Carla Mack, OD, MBA, FAAO – Class of 1995 – Notable Alumna

Carla MackDr. Carla Mack completed her Doctor of Optometry degree at The Ohio State University College of Optometry in 1995, followed by a hospital-based residency in ocular disease. She also received her Master of Business Administration degree from the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State in 2008. She currently lives in Powell, Ohio with her two daughters, Malia, 17, and Summer, 15. Dr. Mack joined Bausch+Lomb in 2008 as Global Director for Medical Affairs. In that role, she led initiatives in medical education, served as a liaison to academic institutions, instituted the educational grant process, and shared Bausch+Lomb’s scientific work through publications and worldwide educational forums. In her more recent role as Global Director for Professional Marketing at Bausch+Lomb, she increased eye care professional engagement throughout the new product development process and developed and shared l best practices with her professional relations colleagues around the world.

Prior to joining Bausch+Lomb, Dr. Mack held dual roles at the College as Director of Optometry Services and as an Associate Professor of Clinical Optometry. She is most proud of her work to advance the clinics at Ohio State and to increase patient exposure for all students. She has never lost her passion for teaching and found that to be her most rewarding work. She participated in clinical research and taught courses in specialty contact lenses, practice management, and glaucoma management. She has written and lectured extensively and served on several editorial advisory boards. Dr. Mack was the editor of Contact Lens Spectrum and the weekly email newsletter, Contact Lenses Today, and is a Diplomate in the Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies of the American Academy of Optometry.

Dr. Mack is currently with Alcon Laboratories providing clinical and professional support and credits her success in industry to her many years at Ohio State.

Joseph T. Barr, OD, MS, FAAO – Class of 1977 – Notable Alumnus

Joseph BarrAs I look back over the 36 years since receiving my OD degree, I am most grateful for my wonderful mentors: Drs. Jerry Lowther, John Schoessler, Dick Hill, and Neal Bailey. I am so appreciative of all that I learned alongside my great colleagues and graduate students like Drs. Arol Augsburger, Karla Zadnik, Carla Mack, Mo Merchea, and Robert Steffen and all of my other fellow faculty and graduate students. I thank the many staff who have and continue to support our college and me with amazing dedication. Of course, teaching so many motivated, creative, and brilliant students is rewarding beyond belief. Working with Dr. Zadnik to establish the first National Eye Institute-sponsored, multi-center study based in optometry was the result of such remarkable effort by so many. Also, serving as editor of Contact Lens Spectrum for 20 years was the experience of a lifetime. My last six years at Bausch+Lomb have been rewarding, working with great people launching ten new products and working closely with former classmates and graduate students from Ohio State. Leading a major Bausch+Lomb philanthropic effort, the Pediatric Cataract Initiative, has been rewarding as well. More than anything, the support and love of Janet (RPh OSU ’77) and my daughters (Jennifer OSU ’04 and Beth OSU ’05) and watching our family grow, now with four grandchildren, is too good to be true.

Karen Winters, OD – Class of 1988 – Notable Alumna

Karen Winters is in her twenty-second year as the owner and sole practitioner at Point of View Optical near Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY. She lives on the shores of Otisco Lake with her husband, optometrist Dr. Paul Schwartz (SUNY ’86). There they raised two daughters, who are now off to change the world—hopefully in a good way. Although she greatly enjoys her work as an optometrist, she is especially proud of her role as an author and advocate for the advancement of our collective understanding of mental illness. A sought-after speaker at mental health association events and conferences across the country, she is the author of two engaging novels that directly address mental illness, Where Are the Cocoa Puffs? A Family’s Journey Through Bipolar Disorder(Goodman Beck, 2010) and Reis’s Pieces: Love, Loss, and Schizophrenia (Goodman Beck, 2012). These books and presentations are tools to opening up discussion about the need for empathy and the impact of the negative stigma associated with mental illness, along with its far-reaching, devastating effects. She is also an active board member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Syracuse.

Robert Wright, OD – Class of 1960 – Notable Alumnus

Dr. Robert Wright grew up in the segregated South in the 1940s and 1950s. Segregation was common in doctors’ waiting rooms and at water fountains, restrooms, and baseball stadiums. Ku Klux Klan crosses were burned in his neighbor’s yard. His parents earned less than others doing the same work. His choice to come to The Ohio State University was based, in part, on the fact that he had difficulty as an African American in being admitted to colleges in the South. The Ohio State University admitted him in 1955. After graduation, Dr. Wright returned to his home of Columbus, Georgia to begin practice, but challenges persisted. His application for a US Army commission as an optometrist was denied. His attempt to get a position as an optometrist at Ft. Benning, Georgia ended, as the job was no longer available when he arrived for an interview. He returned to Columbus, Ohio to practice, expecting to eventually retire from the independent practice of optometry. Within a year, his mother visited and shared the early experiences of the civil rights movement that was brewing in the South. He made the decision to return home to Columbus, Georgia to practice, with the hope of making a difference in the visual welfare and the lives of the people of his hometown.

He became active in the civil rights movement, marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. He was elected to City Council three times in Columbus, Georgia, beginning in 1970, the first Republican African American to serve in that capacity. After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Wright had an opportunity to serve as Associate Administrator for Minority Small Business Administration under President Ronald Reagan. In the ensuing years, he created several consulting firms, eventually growing the second one, Dimensions International, into a multimillion dollar company. Presently, he serves as Chairman and CEO of FE Holdings and is a member of the Aflac Board of Directors. He is also the Chairman of the Presidential Commission for the National Museum of African American History and Culture; Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Morehouse School of Medicine; member of the National Leadership Cabinet for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation; and member of the Board of Directors of the Black College Alumni Hall of Fame.

Dr. Wright’s accolades and recognitions include Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Technology Services; Thurgood Marshall College Fund Community Leadership Award; the National Federation of Black Women Business Owners’ Man of the Year; the Horatio Alger Award for Distinguished Americans; and being named one of the 50 Most Influential Minorities in Business. Dr. Wright’s wish for his legacy is to have made a difference. He certainly has.

Joan Nerderman, OD, RN – Class of 1986 – Notable Alumna

I graduated with 58 of my peers from The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Optometry in 1986 with the goal of having my own practice. When I discovered I wasn’t a good office manager, I fell into my current position with Mike Weber, OD in Westerville. My experiences with OSU senior extern students since 2001 at Faith Mission homeless shelter, doing eye exams on home-bound patients, and attending in the Primary Vision Clinic at the College have been most rewarding.

My best achievement is my three children: one an OSU graduate and a lawyer; one currently at OSU; and one soon to be there. I also enjoy fostering animals for Pets Without Parents (a no-kill animal shelter) in Clintonville as well as time with my two dogs, two cats, and fish at home. I also volunteer at the Columbus Zoo. Maybe I should have been a veterinary optometrist; after all, animals need to see too!

Running the OSU outreach clinic has opened my eyes to the unmet needs in the community and the fact that there are a lot of -6.00-D myopes living in their cars—and driving them—around Columbus and many patients with glaucoma who do not have their medications. I hope that my lectures through Optometric Educators, Inc. on street drugs and domestic abuse have opened the eyes of fellow optometrists to what is occurring in our communities.

I am also the advisor for an OSU undergraduate outreach group, Eyes on Health, and we have gone on medical missions with Remote Area Medical for the last three years to provide eyecare in Kentucky and Tennessee. Patients wait outside overnight for the very vision care we often take for granted.

Recently, I have become SCUBA certified with my daughter. That activity takes me into a whole new animal environment—no small feat for someone who has never been a good swimmer!

Jason Singh, OD – Class of 1998 – Notable Alumnus

Dr. Jason Singh’s passion for social impact through vision care began after he graduated from The Ohio State University in 1998. After graduation, his journey took him to Cincinnati where he worked for the Cincinnati Eye Institute and opened his private practice that focused on pediatrics, urgent care, and ocular disease management. During this time, Dr. Singh began participating in global missions work, and this passion to use his skills to change lives around the world ultimately led him to a life-changing decision.

Dr. Singh sold everything and moved to Mamelodi, South Africa to serve as Executive Medical Director for Engage Mamelodi, a program designed to bring sustainable medical care to the underserved people in this post-apartheid township. In this role, his team created programs for vision care, dental care, and community health care. This is where the world vision care crisis became blatantly apparent to him, a problem that could not be overlooked.

Upon returning from Mamelodi, Jason became the Executive Director of OneSight, a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving the global vision care crisis by providing access to quality vision care and eyewear to those in need around the world. He is responsible for leading all OneSight global and regional programs, including operations, fundraising, and communications. During his current tenure, OneSight has served 750,000 people in underprivileged communities around the world, while piloting new sustainable vision care infrastructure for millions more in need.

Jason currently lives in a suburb of Cincinnati with his wife Amanda and new son, Joshua.

Richard Ball, OD, PhD, FAAO – Class of 1955 – Notable Alumnus

After graduating in 1955, I spent two years in the Army at the Fort Carson Eye Clinic before returning to Ohio State for a Master’s degree in Physiological Optics with Glenn Fry. Working one-on-one with Dr. Fry was a truly memorable experience—learning from a true genius. I then returned to my hometown of Owosso, Michigan to join my father’s optometric practice that he established in 1916, but I also continued my graduate work at Michigan State University with Dr. Howard Barley, completing a PhD in experimental visual psychology.

I also stayed busy by being actively involved in inter-professional relations. I served as Inter-Professional Relations Chair for the Michigan Optometric Association (MOA) for 36 years and as a member and chair of the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) Interprofessional Relations Committee for nine years. I also served as a member of several state and national committees whose mission was to enhance cooperation between optometry and ophthalmology. I was a founding member of the State of Michigan Health Occupations Council and served on it for 11 years, along with being very active in the establishment of the Ferris State College of Optometry and chairing the Vision Division of the Michigan Public Health Association for ten years.

I served my community as a member and president of the Owosso School Board for 16 years and was a member of the Shiawassee County Health Board for nine years. I was awarded life membership in the MOA and received its Key Man, Optometrist of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement Awards along with life membership in the AOA. I am a life member of the American Academy of Optometry and received the Carel C. Koch Memorial Medal Award from the Academy in 1975 for contributions in the area of inter-professional relations. I am a distinguished practitioner and member of the National Academy of Practice in Optometry.

In 2004, I was the first optometrist ever elected to the Michigan state legislature, where I served in the House of Representatives until 2010; since then I have served as a board member for the Michigan League for Public Policy. Along the way, I managed to write 26 articles published in various vision-related journals.

Looking back at 55 years of optometric practice coupled with 41 years of teaching and research as an Associate Professor at MSU, it was been a wonderful trip with a great profession. I owe a tremendous amount of credit to the educational foundation I received at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

Glenn A. Fry, PhD, FAAO – Notable Alumnus

Although Dr. Glenn Fry was not an alumnus of The Ohio State University College of Optometry, it is necessary and appropriate to begin this centennial celebration of our year-long series of notable optometry alumni with his story.

He completed his undergraduate degree at Davidson College in North Carolina in 1929 and his PhD degree in Psychology at Duke University in 1932. Two years prior to joining the faculty at Ohio State, he completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the ophthalmology department at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. In 1935, Dr. Fry joined The Ohio State University as an Assistant Professor. Shortly thereafter, he was put in charge of the courses in Applied Optics in the Department of Physics, which was an academic unit within the OSU College of Engineering. He quickly grasped optometry’s potential in the Ohio State environment and worked tirelessly (some of his students and faculty wondered if he really ever slept at all) to raise optometry’s presence within the university, the state, the nation, and even the world.

How he went about transforming the optometry curriculum at Ohio State, as well as its professional stature both within the university and beyond, was a path with many steps. Key among the steps was his ongoing development of a strong and comprehensive professional curriculum, incorporating not only basic sciences but also the best of clinical theory and practice. He taught nearly all of those courses at one time or another himself, continually amazing both students and faculty with his extraordinary range of interests, from the mathematical complexities of color vision theory to the most detailed aspects of spectacle lens fabrication and frame design. He learned and taught his subjects so well that he was able to take and pass the Ohio State Board of Optometry licensure examination in 1937, even though his original training was as a psychologist.

As Director of the School of Optometry, Dr. Fry continued his strong research interest, which included such clinical areas as skiametry, visual acuity, and problems related to accommodation and convergence. Dr. Fry believed that optometry must play a university-wide role in fostering research in vision science. As a scientist, he took special pride in the formation of the Graduate Program in Physiological Optics (now Vision Science). During his illustrious career, he advised 45 graduate students (25 MS and 20 PhD students), more than any other optometry faculty member. Many of his graduate students became educators and researchers of great renown, and several have become Deans or Presidents at other schools and colleges of optometry.

Dr. Fry headed the optometry program until 1966, when he was made a Regents Professor. In recognition of his 44 years at the university–and his significant contributions to the profession–the OSU Board of Trustees named the optometry building in his honor in 1983.

Dr. Fry passed away on January 5, 1996, in Columbus.