On July 1, 2015, Dr. Richard Soden became the College’s first director of health care development. With the creation of this unique new position, SUNY Optometry took a proactive approach toward integrating its patient care facilities, including the University Eye Center, and its students, more fully into the greater health care systems of New York City and beyond. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act represented an ideal moment to develop this new role that is designed to focus specifically on building and nurturing key relationships for the institution.
“As we all know, our health care system is in the midst of very rapid change,” President Heath said. “And we felt that having somebody working to create partnerships with hospitals and other health care organizations that reflect the full integration of optometry into the health care system was imperative at this moment.”
In addition to building clinical relationships and increasing access to eye and vision care to more people in its community, SUNY Optometry is also looking to develop relationships with organizations that will provide interprofessional opportunities for its students and additional support for its robust research programs.
Dr. Soden joined SUNY Optometry in 1980 after completing a residency program in rehabilitative optometry at the Northport VA Medical Center. In addition to his work at the College, he continued at the Northport VA as the associate chief of optometry. He was also a partner in a private practice on Long Island. In 2005, he returned to SUNY as the associate director of managed care. He later became vice president for clinical affairs and director of the University Eye Center. Dr. Soden is a past president of the New York State Optometric Association and regularly lectures nationally and internationally on a variety of issues.
“Dr. Soden is nationally recognized for his expertise on our evolving health care system, and I believe that our organization will benefit immensely with him serving as our director of health care development,” President Heath said.