Message from the President

Clifford Scott, OD '68, MPH

It’s hard to believe, but when the Class of 2017’s tech-savvy, always-connected students first came to NECO, the words Über, gender-neutral, Fitbit, and…”Alexa” were not part of their vocabulary.  The pace of technological, geopolitical, and social change has been accelerating at  breakneck speed and looks to be on course to continuing accelerating throughout the rest of the decade.  Many of the assumptions that we previously used to achieve success will become obsolete.  In the health care field, value-based will be the watchword for all policy decisions, stimulating debate about balancing value for the patient, value to the provider, and value within the payment system.

Increased access to services through insurance will be counterbalanced by the need to rein in the costs of those services.  Delegating responsibilities among professional providers will shift, as team-based care, collaborative communications, and the use of electronic medical records become routine.

Our current first-year students, the Class of 2020 (how cool is that?!) will be practicing in a health care environment that will measured by access, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness. Vision care will be a lot different than what I signed up for five decades ago and even from what is now considered ‘standard-of-care’.

Our students also learn differently than we did.  NECO has become a leader in providing education in ways and at locations that meet the needs of this generation.  On-demand recorded lectures, team-based projects, facilitated group discussions (including sessions with live patients), simulators for clinical skills demonstration and practice, and online business course simulations are already part of our educational repertoire to create learning opportunities beyond the classroom experience.

Our newly designed clinical campus at Commonwealth Ave. will co-locate all our clinically related activities, including primary patient care, optical dispensing, specialty patient care, electro-diagnostic and other specialized testing, simulation laboratories, clinical research, and clinical procedures training.  We will also be piloting models of care that emphasize the use of technology while delegating objective tests and measurements and patient education to technical staff.  The goal is to upgrade the doctor’s role to a more appropriate skill level of analysis, diagnosis, and developing management/treatment strategies.

It’s a brave new world – and we want to help shape it.

Message from the Chair, Board of Trustees

Peter (Pano) Yeracaris, MD, MPH

As pressure mounts to provide better access to high-quality, cost-effective health care, delivery systems in the US and Canada are undergoing major changes. This represents a profound challenge for organizations involved in education and training. Fortunately, excellence and innovation are two elements that characterize New England College of Optometry and we are well prepared as a college for the time ahead. Optometry will be an integral part of team-based care, the most promising model that is evolving.  Payment incentives that encourage providers and patients to collaborate and communicate will help to identify and manage conditions in their early stages.  As everyone eventually needs vision care, the eye exam will be a regular portal into the health care system.

In addition, many systemic conditions have ocular effects that can be indicators of severity or may in themselves cause impaired vision.  Most community health centers include optometry as a basic service to assure that their patients receive full-scope primary care, including the prevention of avoidable vision loss.  In the near future, the role of these providers will need to shift from independent practitioners to team members delivering timely and coordinated care. Each patient will have a unique network of a primary care physician, dentist, pharmacist, and optometrist, as well as other demographic- and condition-specific health providers.

NECO has a long history of educating its students in the principles of public health, not only through credited courses and team projects, but also as a theme interwoven into other courses in the curriculum.  Its clinical system is unparalleled, immersing students in a wide variety of patient care environments and experiences, ranging from VA hospitals and clinics to community health centers and homeless shelters as well as in many types of private practice.  The College’s graduates are well prepared to become successful in the health system of the next decade.

In helping to design optometric practice for the next decade, the College’s clinical leadership is working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and UMASS Medical School on analyzing our current practices and determining methods to increase our effectiveness.  Our new flagship clinic, the New England College of Optometry Center for Eye Care – Commonwealth, is in its final design.  When it opens later this year, it will not only provide state-of-the-art patient care and clinical education, but also will provide a testing platform for innovation in technology and delivery models.  We are looking forward to adding this new dimension to NECO’s clinical assets.

Board of Trustees

New England College of Optometry

Board of Trustees

Pano Yeracaris, MD, MPH, Board Chair
Myron Allukian, Jr., DDS, MPH
Cornelius Chapman, Esq.
Joan M. Exford, OD, DOS
Ronald R. Ferrucci, OD '74
Howard I. Greenberg
Kristen K. Griebel, OD '97
Richard M. Heller, Esq.
Dorothy Lea Hitchmoth, OD '96
Andrew W. Hoar
Stephen N. Kirnon, MBA, EdD
Brian S. Klinger, OD, FAAO
Colin L. Leitch, M. Div
Kelly M. MacDonald, OD '01
Robert F. Meenan, MD, MPH, MBA
Rachel E. Negris, OD '84
Joel B. Rosen, MBA
Clifford A. Scott, OD '68, MPH, President
Richard N. Small, CPA
Joseph P. Zolner, EdD

Emeritus Members

Joseph J.F. Bickford, OD '65
Lester M. Brackley, OD '68
Francis L. DiMella, A.I.A.
G. Burtt Holmes, OD '52
Charles F. Mullen, OD '69
Adelbert O. Parrott, OD '34 *
Paul Bradley Taylor, OD '55 *


Lester M. Brackley, OD '68
David J. Caban, OD '77
Michael J. Cohn, OD '77
Howard M. Coleman, OD '57
Matthew E. Elgart, OD '66
Elmer Freeman, BS, MSW
Philip E. Friedman, OD '62
Fernando Hidalgo, OD '87
Celia Anne Hinrichs, OD '79
Robert H. Honnors, OD '63
Barbara D. Kamens
Farooq A. Khan, OD '02
Cynthia P. Macdonald, Esq.
Jonathan Marcus
David Miller, MD
Robert S. Miller, CPA
Joseph F. Molinari, OD '74, M.Ed.
George R. Montminy, OD '69
Joseph F. Osmanski, OD '74
Gerard P. Phelan
David A.V. Reynolds, DrPH, LHD
John A. Stefanini, JD
Irwin B. Suchoff, OD '59, DOS
Michael R. Taylor, M.Ed.
Thomas F. Terry, OD '75

* Deceased

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