Michael Mittelman, OD, MPH, FAAO Inducted as Sixth President of PCO’s Salus University


PARK, Pa.—Michael H. Mittelman, OD, MPH, FAAO was inducted recently as the sixth president of Salus University, established by the Pennsylvania College of Optometry.

Prior to his appointment by the Salus University board of trustees, Mittelman was deputy Surgeon General of the Navy and had achieved the rank of Rear Admiral (Upper Half). A statement from the school noted, “Dr. Mittelman brings a remarkably unique global perspective to Salus University, American professional medical education, and the rapidly changing landscape of research and health care delivery.”

The statement continued, “Beginning as a Navy optometrist following his 1980 graduation from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Dr. Mittelman served with distinction for more than three decades in the U.S. Navy in a succession of increasingly responsible, mission-critical command positions. His exemplary career included posts around the world—covering land, sea and air responsibilities—as he became one of the most influential medical professionals to serve in the American military.”

Among Mittelman’s accomplishments, he was the first Navy aerospace optometrist, the first optometrist to command a major naval hospital (Naval Hospital, Okinawa, Japan), the first and only clinician to lead the Navy Medical Service Corps., the first non-medical doctor to serve as a combatant command surgeon in the U.S. Pacific Command, and the first non-medical doctor to serve as the command surgeon for the U.S. Joint Forces Command and Allied Command Transformation (NATO).

While serving in Japan, Mittelman directed the comprehensive U.S. military medical response as part of Operation Tomodachi (Operation Friends) following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The life-saving emergency response operation involved dozens of naval vessels, more than 150 aircraft, and upwards of 24,000 service personnel.

In addition to being a highly decorated naval officer, Mittelman has been recognized by his medical peers. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) as well as a Diplomate in the FAAO Section in Public Health and Environmental Vision. He’s a member of the American Optometric Association and recipient of its 2012 Distinguished Service Award, a past president of the Armed Forces Optometric Society and recipient of its Orion Award and the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Service Award of the American Optometric Association (AOA).

Mittelman, a New York native (City of Long Beach, Nassau County), earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Jacksonville University in 1975 and a Master of Public Health degree (MPH) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1990. He graduated from the Naval War College non-resident program in 1991. The father of three daughters, he and his wife now reside in Pennsylvania.

Salus University, founded as the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1919, is a diversified, globally recognized, professional academic medical center of learning that offers a wide range of accredited post-graduate degree programs. Rear Admiral Mittelman succeeds Salus/PCO’s former long-term president, Thomas L. Lewis, OD, PhD, who announced this past summer that he would be stepping down from the post, as reported.