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Memphis, Tenn., November 5, 2014 – Southern College of Optometry (SCO) today announced that it has officially acquired a mobile eye exam unit from S.A.V.E. (School Advocates for Vision and Education), a nonprofit organization founded by Henry Lindeman in 2008 to increase access to services for children failing to follow-up for needed care following in-school vision screening failure.
Prior to the acquisition, the unit was funded by support from The Plough Foundation and other sponsors. SCO provided doctor coverage through a collaboration with SAVE.
“S.A.V.E.’s mission has always been to provide access to eye health and vision care services for schoolchildren in Shelby County,” said Christine Weinreich, director of corporate and foundation relations at SCO. “SCO has enjoyed a working relationship with S.A.V.E. since its inception, and our dynamic, expanding community outreach programs have enabled us to absorb the operation and expand its potential.”
The mobile unit, a customized recreational vehicle with two exam rooms and a children’s optical dispensary, has provided on-site vision care in conjunction with the clinical programs of SCO at Shelby County schools since 2009. SCO plans to continue the work of S.A.V.E. and further increase the number of Shelby County residents benefiting from the mobile unit by expanding its reach to additional schools, public health fairs, senior and other programs.
For the next several months, SCO will send doctors out into the community with the unit three days per week to provide eye health and vision care to residents who need it most. SCO anticipates increasing the mobile care unit’s use to five days per week beginning in 2015.
"The transition, one supported by The Plough Foundation, will continue these much needed services to area children and to the additional people who will be served by the increased capacity brought on by SCO’s amplified involvement," said Dr. James E. Venable, SCO's Vice President for Clinical Programs.
For more information on S.A.V.E. or to inquire about bringing it to your site, contact Bailey Gurley, Coordinator of Mobile Vision Care Services, at 901-722-3274/ [email protected]
About Southern College of Optometry: Southern College of Optometry was established in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1932. SCO is an independent, not-for-profit institution of higher education with more than 500 students and residents from 40 states. The Eye Center at SCO serves nearly 60,000 patients annually, helping make the college one of the top in the nation for clinical optometric education. SCO’s Community Outreach Program reaches more than 12,000 children through vision screenings provided annually to Shelby County students in public, private and charter schools. Additionally, SCO opened a second clinic, University Eye Care, on the campus of The University of Memphis in 2013 and TearWell, a Dry Eye Center of Excellence, on its Midtown Memphis campus in 2014.
About S.A.V.E.: S.A.V.E. (School Advocates for Vision and Education) was founded in 2007 by Amy and Henry Lindeman after their son was diagnosed with vision-related issues. The organization provides vision screenings and comprehensive follow-up care to schoolchildren throughout Shelby County, Tennessee, through a mobile unit funded by the support of organizations like The Plough Foundation and operated by doctors from Southern College of Optometry. As of October 2014, the mobile unit has officially been acquired by SCO as part of an expanded community outreach program in the Mid-South. For more information, visit http://memphisvision.org. # # #
Southern College of Optometry honored the academic and professional achievements of students, alumni and faculty at its 29th annual all school Convocation ceremony held on Friday, October 11 at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis. First-year students received their white coats, signed SCO's honor code and took the Optometric Oath as they were formally welcomed into the profession.
Scholarships and other awards were presented in recognition of academic excellence, leadership and and service. Many of SCO's scholarships were made possible by the generous support of SCO's Annual Campaign and Endowed Scholarship funds. Among those recognized at Convocation:
Military Service Scholarships
The following Endowed Class Scholarships recognize outstanding leadership and professionalism by members of the Classes of 2015, 2016, and 2017.
Alumni and Friends Scholarships
SCO alumni and friends generously support and recognize academic accomplishments and leadership within the student body. As such, the following endowed scholarships and awards have been established in support of SCO students.
State and Professional Associations
Corporate Partners and Ophthalmic Industry
Basic Science and Clinical Science Awards
Faculty of the Year (2013-2014)
BSK Teacher of the Year Awards
Class of 2017
Class of 2016
Class of 2015
Burnett Faculty Recognition Award
Established by Charlene Burnett, OD ’83 and Fred Burnett, OD ’80, in recognition of an outstanding faculty member as selected by his or her peers:
Board of Trustees Resolution:
SCO Lifetime Achievement Award
Joe Ellis, OD ’86, was recognized for his significant contributions to the profession of optometry. In June 2010, Dr. Ellis was inaugurated as president of the American Optometric Association. In addition to his successful practice in Kentucky, Dr. Ellis has served as president and legislative chair of the Kentucky Optometric Association’s Board of Trustees. He led Kentucky’s fight in 1996 for optometrists to obtain oral therapeutic privileges. He’s also been involved in other legislative victories, including a 2000 law requiring children’s school entrance exams and the Access to Quality EyeCare Bill in 2010.
He served on the board of the Kentucky Optometric Association from 1990-1996 and as president in 1994-95. He was named Kentucky’s Young Optometrist of the Year in 1992, and in 1995, Kentucky’s Optometrist of the Year. He also has received three President’s Awards from the KOA. Dr. Ellis currently serves as Chairman of the Board for AOA Excel. Dr. Ellis is board liaison to the American Academy of Optometry. He was named the 2014Optometrist of the South at SECO in Atlanta.
At the community level, he serves on the Marshall County Hospital Staff and the Marshall County Health Department Board, is a board member of Kentucky’s Local Health Department, serves on the advisory board for the Kentucky Health Insurance Exchange, and is active in the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
Young Alumni Award
Lindsay Elkins, OD ’07, is the first SCO faculty member to receive the honor. After her graduation, she also completed a Primary Care Residency at the Memphis VA Center. One year after joining the college’s faculty in 2008, she began leading SCO’s School Screening Program. Dr. Elkins has played an important role in ensuring the program’s success and stability through a school system merger and increased outreach program growth.
In addition to her role as a clinical educator, Dr. Elkins has also served as Coordinator of the Part I NBEO Review at SCO and as the current lab director in The Eye Center. She has attained her Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry and presented posters at Academy, AOA, and SECO meetings. She was the primary investigator for a research study partnering with AEL Laboratories involving culturing methods for corneal ulcers. In addition to lecturing in continuing education programs, she has published articles in Eye Care Review.
Dr. Elkins serves as the faculty advisor for the SCO BSK chapter, has recently been selected as Vice Chancellor of the BSK World Council, and will be inducted at this fall’s Academy meeting. She served as President of the West Tennessee Optometric Physicians Society in 2010-11 and serves as an Advisory Board Member for Southern Eye Associates. She’s served as faculty advisor to the Virginia and North Carolina Optometric Student Associations and is currently the advisor to the South Carolina Optometric Student Association. Dr. Elkins also has received the Outstanding SGA Club Advisor Award from students.
Class of 2018 members who received their white coats:
Photos from the ceremony will be made available shortly through SCO's Flickr photo galleries. A DVD of the ceremony may be ordered directly from Mississippi Boulevard Church by calling (901) 722-6222.
Newly released numbers from the U.S. Department of Education show that SCO’s graduates are performing exceedingly well in their transition to optometric practice. Student loan cohort default rates for Southern College of Optometry remained at zero percent for the 18th consecutive year.
A cohort default rate represents the percentage of a college’s borrowers who have defaulted on their student loans. The national average was 13.7%, up from last year’s rate of 9.1%, yet SCO’s default rate remained at zero percent, an indication of the strong ability of SCO’s graduates to pay back their loans.“
This is great news,” said Cindy Garner, SCO’s Director of Financial Aid. “Our graduates continue to have great success practicing optometry and repaying their student loans. The cohort default rate is an important measure of a school’s overall quality. It reflects our success in preparing our students to practice optometry. This is a great accomplishment and it reflects admirably on each member of the SCO family.”
SCO’s Financial Aid Office actively works with students to provide them strategies to manage their student indebtedness levels. From budgeting workshops to one-on-one sessions with a financial aid counselor, the college is committed to partnering with students to ensure their success in optometry. Student scholarships provided by SCO’s alumni and friends also play an important part in managing student debt levels.
Thirty-six students from SCO’s Class of 2018 recently were recognized for their academic achievements with first-year scholarships collectively totaling $189,000. Thanks to alumni and friends of the college for making this year’s scholarships possible to these deserving students. A full list of scholarships and recipients follows the group photos below.
First-year students receiving scholarships included:
Dr. David Cockrell, American Optometric Association President, visited SCO on Wednesday, September 4 to address a campus-wide assembly of students, faculty and staff. A 1981 SCO graduate, Dr. Cockrell spoke on the importance of advocacy for the profession.
In his remarks, he outlined scope of practice advances in recent years, including Tennessee and Louisiana. Dr. Cockrell urged students to become involved sooner in their careers and noted the changing landscape of health care delivery as a key reason to become engaged in the advocacy process.
Dr. Cockrell observed that by his count, SCO has produced more state association leaders than any other optometry school. Dr. Cockrell is the 13th SCO alumnus to lead the AOA.