New England College of Optometry moved into the twentieth century with purpose and ready to face new advances in the field of optometry and in the area of healthcare reform.
In 2000, Dr. Alan Lewis became the 10th President of New England College of Optometry. During Dr. Lewis’s presidency, NEEI was restructured as a sole member corporation to focus on its patient care mission while continuing to serve as the primary affiliate for the College’s clinical teaching. During this time period, the College’s nationwide network of affiliated clinical sites grew to include over 50 clinics, hospitals, and specialized care facilities, including three sites in other countries. With David Heath now the Vice President/Dean of Academic Affairs, the College created and implemented a redesigned curriculum. The new curriculum featured a remodeled fourth year rotation, split between a community health center, a VA hospital-based clinic, a special populations and contact lens experience, and a special emphasis elective clinical experience.
Following Dr. Lewis’s tenure as President, Elizabeth Chen became President of the College in 2006, holding the distinction of being the first female to be named the president of a school of optometry. Ms. Chen expanded the educational infrastructure with capability for synchronous distance learning, secured federal and private funding for research and electronic health records, increased philanthropy to the school, and helped the college and students navigate through the global financial crisis of 2007-2008.
During this time period, the College’s clinic moved from its Boylston Street location to Commonwealth Avenue. New England Eye began to serve the nearby Boston University student population and the diverse Allston-Brighton-Brookline area.
Upon the completion of President Chen's tenure, the College's Dean of Academic Affairs, Clifford Scott, was named President in 2009. Dr. Scott served as President for nine years. Under his tenure, the College continued to strengthen partnerships with Wenzhou Medical College, industry leaders, and clinical affiliates. The College also continued to advocate for the profession and address the changing field of healthcare and the field of optometry.
In 2017, New England Eye was renamed the New England College of Optometry (NECO) Center for Eye Care and a beautiful new clinic and optical center were built on the first floor of the location. A specialty clinic soon followed and was named the Janet LaBreck Center for Low Vision. In 2018, the final phase of construction was completed with the opening of the new Clinical Training Facility. This student training facility provides the latest technologies and EHR systems for students to utilize as they prepare to practice in locations throughout the country and the world.