Appalachian College of Optometry Names President

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GRUNDY, Va.–Currently in the development stages, the Appalachian College of Optometry has named Brian D. Looney, OD, as its founding president. Looney is the president of Looney Eyecare with offices here and in Welch, W.Va. He graduated with honors in 1996 with a doctorate of optometry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Optometry.

The optometry school is currently working toward accreditation to offer a four-year doctorate of optometry degree and is projected to admit its first students in 2014. “The founding president must now complete a plan of action to show the accrediting board that they have everything it takes to educate students,” Looney told VMail. He cited the economic uncertainty of being in a coal-mining area and issues related to health care as two primary reasons for the founding of the school. This will be the third school started by the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority, which previously opened pharmacy and law schools.

Following a residency education with a specialization in hospital-based optometry in the Maryland Veterans Affairs Health System, with an emphasis in ocular disease, and serving as an associate optometrist in Roanoke and as chief of optometry for the Florida VA Health System, Looney returned to his hometown of Grundy in 1999 to open a private practice. In addition to operating his solo practice, Looney also currently serves as assistant professor at the Appalachian College of Pharmacy, as a staff optometrist at Keen Mountain Correctional Center in Oakwood and as an affiliate optometrist at TLC Laser Center in Johnson City.