SUNY Optometry Appoints First Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

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NEW YORK—The State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry has appointed Joy Harewood, OD, FAAO as the College's first director of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DDEIB) and associate clinical professor. The fulfillment of this role has been one of the key initiatives prioritized by the College's Task Force on Race and Equity, a panel of staff, faculty and students formed last year to advance existing and new diversity and inclusion efforts while opening up the conversation about race, ethnicity and bias throughout the campus community, the College said.

In this position, Dr. Harewood will serve as an educator, influencer, and leader charged with developing collaborative partnerships on and off campus that fuel support and implement best practices in the mission to advance a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture at the college," said David Health, OD, EdM, president of SUNY Optometry. "She will provide key leadership as we continue to cultivate an environment where all College community members have the opportunity to succeed."

SUNY Optometry vice president of student affairs and chief diversity officer, Guilherme F.D. Albieri, PhD, also welcomed Dr. Harewood to the team. "She will play a key role in advancing and further improving diversity and inclusion initiatives and programs already established at the College and developing new ones to target disparities and inequities in optometric education and patient care. Her passion for and focus on building a culture of belonging will be a major asset for the College community."

Dr. Harewood will start a new chapter in her career and the College's history starting on March 1.

She said, "Optometry serves as a primary entry point to health care for people from all walks of life. This makes our profession uniquely positioned to positively influence access to care for many vulnerable populations. To properly serve these and many other populations, we must reflect the diversity of the patients that we serve. We must make sure that all voices in the SUNY optometry community, from the classroom to the exam chair, feel heard, seen and understood."

Dr. Harewood has served as an adjunct clinical faculty member of the College where she completed her residency in ocular disease in 2012. In addition to student and professional instruction, she has treated patients at the BronxCare Health System and other facilities throughout the New York metropolitan area, managing and treating ocular trauma, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma management. She was a staff optometrist at Staten Island University Hospital-Northwell Health, where she was twice recognized with a Service Excellence Award for exemplary patient care.

A native of Canada, Dr. Harewood is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Optometry and was appointed to the school's Council for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. She has published and lectured on various topics impacting optometric education and was an influential voice in the College's Race in Optometry webinar series. "SUNY College of Optometry continues to lead from the front by committing to prioritizing these values," said Dr. Harewood.