SIG News

Unless otherwise indicated, the ASCO contact for all Special Interest Groups (SIGs) is Programs and Meetings Manager LaShawn Sidbury, CMP, or (301) 231-5944 ext. 3012.

Dr. Lester Caplan has officially retired from his role as Senior Consultant to ASCO.

Dr. Lester Caplan has officially retired from his role as Senior Consultant to ASCO.


Met: Nov. 15, 2014 in Denver

Chair: Dr. Pia Hoenig

Actions: Dr. Christina Esposito was unanimously chosen to be Chair-Elect

Discussion Topic Highlights: core competencies in binocular vision, pediatrics and perception, for new Doctor of Optometry graduates; the need for additional binocular vision faculty across the country


Met: Nov. 14, 2014 in Denver

Chair: Dr. Ruth Trachimowicz

Discussion Topic Highlights: the possibility of subdividing the SIG into smaller working groups tied to course subject matter; unique, successful teaching methods for lecture and lab


Dr. Lester Caplan Honored as He Retires after Almost 20 Years

The fall 2014 meeting of the Clinic Directors/Administrators SIG in Phoenix had a bittersweet tone as the participants acknowledged Dr. Lester Caplan’s retirement as ASCO’s Senior Consultant. The meeting began with a special reception, and various toasts were given throughout the two-day meeting in his honor.

A high point of the meeting was Dr. Caplan’s lively presentation offering the group a look back to previous meetings. A standing ovation was offered as Dr. Caplan said his farewell.

ASCO wishes Dr. Caplan the best during his retirement and leaves him with the last word: “The statement that most friends and colleagues made when I mentioned that I was going to retire at the end of 2013 was, ‘Are you kidding? I’ll believe it when I see it.’ Actually this will be my fifth retirement — from private practice in 1979, from Indian Health Service in 1985, from full-time faculty as UABSO’s Clinic Director in 1993, from part-time faculty as UABSO’s Externship Director in 2000 and finally as consultant to the UABSO and to ASCO’s Clinic and Externship Directors SIGs in 2013. Well, you can now believe it. It is not easy to say good-bye to what you love and to the many friends and colleagues who I have met along the way, but being 90, I thought I better leave some time for skydiving, skiing, parasailing and snowboarding before it’s too late.”


Met: Nov. 11, 2014 in Denver

Chair: Dr. Srihari Narayanan

Actions: Dr. Kaila Osmotherly elected SIG Chair; Dr. Laura Falco elected SIG Co-Chair

Discussion Topic Highlights: students requiring accommodations per

ADA rules (Dr. Helene Kaiser); improving consistency in instruction

during lab (Dr. Helen Gabriel); simulation technology (Dr. Heather Anderson)

Sponsor: Keeler


Met: Nov. 14, 2014 in Denver

Co-Chair: Vanessa McDonald

Actions: Dr. Elizabeth Grander and Dr. Betshally Torres elected SIG Co-Chairs

Discussion Topic Highlights: understanding the Sunshine Act (Dr. Michael Harris, representatives from Allergan and Alcon); COPE compliance (Dr. Susy Yu)

Sponsor: National Vision


Met: Nov. 13, 2014 in Denver

Discussion Topic Highlights: what a CEO needs to learn from their development directors: 10 things I learned as a dean (Dr. John Amos); changing landscape of industry (Dana Beards, Dave Rybak, Dr. Janelle Routhier); planned giving

Sponsors: International Vision Expo and Luxottica

Contact: Christine Armstrong, Director, Development, or (301) 231-5944 ext. 3079


Met: Nov. 12, 2014 in Denver

Chair: Dr. Dean Swick

Discussion Topic Highlights: enterprise resource planning (ERP) administrative systems software programs; ePortfolios; student assessment tools; can technology help facilitate IPE?


Met: November 2014 in Denver

Chair: Dr. Beth Tonkery

Actions: for the ASCO Student Award in Clinical Ethics, voted to extend eligibility to students at any point in their professional program at an ASCO-affiliated school or college of optometry, and to broaden the acceptable essay topic

Discussion Topic Highlights: construction of a unified mission, goals and objectives statement


Met: Oct. 9, 2014 in Phoenix

Chairs: Dr. Etty Bitton, Dr. Maria Parisi

Discussion Topic Highlights: the one-minute preceptor (Dr. John Littlefield); specifics of remediation/clinical enhancement (Dr. Etty Bitton); annual reports of affiliated extern programs (Dr. John Townsend, Dr. Kevin Jackson, Dr. Pamela Conrad); social media ethics: a growing concern among healthcare providers (Dr. John Littlefield); interprofessional education  and impact on optometric externship programs (Dr. Linda Casser); e-learning (Dr. Maria Parisi and Dr. Carole Timpone)

Sponsors: Alcon, Allergan Eye Care, Carl Zeiss Meditec, Carl Zeiss Vision, Compulink Business Systems, Essilor, Eye Med Vision Care, Haag-Streit USA/Reliance Medical Products, Heine, Hoya Vision Care, Keeler Instruments, M&S Technologies, Marco, MDoffice, Rapid Pathogens Screenings, evolutionEHR, Topcon Medical Systems, Transitions Optical, Vistakon-Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Volk Optical Inc.


Met: Nov. 14, 2014 in Denver

Chair: Dr. Andrés Pagán

Discussion Topic Highlights: the possibility of translation of content in the SIG’s section of ASCO’s website into different languages; summary of WCO’s accomplishments during the past year (Dr. Susan Cooper); the development of the optometry program at the National University of Nicaragua (Dr. Roger Juarez); needs of optometric institutions in Latin America (Dr. Hector Santiago); summary of October meeting of the Latin American Association of Optometry and Optics (Dr. Katerin Ortiz); summary of WCO curriculum model and WCO platform for distance education whereby educators throughout the world can deposit educational materials (Dr. Gerald Lowther); summary of Brien Holden Institute activities, including the global initiative to support the development of optometry programs (Dr. Luigi Bilotto); summary of VOSH activities (Dr. Greg Pearl); the role of Optometry Giving Sight in raising funds for present and future projects throughout the world (Clive Miller)


Met: Nov. 13, 2014 in Denver

Chair: Dr. Tracy Matchinski

Discussion Topic Highlights: Pediatric Low Vision Care and Community Outreach Survey results; updates from AAO Low Vision (Dr. Roanne Flom) and Vision Rehabilitation (Dr. David Lewerenz) sections

Sponsor: Enhanced Vision Systems


Met: Nov. 13, 2014 in Denver

Chair: Dr. Valerie Wren

Discussion Topic Highlights: strategic action plans, including continuing to develop entry level/minimum competencies for optometry students in the area of neuro-rehabilitative optometry; preliminary results from survey of schools regarding current neuro-optometric rehabilitation clinical care


Met: Nov. 13, 2014 in Denver

Chair: Dr. Robert Kleinstein

Actions: 2015 SIG leadership will be Dr. Pat Yoshinaga (Chair); Dr. Sandy Block (Chair-Elect)

Discussion Topic Highlights: the importance of graduating optometrists mastering selected public health and environmental vision core competencies; the need for a central public health and environmental vision resource that is available to SIG members


Met: Nov. 13, 2014 in Denver

Chairs: Dr. David Loshin, Dr. Doug Hoffman

Discussion Topic Highlights: interprofessional education (Dr. Doug Hoffman, Dr. Melissa Vitek, Dr. John Baker); ASCO Residency Affairs Committee update (Dr. Stanley Woo); VA residencies update (Dr. John Townsend, Dr. Debbie Hettler); AAO Residents Day Update (Dr. Wes DeRosier); ACOE update (Dr. Bart Campbell); update on visas for Canadian-trained optometrists and residents (Dr. Susan Leaf)

Sponsor: Alcon

Contact: Paige Pence, Director of Student and Residency Affairs, or (301) 231-5944 ext. 3077.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) were created within ASCO as a primary means of implementing the ASCO mission of “fulfilling the leadership role in the optometric education enterprise.” The purpose of SIGs is to provide forums for professional staff, administrators and faculty with common responsibilities to communicate directly with each other and to provide advice and counsel to the ASCO Board of Directors on issues related to their areas of interest. Participation is open to individuals designated by the deans and presidents of active ASCO member institutions. See the ASCO website,, for more information.