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SCO has at least two 2019 graduates, Drs. Shelby Kruse and Laila Tawfik, who are currently completing their residencies in a New York City hospital. In this report sent over the weekend, Dr. Tawfik writes about the challenges and remarkable experience that they've been encountering:
"Thankfully, we're still doing okay and just taking it one day at a time. Things have definitely been crazy here, and New York comes with its own set of challenges in terms of the virus. As optometry residents in a hospital setting, we're considered essential and we're required to go in each day in case of ocular emergencies.
"It's definitely been a learning curve adjusting to the new normal for a while. For our routine patients, we've switched to telemedicine for the time being, and the hospital is working diligently to implement video calls for our patients. We've created makeshift breath guards (pictured above) for when we do see patients, and of course, we wear masks and gloves while examining them.
"When we're on call for emergency patients, we can now triage over the phone in terms of severity, whereas previously we were required to go in for every call. Nurses check our temperature, once, sometimes twice, per day while we're at work to ensure we're healthy enough to be there.
"Finally, the family medicine floors of our hospital have understandably been overwhelmed with COVID patients. They've called upon us for backup to help wherever we can, so one day per week we're each 'on call' for the family medicine floors whenever they need additional help.
"As I mentioned, living in New York presents with its own set of challenges due to the density of the city. Because so many people rely on public transportation to get around, it's virtually impossible to social distance. Here's some photos (pictured below) I took on my way to work.
"We've been doing our best to shelter in place whenever we're not working or on call. It's very strange to see the city that never sleeps suddenly fall quiet."
Let's all thank Drs. Tawfik and Kruse for helping out in the epicenter of America's COVID outbreak and keep them in our thoughts and prayers for their continued safety!
Several SCO alumni were in the spotlight at the SECO 2020 meeting in Atlanta, Georgia held in early March. Among those who were publicly recognized:
Additional details and photos may be found in this news story.
CDR Emily J. Sprague, OD '04, was recently recognized as Navy Medicine's Senior Optometrist of the Year for 2019. She is currently stationed at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital where she serves as the Director for Clinical Support Services, leading a team of more than 500 personnel across Radiology, Pharmacy, Pathology, Public Health, Medical Readiness, and Virtual Health service lines.
In 2013, Dr. Sprague received Southern College of Optometry's Young Alumni Award, in recognition of a commitment to service, leadership, and support of the college’s mission.
Mason Edward “Ed” White, OD, '77, was recently named the 2019 Optometrist of the Year by the West Virginia Association of Optometric Physicians (WVAOP). The Optometrist of the Year is awarded to an outstanding Optometrist that demonstrates outstanding leadership skills when serving their profession, their patients, and their community. The WVAOP recognizes a deserving Optometrist for exceptional performance on behalf of the profession.
After graduating with honors from SCO in 1977, Dr. White opened his practice, White Eye Care Center, in downtown Logan, WV. He currently is on the Logan County Board of Education. He is a former member and Past President of the West Virginia Board of Optometry. He is a founding member of the Logan and Mingo Child Advocacy Center. He is a past member and board of advisors for WECAN (Working to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect). He is on the Board of Trustees for the Logan Regional Medical Center. He is Vice Chairman of the Southern WV Community and Technical College Board of Governors. He is a board member of the Logan County Chamber of Commerce. He was on the School Improvement Board, PTO President and Basketball Coach for Justice Grade School. He was a coach for Logan Little League and Logan Senior Little League. He was Vice President of the West Virginia Blues Society.
Dr. Mark Cinalli, President of the WVAOP said, “We are extremely happy to have Dr. White as a member of our Association. He is one of the most passionate and dedicated doctors to serve our Association. It is fitting that he won Optometrist of the Year.”
Dr. White accepted his award at the 2019 Annual Congress meeting held in Charleston, West Virginia on November 2nd. The WVAOP is comprised of Optometrists from all 55 counties of West Virginia. The WVAOP now counts over 180 Optometrists as members.
SCO is accepting nominations for honorary degrees to recognize distinguished ODs and other individuals to be recognized at the college's 2020 commencement ceremony. Recipients must be of sufficient stature and character as to honor the college; anonymous submissions will not be accepted.
Specific criteria must include at least two of these:
Nominations and supporting materials should be sent to Academic Affairs (Honorary Degrees), c/o SCO, 1245 Madison Ave., Memphis, TN 38104, or emailed to [email protected]. The deadline is December 31, 2019.