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Chiasson Installed as SECO President

Darby Chiasson, OD '99, was installed as SECO International President during the organization's annual meeting in Atlanta in March. A native of Lafourche Parish in Louisiana, he received his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University and completed his Doctorate of Optometry at Southern College of Optometry.

Dr. Chiasson completed his institutional externship at Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans and a private externship in Metairie. During his educational career, he received the following honors: 1999 Who's Who Among Students in American Univerisities and Colleges, Gold Key International Optometric Honor Society, Class of 1977 Endowed Scholarship and the Dean's List at Southern College of Optometry, Beta Sigma Kappa National Honor Society, and Board Trustee Scholar at Louisiana State University.

Dr. Chiasson returned to his hometown to help his friends and neighbors with their vision care needs. He and his wife Nikole reside in Cut Off with their three children Laurel, Jack, and Connor.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 3/6/13 | 0 comments

Helping Others See Well: How One Man’s Kindness Has Made a Difference

Most healthcare patients have received treatment at facilities bearing the names of prominent individuals. The Fredric M. Rosemore, OD, Low Vision Service at The Eye Center at Southern College of Optometry is no different. Yet the man whose name graces this particular service area was truly someone special, the kind of civic-minded individual whose work and legacy continues with each passing year.

A 1948 graduate of SCO, Dr. Rosemore became an optometrist after serving his country during World War II, thanks in part to the G.I. Bill that provided veterans with the funds to further their education. The decorated Prisoner of War was determined to help people see better with the expertise he learned in Memphis. Moving to Alabama, Dr. Rosemore became a very successful optometrist and practiced a number of years before retiring to pursue business interests.

In his daily practice, Dr. Rosemore realized that many rural residents lacked access to healthcare because of poverty. In the 1950s, Medicaid and other programs had yet to be created, so Dr. Rosemore created his own charity program and set aside time from his schedule to see patients in need.

“He actually used to get the health department to send people to him who were in need,” remembers his daughter, Dr. Martha Rosemore Morrow, who also graduated from SCO and now serves as the Alumni Council Representative on the college’s Board of Trustees. “He devoted Tuesdays to seeing people, examining them, and providing them glasses for free when they couldn’t afford them,” she said.

Dr. Rosemore recognized the connection between good vision and the ability to thrive in daily life. Without being able to see clearly, local residents in his town couldn’t do the work required by factory jobs. Children who couldn’t see well were challenged academically in school. The need was great, and he intended to do everything he could to make life better for his patients.

“As a child, I remember how people lined up to be seen by my father,” Dr. Morrow says. “People just really needed that help, and he was glad to provide it to them. He was a man of character who always believed in helping those less fortunate.”

Dr. Rosemore lived his creed on a daily basis, and in his later years, he extended his philanthropy to a number of worthwhile causes. He and his wife, Marion, actively supported scholarships for optometry students. Their daughter notes that Dr. Rosemore’s sense of obligation to his fellow man was tied in part to the gratitude he had for his country helping him attend optometry school.

In his later years, Dr. Rosemore’s support for low vision services at his alma mater was enhanced by his own experiences. After diabetes impacted his eyesight, Dr. Rosemore needed assistive devices to help him in his love of reading. His family turned to SCO and The Eye Center for information and help in selecting the best devices to help him see better.

The retired optometrist had always known about health conditions and diseases that diminish eyesight, but he gained greater empathy after his own experience with vision problems. True to his giving nature, Dr. Rosemore, along with his wife, decided to support The Eye Center’s Low Vision Service to help other patients. Because Medicare and Medicaid typically will not cover the costs of low vision assistive devices, senior patients or lower income patients often lack the financial resources to obtain the help they need.

The Rosemores generously supported SCO’s Low Vision Endowment Fund. The Assisi Foundation in Memphis matched a gift the Rosemores made and agreed to match an additional $250,000 if other alumni and donors would support the fund. Results immediately followed. One Memphis girl, Alyssa Loggins, was provided with magnifiers and telescopes to help the 11-year-old enjoy her favorite hobby, reading, and to succeed in school.

In 2007, The Eye Center’s Low Vision Service was renamed for Dr. Fredric M. Rosemore. Last year nearly 800 patients received care at the service bearing Dr. Rosemore’s name. Two new external clinical collaborations were recently added to expand service in the Memphis area through partnerships with the Baptist Rehabilitation Hospital and the Catholic Diocese of Memphis’ Angel Program.

Though Dr. Rosemore passed away in 2008, patients still benefit from his belief in helping people. Dr. Morrow says her father always hoped that others would follow his example.

“Just as his country had helped him in return for serving in World War II, my father always believed that if he helped people, it would encourage others to do the same,” she says. “Whether it means a low vision patient can read to her grandchildren or somebody can go to a place of worship, my father believed if he helped, it would encourage others to be able to give back in their own way.”

The care that Dr. Rosemore provided in his life continues like an unbroken chain. The next person helped is empowered to help yet another. His example reminds us all that we can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors and community.


If you would like to learn more about what you can do to provide more patient care in Memphis and follow the example of Dr. Rosemore and his family, contact Southern College of Optometry’s Office of Institutional Advancement at (901) 722-3216.
Posted by Amy Dunbar at 2/13/13 | 0 comments

COVD Honors Iyer

The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) honored Janna Iyer, OD '11, with The Optometry & Vision Development Award for best published article during 2011 at its fall meeting.

Dr. Iyer was first author for the the article titled: “The Vision Print System: A New Tool in the Diagnosis of Ocular Motor Dysfunction” (OVD 42-1 pg 17-24). Co-Authors were Mark Taub, OD, and W. C. Maples, OD '68. Dr. Iyer was a resident at Southern College of Optometry when she and her coworkers conducted this study.

Other alumni were honored at the meeting. Congratulations to Margaret Brya, OD '03, Jarrod Davies, OD '09, and Ashley Schuelke-Reddell, OD '09, who attained Fellowship in the COVD.

 Read more about other honors awarded at the fall meeting in this COVD news release.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 11/5/12 | 0 comments

Johnson Named SCO Board Chair

New Orleans optometrist Jarrett Johnson, OD '90, was recently named Chair of the Board of Trustees at Southern College of Optometry (SCO) in Memphis. Dr. Johnson holds a Masters in Public Health from Tulane University and is a Past President of the New Orleans Optometric Society.

Dr. Johnson has worked in numerous public service roles, including Coordinator of Mobile Clinics for Vision Service Plan and the Red Cross’s Hurricane Katrina Project. She has also held several positions with the Great Expectations Foundation, including Vice President of Community and Organizational Development, in which she oversaw the Infant Mortality Review Project.

She has also served as a consultant for various federal healthcare grant programs, as Chief of Optometry for the New Orleans Health Corporation and as Minority Outreach Coordinator with a New Orleans AIDS Task Force. A past recipient of the Optometry Association of Louisiana’s Public Service Award, she has been in private practice since 1994 and is the owner of Primary Eye Care in New Orleans.

Dr. Johnson has served on the board for Lighthouse for the Blind, published a number of articles, and serves as an advisor to the Louisiana Healthcare Quality Forum’s Quality Measurement Committee. She has also co-chaired SCO’s “Envision Our Progress” campaign with OAL Executive Director and fellow SCO Board member James Sandefur, OD.
Posted by Amy Dunbar at 10/17/12 | 0 comments

Boucher, Cochran Named to Hall of Fame

Two outstanding SCO graduates - James Boucher, OD '61, and SCO President Emeritus William E. Cochran, OD '68, were among the five inductees into this year's National Optometry Hall of Fame. They were inducted in a special ceremony held during the American Optometric Association's meeting in Chicago.

boucher-picDr. James Boucher

Dr. Boucher is a 1961 graduate of the Southern College of Optometry (SCO). After graduation, he served in the United States Air Force until 1964. Since 1966, he has been in practice at the Snowy Range Vision Center in Laramie, Wyo.

Dr. Boucher has held leadership positions with several optometric organizations. He was on the AOA Board of Trustees (1979-1982), chair of the Education and Manpower Division, Executive Committee (1973-1974), chair of the Contact Lens Section (1986-1987), and chair of the Commission on Ophthalmic Standards (1977-1979). Dr. Boucher served as Wyoming Optometric Association president from 1976-1978.

Dr. Boucher has taught at numerous institutions, including: Illinois College of Optometry; University of Houston College of Optometry; and Pacific University College of Optometry. Dr. Boucher has received many honors, among them are Lifetime Achievement Award (SCO) in 1999, The Harvey W. Wiley Medal/ Food and Drug Administration Commissioner’s special citation in 1995, and the AOA Optometrist of the Year in 1978.

William Cochran_300Dr. William “Billy” Cochran

Dr. Cochran, a third-generation optometrist, graduated from SCO in 1968. He then served as a captain in the U.S. Army’s Medical Service Corps. After completing his military service, Dr. Cochran spent 13 years in a private-practice, primary care optometry partnership in Mississippi.

In 1984, Dr. Cochran was named president of SCO, and he began to make changes to move the college beyond its regional image and into the national arena of optometric education. Under Dr. Cochran’s leadership, SCO began working to fund scholarships and to improve academic standards. He implemented a student recruitment program that saw student enrollment grow from 90 to 120 entering students per year.

By his second decade as SCO president, Dr. Cochran had improved and stabilized the college’s finances. This strengthened the college’s ability to meet the educational, clinical and technological needs of the students.

By the late 1990s, the college had outgrown its clinical facilities. SCO launched capital campaign to construct The Eye Center at SCO, a freestanding clinic designed as a long-term teaching and patient care facility. The Eye Center at SCO opened in 2002 as the largest facility of its kind in the United States.

Within the AOA, Dr. Cochran served on the Task Force on Negotiations in 1974. He also served on the Nominations Committee and in the House of Delegates. He spent four years on the AOA’s Leadership Development Committee and five years as AOA Keyperson.

Dr. Cochran was active in the Mississippi Optometric Association (MOA). He served as the MOA’s Legislative Committee chairman from 1972-1974. He spent three years on the MOA’s board before becoming president in 1978.

Dr. Cochran was also on the board of ASCO. He spent nine years on ASCO’s Executive Committee and served as president in 1991. Additionally, Dr. Cochran served on the Board of Directors of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO).

Congratulations to both of these outstanding alumni!

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 7/3/12