Dear Friends and Supporters,

Even in these times, we have many reasons to be grateful and celebrate. The articles below highlight just a few of those stories including the ways our community has risen to the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic and social issues.  Working together, we can – and we will – navigate and create change for the better.

We continue to vigilantly implement COVID-19 protocols throughout campus to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of all community members and visitors. This includes a newly hired COVID Coordinator, Cristina Gomez, RN, BSN who, in part, is responsible for conducting our surveillance pool-testing and rapid testing. With the diligence of our entire community adhering to safety protocols, we have been fortunate in having very few cases since the start of our semester in August.  Our daily campus reports are available through the SUNY COVID-19 Case Tracker website. The campus Ramp-Up Plan, Travel Policy, and the new COVID-19 Disciplinary Sanctions implemented by Chancellor Malatras are readily available on our COVID-19 Campus Updates page.     

As we manage the health crisis, the College also remains focused on advancing the call for diversity and inclusion in optometric education and the profession. The latest installment, Race in Optometry—An Honest Conversation on Diversity & Leadership Development in Industry & The Profession (Part 3), featured an elite panel of leaders in academia and the eye care industry who focused on what can be achieved collectively to advance diversity and leadership in education, the profession, and ophthalmic organizations. I am also pleased to announce that the President’s Task Force on Race and Equity (TFRE)  completed a draft assessment of current efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion at the College. The review, distributed to the College community at large for feedback, includes recommendations for improving community engagement, celebrating Black and Latinx culture as well as implementing professional development, training, and academic programming covering issues of race, social determinants of health, health disparities, and communication, and patient care. A final report will be distributed at the beginning of November.

I hope you plan to join us on November 5 for Eyes on New York. In the meantime, I remain thankful for your support and for the ongoing dedication of the entire SUNY Optometry community.