On August 13, the University of Houston welcomed over 20,000 students and their parents to the 6th Annual Mayor’s Back to School Fest. This event is a great opportunity for students grades K-5 and their families to experience an array of resources, in the Greater Houston community, to prepare students for the upcoming school year.
The University of Houston’s College of Optometry (UHCO), the City of Houston’s Health and Human Services Department, Eye Care for Kids, and Prevent Blindness Texas provided vision screenings to these school-age children.
The most useful tool a College and University has for populating classrooms, laboratories and clinics with exemplary instructors and scholars is named professorships. UHCO announced on July 14, that Jan Bergmanson OD, PhD, FAAO, would hold the first Brien Holden Professorship and Vallabh Das, PhD, would hold the Benedict-Pitts Professorship.
The Brien A. Holden Professorship Endowment will support a faculty member at UHCO who exemplifies the commitment to the profession and the ideals Professor Holden championed throughout his lifetime with regard to vision science and innovation and are still being carried out today via the Brien Holden Vision Research Institute.
The Benedict-Pitts Professorship Endowment will support a faculty member at UHCO who exemplifies the commitment to practice management and the ideals Mr. Benedict and Dr. Pitts demonstrated for the optometric profession in all facets.
UHCO's Class of 2020 is participating in 'A Day of Service' on Saturday, August 20, at the Houston Food Bank. This inaugural event is part of the larger Week of Welcome activities and orientation the Class of 2020 experiences prior to their first days of class. This event will foster new memories and connections for the incoming students with the Greater Houston community, in which they live and serve.
A Day of Service is in honor of the late Dr. J. Davis Armistead, our building's namesake. Armistead was involved with the food bank since its inception over 30 years ago, helping create policies and procedures for the food bank as well as working in the field. Armistead, who lived through the Great Depression era and served in World War II, pointed to the Rotary Club's motto of "Service Above Self" as his motivation for his philanthropic spirit.
Rio is not the only place for awards this summer; the awards for The American Academy of Optometry have recently been announced and UHCO’s own Kelly Moore, OD, MS, ’16, and Nimesh Patel, OD, PhD ’12, FAAO, are among the honors.
Moore received the Julius F. Neumueller Award in Optics for her paper, Spherical Soft Contact Lens Designs and Peripheral Defocus in Myopic Eyes. Patel received the Irvin M. and Beatrice Borish Award, which recognizes an outstanding young scientist, or clinician scientist, who has shown exceptional promise to conduct independent research directly related to etiology, prevention, detection, diagnosis, or management of clinical ocular disorders.
Amber Gaume Giannoni, OD, ’01, FAAO, has been selected as the 2016 UH Women & Gender Resource Center Distinguished Faculty in the Clinical and Instructional category. The UH Women and Gender Resource Center’s mission is to promote gender equality throughout all areas of the UH community. All award winners will be recognized at an event in August. Congratulations, Amber!
This summer’s TEXOCOP (Texas Optometric Career Opportunities Program) was another great success! From May 16th to July 1st, UHCO hosted 16 outstanding undergrads and post-bacs from UH, TAMU, UH-Downtown, Texas State University, UTMB, UTRGV, University of North Texas, UTSA, Jackson State University, and Nova Southeastern University. Coordinated by UHCO Clinical Associate Professor Lanny Shulman, O.D. ’81, Ph.D. ’98, 19 UHCO OPT II, III, and IV students created and led the program’s curriculum and provided the TEXOCOP students with a top-notch, challenging, and intensive crash course into what they can expect as future OPT I students.
On June 27, the College welcomed the ’16 - ’17 Clinical Residents and Contact Lens Fellow to the UHCO Family. Faculty, staff and administration celebrated our outgoing and incoming residents’ with a reception honor of their milestone. We wish our previous residents the best in their next endeavour and welcome our new residents.
Kassaundra Johnston, OD '12, director of SNAPS and clinical assistant professor at UHCO was recently featured in TMC News alongside Cynthia Peacock, M.D., director of the Transition Medicine Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine. They have come together to give quality care to special needs patients who have aged out of the pediatric system. Many of the patients from the Transition Medicine Clinic at Baylor are sent to UHCO for optometry services. The College provides specialty services for adults with disabilities called SNAPS (Special Needs Adult and Pediatric Service). Whether it be primary care or optometry, Texas Medical Center and UHCO are working to provide quality care to all patients regardless of their cognitive aptitude. To read the full TMC News story click here.
The weekend of June 4-5, UHCO was excited to welcome back the Class of 1996 for their 20-year reunion! The group enjoyed reminiscing through the college halls and touring the Health and Biomedical Sciences Bldg. The soiree was held in conjunction with UHCO's Everything Therapeutic CE program. It was great seeing everyone and hearing the stories of alumni when they called UHCO home.
UHCO welcomed another group of optometric professionals to the ranks as UHCO alumni! On May 12, the Class of 2016 celebrated with friends and family as they received their Doctor of Optometry degrees.
Memorable highlights from the day included the award for Distinguish Alumnus of the Year; Brett Bence, OD,’79, FAAO. Brett currently serves as the director of optometric services in a large multi-center surgical and co-management practice and the president of the American Academy of Optometry. Another highlight from the day’s event included William "Bill" Elizondo, OD, presented with Volunteer of the Year award. William has accumulated many awards and honors during his distinguished career as an advocate for the profession and his community.
It was wonderful to celebrate the honors of such esteemed alumni and friends of the UHCO family and welcome the Class of 2016 as new optometric professionals!