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NEW YORK, N.Y. —The State University of New York College of Optometry announced it has received a generous gift of $1.28 million from Barbara Saltzman, who currently serves as the president of the board of trustees for the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY), the College’s related foundation. The gift will support key priorities for both the OCNY and the College which include completing the construction and equipping of the college’s new state-of-the-art pediatric eyecare center and the establishment of a new endowed student scholarship fund. In recognition of her generosity and commitment to supporting vision care, SUNY Optometry said it will name the center the Barbara Saltzman Center for Pediatric Eye Care.

“Sight is one of our most precious senses and I am thrilled to be able to support the OCNY and the College as they grow their pediatric care area and continue to help their youngest patients see better,” said Saltzman. “The new pediatric center is designed from top to bottom to enhance the patient experience and enable every family who comes here to access the same unmatched level of care that we have come to expect from the University Eye Center.”

“The College is eternally grateful to Ms. Saltzman for her years of commitment to this institution. This gift provides tremendous support for our mission of providing the highest-quality care possible for every single patient, particularly our pediatric patients who are often among the most vulnerable in society, while helping the college train the next generation of eye doctors and clinicians,” said SUNY Optometry president David Heath, OD, EdM.

The College of Optometry broke ground on the Barbara Saltzman Center for Pediatric Eye Care in April of 2019. The Center, located in mid-town Manhattan on the College’s campus, will be a 5,000 square foot facility dedicated to accommodating the growing need for both basic and advanced pediatric eyecare within the University Eye Center. The new facility will feature eight state-of-the art examination rooms, a sensory room (the “chill room”), consultation space, pediatric optical dispensing, and a centrally located area (the “Collaboration Zone”) for multiple disciplines to engage in collaborative practice, assuring optimal patient outcomes.

In addition to supporting the pediatric center, Saltzman’s gift will establish the Barbara Saltzman Scholarship Fund which will be awarded annually to high-achieving optometry students at the College.

Saltzman helped guide the College’s capital funding campaign for the pediatric eyecare facility as well as the overall fundraising priorities for OCNY in her role as president of the board of trustees. According to the College’s vice president of institutional advancement, Dawn Rigney, who also serves as executive director for the Optometric Center of New York, “Ms. Saltzman’s leadership and passion for the support of vision-related causes is remarkable, and her generosity will empower us to not only provide the very best care to patients, but to do so in a facility designed to accommodate the needs of every child and enhance the training of our doctors.”

Saltzman is herself a mother of three who has devoted her entire career to the health care industry. In 1999, after selling her New York City-based contract pharmaceutical sales firm, she left the world of business for service on the boards of nonprofit organizations and discovered she had a passion for vision-related causes. After serving on several other boards, she was introduced to the OCNY and learned of the eye and vision care, education and research conducted at SUNY Optometry. She joined the OCNY board in 2008 and was named president in 2015.

The dedication of the Barbara Saltzman Center for Pediatric Eye Care will take place during the annual fundraising event, Eyes on New York, on March 27, 2020.