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MCPHS Announces Plans To Launch Optometry School

7/8/2011

On July 7, MCPHS President Charles F. Monahan Jr. announced this morning the College's plans to launch a School of Optometry, as well as the hiring of an internationally recognized academic leader, Dr. Lesley Walls, to head the school. The planned school will be located at the College's Lincoln Square Living and Learning Center, which the College purchased in 2010. Capital improvements for the School of Optometry include an on-site optometry clinic, research space, administrative offices, faculty/staff offices, and an optical dispensary. The facility also currently houses 200 students.

"As we continue to expand into more health sciences, we are thrilled to have a world renowned optometry expert leading this effort," said President Monahan. "The United States is rapidly aging country with only 21 accredited optometry schools, and there is a real opportunity here to help fill the increased demand for eye care."

An internationally recognized scholar and administrator, Dr. Walls most recently served as President of Southern California College of Optometry and is the former Dean of Optometry at Pacific University in Oregon and Northeastern State University in Oklahoma.  A native Texan, he earned his undergraduate and professional optometry degrees the University of California at Berkeley and an M.D. from the University of California at Davis. He also holds honorary Doctor of Ocular Science degrees from Southern College of Optometry and Illinois College of Optometry.

As Founding Dean, Dr. Walls will be responsible for all aspects of developing the College's professional optometric degree (OD) program on the Worcester campus, including oversight of the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) candidacy process, hiring faculty, planning the curriculum and establishing clinical affiliations.

"MCPHS is known worldwide as a health care leader that continues to identify demand and build programs to match up with those needs. A new optometry school is a perfect example of that," said Dr. Walls. "The opportunity to develop a program from the ground up is incredible. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity."

The College also announced the hiring of Dr. Kent Daum, who will serve as Vice Dean of the school. Dr. Daum comes to MCPHS from Illinois College of Optomtery, where he served as Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs. Dr. Daum earned his undergraduate and professional optometry degrees from The Ohio State University. He has served on the faculty at The Ohio State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.