Leadership and Entrepreneurial Pearls for Private Practice

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Guest speaker:  Dean of UIWRSO, Dr. Andrew Buzzelli.

The Private Practice Club at UIWRSO was very excited to host a lunch for their members. This was a special lunch about leadership and entrepreneurship in optometry private practice. The reason that the Private Practice Club chose to have Dr. Buzzelli speak is due to his dedication to our school and vast accomplishments in all that he does.

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Dr. Buzzelli has held many positions in all aspects of optometry prior to his position as our Dean. He taught at several accredited schools (SUNY, Georgian Court University, and Salus University) and the RSO second years have him for Peds. In 2012, the Texas Optometric Association (TOA) named Dr. Buzzelli “Educator of the year.” Professor Buzzelli is also one of only thirty-six optometrists in the world recognized as a diplomat in Binocular Vision, Perception and Pediatric Optometry” by the American Academy of Optometry. In addition to Dr. Buzzelli’s prolific teaching career, he has published an Ophthalmic Textbook and numerous papers for optometry and the military. Dr. Buzzelli also served in the military as the Assistant to the Air Force Surgeon General and eventually earned the title “Outstanding Liaison Officer of the year.” Today we have the pleasure of hearing about his “Leadership and Entrepreneurial Pearls for Private Practice.” Dr. Buzzelli served as a private practitioner specializing in “Vision Therapy, dysfunctions of Binocular Vision, Visual Information Processing disorders and Traumatic Brain Injury.” It was a great experience and an honor to hear from a man of diverse experience in the field that has proven to be valuable to the Incarnate Word and the field of optometry.

Dr. Buzzelli exposed us to the difficult situations faced in leadership roles, and revealed key characteristics that an Incarnate Word intern should follow. For example, some characteristics of leadership includes

  • photo 1Character is doing right, not being right
  • Loyal to the absent
  • Open to the brutal truth and maintains a spirit of hope
  • Ask yourself, how did I contribute to the problem
  • Cultivates an attitude of gratitude
  • Accepts that leadership is something lonely

What I took away from the meeting was that our optometry program reflects many of Dr. Buzzelli’s highlights in being a leader. During the course of the meeting, I remember previous courses that I have taken and how they have impacted me to think more about others and how to do so ethically (Read about those courses here).  I’m glad to know that this optometry program also prepares me to be a leader of leaders, with the support of our faculty and student organizations.


UIW Annual Research Week & Poster Session

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Seventh Annual Research Week at UIW (February 17 – 21, 2014) and the First Annual UIWRSO Research Poster Session (February 25, 2014)


Marian Hall!

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Our Research team! From left to right: Susan Ly, Denisse Lopez, Dr. Trevino, Dr. Majcher.

Denisse and I walked through rows and rows of 6’ by  4’ feet posters at the Marian Ballroom. There were also rows of chairs facing the stage were the podium stood – ready for speakers to present their research. We came early, so that we can practice presenting our research poster. It may not be a big deal to some students who had undergrad experience in research, but it was Denisse Lopez and my first time doing a research poster presentation. I’m really glad that our school offers research scholarships to students who are interested in optometric research, even if you did not have any prior experience.

We got into the Summer Fellowship Training Program (SFTP) last year and it has been such a wonderful experience. Dr. Rabin (our lovable Vision Science Professor) is also the Chair of the Research Committee. He assigned students to help with concurrent research done by staff, and/or create your own with

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Samantha Bohl, Dr. Mickles, and Desirae Brinkley with their Dry Eye Poster!

the help of your Principal Investigator (PI), who happens to be just one of many researching UIWRSO Faculty. Not only do you build rapport with your PI, but you also get to know your fellow student researcher really well. I highly recommended that an RSO first year join the research team, because it’s not just a one summer program, but a whole skill set that optometry school alone does not teach you. Even after the summer program, you can choose to stay involved in your research project, and present your work in national optometric conventions such as AOA, ARVO, AAO, etc.


RSO poster session
work from the School of Media and Design, UIW.
The Event Proceedings Booklet and our abstract
The Event Proceedings Booklet and our abstract

Back to the Poster session, this event was put together by the hard work of Rebecca Ohnemus, MAA, CRA, the Research Officer, of the School of Graduate Studies and Research’s Office of Research Development.  What I enjoyed was the diversity of graduate programs that UIW provides, I learned a lot from just talking to the students from different disciplines. Not only were there UIW researchers and scholars from the UIW Pharmacy, optometry, and Nursing school, but there were posters from the business and administration, Math, education, and the art, media and design graduate programs. Rebecca collected abstracts and artist’s statements describing their current and ongoing projects. The submissions were then collected and bound into a spiral notebook for attendees to take a copy. It was a great reference for attendees to find our abstract in the book!

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Dennis Yu and his team’s poster!

One week later, The First Annual UIWRSO Research Poster Session took place in our satellite campus, UIWRSO, Events Room 301, Tuesday, February 25th from Noon to 1pm.  Many students from RSO joined to celebrate the accomplishments of our Faculty and Intern researchers. Pizza was served, complimentary of our Dean, Dr. Buzzelli.  The posters reflect research accomplished during the Summer Fellowship Training Program as well as additional Faculty and Intern efforts.

It was thanks to the hard work of Dr. Maria Lourdes Alarcon Fortepiani, MD, PhD, our lovely, Professor at the Rosenberg School of Optometry, that this event was possible. It was a great way to let the first years know about our research experience!


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All RSO students were welcome to see what kind of research is being done by RSO faculty and interns!
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Alicia Chacon and Sean Johnson in front of their poster!


San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo

The rodeo is in town!

This year is the 65th annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.  It takes place every year around February and lasts for several weeks.  I went this past weekend with a few friends, and it was a lot of fun.

First, we visited the livestock barns to check out the pigs and cattle.  Then we attended a live auction of horses.  A few horses were auctioned off for around $3,000 while one horse was auctioned off for $20,000!  It was amazing to hear the bids go from $1,000 to $20,000 and amusing to watch the reaction of the crowd when the highest bidder won.

Of course, we also ate the rodeo food.  We shared and indulged in barbecue nachos, a pulled pork sandwich, a brisket sandwich, and fried pickles.  Everything was delicious!

The rodeo was very entertaining.  It lasted for two hours and consisted of many different events, including bareback riding, steer wrestling, mutton bustin’, team roping, saddle bronc riding, calf scramble, tie down roping, barrel racing, and bull riding.

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After the rodeo ended, there was a short intermission, and then the concert began.  The entertainer that night was Josh Turner.  It was a great show, and he performed many of his hits and even a new song from the album he is currently working on.

The rodeo has many more attractions and activities, including rides, marketplaces, live music, etc., and the long list of popular entertainers is a great excuse to go to the rodeo more than once.

Private Practice and a Mediterranean Feast


P1080232Recently, a group of students in the Private Practice Club (PPC) at UIWRSO were generously treated to dinner by Dr. Fashid Amir and Dr. Nancy Amir,   Both doctors are faculty at UIWRSO and have a lot of experience in private practice so we took this opportunity to discuss business management in optometry with them.

Dr. Nancy Amir recommended meeting at the Darna Restaurant because the flavor reminds her more of the taste of Egypt growing up. I have tried Persian breakfast, but this was my first full-on family style Mediterranean feast.  PPC President, Jacklyn Alaquinez, did an amazing job setting this up. 

We initially offered to pay for this event and arrange a location, but the guest doctors would not have it that way.  Perhaps, it is because they are teachers that they understand the importance of this dinner to the PPC. They knew exactly where we are coming from and would tell stories that quenched our thirst for knowledge.

We started with a quick intro – name, year, what mode of practice are you interested in, and where do you want to practice? 

I have shadowed quite a few modes of practice when I was at UCLA,from eye surgery in The Jules Stein Eye Institute to a private practice in Hollywood and in a free clinic.  I came in with the intention of doing pediatric optometry, but now that I’m learning more and more about the optometric profession, there are so many other possibilities to consider.

Dr. Nancy Amir, told her story about getting involved with Low Vision and how much patience is needed; she really likes what she does because it fits her personality and the pace that she likes to practice. They stressed the importance of choosing a mode of practice that would make you happy. Dr. Fashid Amir recommended buying a private practice and wrote all over a take-out box breaking down the numbers for us.

He suggested that a new grad should gain more experience before trying to take the reins of a booming private practice. The Amirs, wanted us to think about location, namely, where do we want to live? Will our families be happy? I could not fathom the amount of information– relevant, personal, practical– that I have taken away from hearing them talk.

I was delighted and grateful to be a part of this experience. I must add, their wisdom was infinite.

I can ramble on and on about the Amir’s tips on business management in optometry, thankfully we get some training in our program, but any business classes you can take would also help.  All in all, I highly recommended  a sit-down dinner with optometry faculty, to get to know them. I learned a great deal meeting with faculty in a setting that is more comfortable.  It helped us ask more questions in an informal setting, that maybe we were too afraid to ask in class.

P1080236And why not try delicious Mediterranean food while you are at it!