OELI Program Leadership


David Damari, OD, FCOVD, FAAO

Michigan College of Optometry

Dr. David A. Damari is the Dean at Ferris State University Michigan College of Optometry. He is a past president of both the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. He is the consultant on visual disabilities to many national and state testing and licensing boards, including the National Board of Medical Examiners and the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners. He was a member of faculty at Southern College of Optometry for 16 years, where he led the effort for successful reaccreditation by the SACS Commission on Colleges. He graduated from SUNY College of Optometry in Manhattan and did the residency in vision therapy rehabilitation there.


Gary Chu, OD, MPH, FAAO

Vice President, Professional Affairs
New England College of Optometry

Dr. Chu is the Vice President of Professional Affairs at the New England College of Optometry. He received his Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree from the New England College of Optometry in 1995 and his Masters of Public Health (MPH) in 2002 from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

He has been in practice for over twenty-four years and is involved in the changing landscape of eye care and health care during this span of time. Dr. Chu has been in the forefront of leading change in eye care through the development of partnerships with health systems, federally qualified health centers, social service agencies, government, school systems, health payors, ophthalmic industry and optometry employer groups.

Dr. Chu has been involved in issues of diversity, equity and inclusion for over ten years and has served on the diversity and cultural competency committee for ASCO since 2011. He is the founding chair of ASCO’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) SIG and was the Guest Editor for the Journal of Optometric Education’s theme issue on diversity and cultural competency in 2017.

Tom Duchardt, FAAO

Director, Professional Relations – Academic Development
US Vision Care

Tom Duchardt has spent over 35 years in the healthcare industry with the following corporations: American Cyanamid/Lederle Laboratories, Searle and Beiersdorf working primarily domestically and also internationally.  The last 20 years have been spent with Alcon. Positions responsibilities during his career have included Sales and Sales Management, National Accounts, Sales Coordination, Training and Professional Affairs. During his tenure with Alcon, Tom has won five President’s Club awards and the Corner Stone award for consistent professional achievement.

Tom has served/serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at Western University College of Optometry, Rosenberg School of Optometry, Pennsylvania School of Optometry, Kentucky College of Optometry. In addition Tom has served/serves on two of The Association of Schools & Colleges of Optometry Task Forces initiatives: Optometry School Applicant Pool & Leadership Development.

Tom has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from The University of Central Missouri.

Tom is married to his wife Lynn. They have three daughters: Amanda, Katelyn (Mark) & Kilmeny and two grandchildren Nick & Ava.

Fraser C. Horn, OD, FAAO

Pacific University College of Optometry

Dr. Horn is the Dean and a Professor at Pacific University College of Optometry in Forest Grove, Oregon. Prior to being Interim Dean, Dr. Horn was the Associate Dean of Academic Programs. He teaches in multiple courses, including co-instructor of the Sports and Recreational vision elective course with Dr. Graham Erickson. He is a past chair of the American Optometric Association’s Sports Vision Section and is a current member-at-large of the AOA Sports and Performance Vision Committee.

Dr. Horn is currently working with amateur and professional athletes from multiple sports. He is also the team Optometrist for Pacific University where he has instituted a vision screening program for all athletes. He has been involved in multiple sports vision research projects and has lectured internationally on sports vision and primary care optometry.

Dr. Horn is a partner of Sports Vision Pros LLC, which is an interprofessional online community dedicated to informing everyone about the role of vision and performance.

Dr. Horn graduated from Pacific University College of Optometry and completed a residency in primary care and ocular disease at the Perry Point VA hospital.

Millicent Knight, OD, FAAO, FAARM, FNAP

Senior Vice President, Customer Development Group
Essilor of America

Dr. Millicent Knight is Senior Vice President, Customer Development Group, Essilor of America.  Her team aligns Eye Care Professional education, sales force training, and eye care professional relations to deliver on the Essilor mission of improving lives by improving sight. Dr. Knight represents the voice of the doctor as a member of the Leadership Team.

She has a diverse and extensive background in the eyecare industry, including hospital-based ophthalmology/optometry, owner of two optometric practices (North Shore Eye Center and Integrative Eye and Wellness Center), and a former member of Vision Source. Prior to Essilor, she was Vice President of Professional Affairs, North America at Johnson & Johnson Vision, Inc.

Dr. Knight is a member of the Illinois Optometric Association (IOA), the American Optometric Association (AOA), and the National Optometric Association (NOA), and was awarded Optometrist of the Year by both the IOA and NOA, as well as Young Optometrist of the Year by both Organizations.

Dr. Knight holds a Doctor of Optometry degree, and two Bachelor of Science degrees. She has served on the Board of Trustees for Augustana College and the Illinois College of Optometry, her alma maters, and was awarded Alumnus Professional Achievement Awards. Dr. Knight was awarded the J&J Standards of Leadership Award, twice selected one of Vision Monday’s Most Influential Women in Optical, and a Women in Optometry Theia Award for Leadership recipient. Dr. Knight is a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Regenerative Medicine, The National Academies of Practice, and a Kellogg Leadership Fellow.

Stephanie S. Messner, OD

Vice President, Dean for Academic Affairs
Illinois College of Optometry

Dr. Stephanie Messner currently serves as Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean at the Illinois College of Optometry. She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry where she also completed a residency in Primary Eye Care. She joined the ICO faculty in 1985 and has held a variety of teaching and administrative positions during her tenure at the institution. Dr. Messner is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry. Currently, she serves as Vice Chair of the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education and has chaired both the Residency and Professional Development Committees for ACOE. She has been an active volunteer within ASCO, and currently chairs the OAT Committee in addition to her work on the Leadership Development Task Force. She is a past member of the Illinois Optometry Licensing and Disciplinary Board and current member of the Greater Chicago Interprofessional Education Consortium Steering Committee.

Howard B. Purcell, OD, FAAO

President and CEO
New England College of Optometry

Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO, Diplomate and FNAP has been President and CEO of the New England College of Optometry (NECO) since July 2018.  Before assuming his leadership role at NECO, he served as Senior Vice President at Essilor of America and Senior Director at Johnson and Johnson Vision Care. A second generation graduate of the New England College of Optometry, Dr. Purcell also participated in a group optometric practice for eleven years with his father in Miami Beach, FL.

Beginning in June 1991, Dr. Purcell joined the faculty of Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry. During his career at the college, he was a principle in the development of the Department of Cornea and Contact Lenses. Reaching the rank of Associate Professor, Dr. Purcell was responsible for both the didactic and clinical components of the program, serving as the Deputy Dean of the college.

Dr. Purcell is a Diplomate in the Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies Section of the American Academy of Optometry

His energetic and enthusiastic style has made Dr. Purcell a popular lecturer internationally. Purcell’s unique philosophies and practices have often attracted the media to focus attention on current optometric issues and research in the industry.

David Troilo, PhD, FAAO, FARVO

Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs
State University of New York, College of Optometry

David Troilo joined the SUNY College of Optometry in July, 2008 as Professor, Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs. Prior to that he was Professor of Biological Science and Director of Graduate Studies at The New England College of Optometry. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). Dr. Troilo received his PhD in biology from the City University of New York. He held post-doctoral research positions at the University Laboratories of Physiology at the University of Oxford, and the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior and the Department of Psychology at Cornell University. His principal research interest is on the visual control of eye growth and the mechanisms of myopia development. As the chief academic officer at SUNY Optometry, Dr. Troilo is responsible for the professional degree program in optometry, and the graduate degree programs (PhD and MS) in vision science. His other areas of responsibility include faculty development, residency training programs, library services, and continuing professional education. Dr. Troilo has made growth of research at the college an institutional priority and has helped develop collaborative, translational, and clinical research initiatives. Working with the University Eye Center, the college’s clinical institution, Dr. Troilo helped create the college’s Clinical Vision Research Center.

For a list of selected publications see PubMed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Troilo+D


Morris S. Berman, OD, MS

Adjunct Professor
New England College of Optometry

Dipl. Optom., Witwatersrand Institute of Technology
OD, University of Houston
MS, University of Houston
Residency in Optometry, Optometric Center of New York

Dr. Berman is an Adjunct Professor at the New England College of Optometry in Boston. Prior to that he served as Dean of MCPHS School of Optometry in Worcester, MA from 2016-2019. He was the founding Provost at Marshall B. Ketchum University in Fullerton, California, following 28 years as Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs at the Southern California College of Optometry (SCCO). Prior to joining SCCO in 1985, he was the Assistant Dean for Education at the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago and also served as a faculty member at the University of Houston, College of Optometry.

A second generation optometrist, Dr. Berman received his optometric education in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1967. He completed a residency program at the Optometric Center of New York in 1968 and earned the degrees Doctor of Optometry (OD) and Master of Science in Physiological Optics (MS) at the University of Houston, College of Optometry. He has taught strabismus/amblyopia, electro-diagnosis, and ocular physiology; current teaching interests include courses in Professional Ethics.

Dr. Berman has published over 40 papers on clinical topics and co-authored the Dictionary of Visual Sciences and Related Clinical Terms. Dr. Berman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and Chaired the AAO Education Program Committee (formerly Ellerbrock Memorial CE Committee) in 2001-02. He has served as the Chair, Academic Affairs Committee of the ASCO, and as editor of ASCO’s monthly publication Eye on Education. Dr. Berman also chaired a national conference on the Optometry Curriculum Model in 1992 which formed part of the Summit in Optometric Education series. He chaired the AAO Nominating Committee and the AOA Ethics and Values Committee. Dr. Berman has served on the Task Force on Para-optometric continuing education of the California Optometric Association (COA) in 1987-88, as well as the TPA Study Committee of the COA in 1996-97. Since 2005, Dr. Berman has been a member and chair of the AOA Ethics and Values Committee. In July 2016 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from ASCO.