(L to R) Darryl Glover Jr., OD ‘11, Essence Johnson, OD ‘10, FAAO, and Jacobi Cleaver, OD ‘11, FAAO, from Black Eyecare Perspective.

ELKINS PARK, Pa.—Salus University honored several eyecare professionals recently at its annual recognition event here earlier this month, including three Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University alumni who were recognized for their work as leaders of Black Eyecare Perspective (BEP) with  2022 Presidential Medal of Honor recipients. Black Eyecare Perspective (BEP) is an organization dedicated to increasing Black representation in optometry by creating a pipeline for Black students into the profession, cultivating and fostering lifelong relationships between Black eyecare professionals and the eyecare industry.

The organization has three PCO alums in key leadership roles, Darryl Glover OD ‘11, co-founder, Essence Johnson OD ‘10, chief visionary officer and Jacobi Cleaver OD ‘11, chief program officer.

The trio was nominated by Lauren Price, BEP Pre-Optometry Club (BEPPOC) president. “Drs. Johnson, Cleaver and Glover encompass and continuously exceed said contribution to the optometric profession as a whole as they’ve changed the way people see optometry eternally,” said Price in her nomination letter to the committee. “The Drs. reflect PCO/Salus University in the highest regard and often pay homage to their alma mater for molding them into the optometrists they are today.”

“Any recognition that we get is just more of an affirmation of the good work that we’re doing but to be recognized by your alma mater is special. Out of all the awards that we have gotten, this one from Salus is extra-special,” said Dr. Johnson, chief visionary officer for Black Eyecare Perspective, who along with Dr. Cleaver, the organization’s chief program officer, co-founded and helps co-advise the Black Eyecare Perspective Optometry Club. The club, which has more than 120 students—many of those first-and second-year students from PCO at Salus—represents more than 20 different states from more than 50 different colleges and universities.

In addition to the Black Eyecare Perspective, additional 2022 Presidential Medal of Honor winners included Robert P. Bittel Jr., OD ‘83; Michael D. DePaolis, OD ‘82, FAAO; Neil W. Draisin, OD ‘71, FCOVD; Kovin Naidoo, OD ‘95, MPH, PhD, FAAO; and Melissa A. Padilla, MPH ‘13, whose posthumous award was accepted by her daughter, Ariana Campo.

The ceremony also recognized the 2022 Alumni Association Award recipients, which included:

Alumni Association president Robert Owens, OD ‘80, FAAO, Diplomate American Board of Optometry and Donald R. Smith, Public Service Award winner.