new College of Medicine, as well as the existing colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Optometry. A $15 million gift over 10 years from Humana will help defray start-up and operational costs for the College of Medicine, as well as fund endowed chairs for each of the five colleges.
Congratulations to Mr. Lyle Tate, M.S., on being selected as a Certified Appreciative Adviser. Lyle is the Program Manager for Admissions, Recruiting, and Advising for UHCO and has been part of the team for five years. This selection is a coveted process through the Appreciative Advising Institute (AAI). The whole concept of the AAI is student focused and goal oriented and works through six phases of advising: Disarm, Discover, Dream, Design, Deliver, and Don’t Settle.