Southern College of Optometry recently welcomed two new members to the college’s Board of Trustees. Joining the board are former American Optometric Association President David Cockrell, OD ’81, and former SECO International President Stuart Thomas, OD ’84. Additionally, Board member Cristie Upshaw Travis was named Board Chair for a one-year term.
About David A. Cockrell, OD ’81
Dr. David Cockrell completed his Bachelor’s degree in Zoology at Oklahoma State University and his Doctor of Optometry degree from SCO in 1981. He and his wife, Cherry Cockrell, OD ’81, opened their practice in Stillwater, Oklahoma, which became known as Cockrell Eyecare Center.
In addition to serving as AOA President, Dr. Cockrell is a Diplomate and Past Chairman of the American Board of Optometry. Since 1996, he has served as a member of the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners in Optometry and in all of the organization’s officer positions, including president. He is also a past president of the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians and the Southwest Council of Optometry.
A Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, he is a member of the American Public Health Association’s Vision Section.
A founding board member of Optometry Cares, he has received a number of awards at the local, regional, and national levels, including Heart of America’s OD of the Year award and an honorary degree from SCO.
About Stuart J. Thomas, OD ’84
Owner of Thomas Eye Center in Athens, Georgia, Dr. Thomas is a past chairman of the VSP Global Board of Directors. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia in 1979. He went on to earn his Doctor of Optometry degree from the SCO in 1984, the same year he opened Thomas Eye Center.
He is a long-standing member of the AOA and the Georgia Optometric Association, serving in various leadership positions, including president. Dr. Thomas has also served as President of SECO, International, an organization that provides continuing education for optometrists and their staff.
One of the key initiatives Dr. Thomas has championed as chair of VSP is the inclusion of standalone vision plans such as VSP Vision Care in state health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. His wife, Sharon Thomas, OD ’83, is a research optometrist.
About Cristie Upshaw Travis, SCO Board Chair
Cristie Upshaw Travis has been Chief Executive Officer of the Memphis Business Group on Health since 1994. She earned her Master of Science degree in Health Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
She launched her career serving in health administrative and planning positions in Tupelo, Miss., and Tuscaloosa, Ala. She progressed to consulting with continuing care retirement communities, hospitals, and physicians with Ernst & Whinney in Memphis, Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, D.C. She continued her rise in the health care arena as Vice President for a Washington, D.C.-based health care consulting firm.
Travis has served on several national boards and commissions. She is the past Chair of the Board of Governors for the National Business Coalition on Health. She served for two years as Chair of the Board of Directors for The Leapfrog Group. She joined the Consensus Standards Approval Committee for the National Quality Forum in 2012 and also serves on its Measures Application Partnership Hospital Workgroup. She serves on the NCQA Purchaser Advisory Committee, the National Commission on Prevention Priorities, and the National Transitions of Care Coalition.
She is former Chair of the Healthy Memphis Common Table; President of the Community Advisory Board for the University of Memphis Graduate Program in Health Administration; a member of the Deans Advisory Council for the University of Memphis School of Public Health; former President of the Board of Volunteer Midsouth; former Vice Chair of Lifeblood; former member of the National Technical Advisory Panel for the Midsouth eHealth Alliance, and a former officer of the Greater Memphis Employee Benefits Council. She also served as a subcommittee Chair on Shelby County Mayor A.C. Wharton's Blue Ribbon Panel on the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.
She represents Memphis and employers on several State of Tennessee committees including the Tennessee Health Information Committee, Health Information Partnership-Tennessee, and the State Health Plan Advisory Committee.