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Dean’s corner: Spring 2017


Southern California College of Optometry 

At the American Academy of Optometry meeting in Anaheim, we had a tremendous showing that highlighted our wonderful work and commitment with numerous scientific papers, posters and lectures. Dr. Raman Bhakhri has been a champion for student engagement as the AAO faculty liaison, while Dr. Susan Cotter continues to provide exemplary leadership on the board of directors.


  • Dr. Tim Edrington — Michael G. Harris Award for Excellence in Optometric Education
  • Dr. Jason Ng — Innovation in Education Grant from the AOF and Johnson & Johnson
  • Dr. Elaine Chen — George W. Mertz Contact Lens Resident Award from AOF and Johnson & Johnson


Dr. Angela Chen has been appointed as Vice Chair for the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group. The SCCO pediatric/VT team was also recognized as the PEDIG Clinical Site of the Year Award for outstanding performance in clinical trials.
At the COA House of Delegates, Dr. Mark Nakano was elected to the board of trustees and Dr. Ranjeet Bajwa, ’08, assumed the duties of president-elect. Dr. Rachelle Lin is beginning her term as president of the Orange County Optometric Society.

Dr. Benedicte Gonzalez has been working hard to develop the eye and vision care services at the Serve the People Community Clinic, a federally qualified health center. Both third- and fourth-year students have benefited from the high patient census and varied clinical presentations.

SCCO was awarded a $750,000 grant that will support enhancements in academic and clinical technology, provide recruitment scholarships for incoming SCCO students and upgrade equipment at the University’s regional Los Angeles clinic. In concert with a strategic alignment with College objectives, the gift honors SCCO alumnus, Dr. Jonathan Smith, ’90, for his years of dedicated board service as a trustee of the Reynolds Foundation.

We were proud to be a part of Care Harbor once again in 2017. Led by Ms. Michele Whitecavage and Dr. Mark Nakano, 155 SCCO students and 31 faculty, staff, alums and administrators, along with COA member optometrists volunteered their time and talent. 956 eye exams were performed and 583 pairs of glasses were distributed to patients in need.

There are countless ways that the SCCO family works together to positively impact the members of our community. We’re working hard to make you proud, and we appreciate your support and encouragement.

School of PA Studies

Ketchum University continues to create history. On Nov. 11, 2016, 27 students graduated from the School of Physician Assistant Studies. They represent the first class of PA students to graduate in Orange County. We are proud to report a 100 percent pass rate on the PA National Certifying Exam. The average national pass rate for PA programs is 96 percent. Two-thirds of the graduates from the Class of 2016 are now employed. Sixteen are employed in California, two in Colorado, and one in Texas. They have chosen careers in multiple specialties including family practice, orthopedics, hepatobiliary surgery, pediatric surgery, asthma and allergy, trauma surgery and emergency medicine. Two graduates are employed in federally qualified health centers.

The School of PA Studies is meeting its goal of providing all students with experiences in caring for underserved communities during clinical rotations. The Class of 2017 students have completed one-third of their rotations, and more than 80 percent of the students have completed at least one rotation within an underserved community. We are receiving exceptional feedback from preceptors regarding our PA students’ performance.

The Class of 2018 has successfully completed 16 modules thus far. The faculty are planning and implementing new methods of active learning that improves student comprehension of material and develops critical thinking and clinical diagnostic skills. In addition, students are regularly participating in at least one medical community outreach event each quarter. Recently, students discovered that a homeless client’s blood sugar level was over 600 and they helped him get to the nearest hospital for treatment. He returned the following week to thank the students for saving his life. Community engagement is a rewarding aspect of PA education at MBKU.

College of Pharmacy

On Feb. 24, 2017, at a College-wide retreat, the faculty of Marshall B. Ketchum University’s College of Pharmacy ratified the self-study for obtainment of candidate status, and it was subsequently sent to each member of the site visit team. Our site visit for achieving candidate status occurred April 11-13, 2017, and we will receive the results of the visit after the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education meets in June.

The entire College eagerly awaits the day that we move to the main campus in Fullerton. Renovations are ongoing and are on schedule for the College to move from temporary offices on Chapman Avenue to the Ketchum University campus before the fall 2017 quarter begins. It will be a great day when the College of Pharmacy joins with the rest of the University at its flagship campus.

Classes continue, highlighted by the beginning of our compounding laboratory course, teaching students about over the- counter medications, and all students gaining certifications for immunizations. Six of our first-year PharmD students attended the California Pharmacists Association Western Pharmacy Exchange meeting held in Palm Springs in February, and 14 students attended the National American Pharmacists Association meeting held in San Francisco at the end of March. It is heartening to see how quickly the inaugural class of PharmD students are getting involved both on a state and on a national level.