NEW YORK— The Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) recently elected longtime member Richard Soden, OD, FAAO, as the new president of the board of trustees. Dr. Soden will continue to carry on much of the work of the previous president, the late philanthropist Barbara Saltzman, who devoted her entire career and retirement to the health care industry with a passion for vision-related causes, according to the announcement. Among her legacies is the state-of-the-art Barbara Saltzman Center for Pediatric Eye Care, which opened in April at the University Eye Center to serve urgent care needs amid the coronavirus crisis.

Dr. Soden has served the optometric field as a practitioner and educator for more than 40 years. Founded in 1956, OCNY serves as the college related, tax-exempt foundation for SUNY College of Optometry and its affiliated patient care clinic, the University Eye Center.

“Understanding the impact that vision has on people’s lives and working with people to optimize their vision are critical ways to make a difference,” said Dr. Soden, who graduated from SUNY College of Optometry in 1979 before moving into private practice. He currently serves as the college’s director of health care development and is responsible for external affiliated programs in locations throughout New York City’s five boroughs where faculty members work supplying eyecare.

In addition to teaching in the academic program, Dr. Soden also deals with managed care contracts for the college and stays abreast of compliance and medical coding issues.

In his new role as OCNY board president, Dr. Soden hopes to attract new members of various disciplines, implement a succession plan for future OCNY leadership, and prepare to celebrate the college’s 50th anniversary in 2021. Above all, he wants to continue OCNY efforts to support and expand outreach initiatives to the community, particularly for populations in need and to increase student scholarships, according to the announcement.

“One of the key purposes of our board is to help the community through scholarships and partnerships,” explained Dr. Soden. “I believe the board does a very good job with outreach and securing funding for programming that promotes opportunity and better health for all people.”

For more information about the Optometric Center of New York, visit the site here.