Welcome to New Women In Optometry Board Members

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Special thanks go out to the three retiring members of advisory board of Women In Optometry (WO) for their years of help and friendship. Louise Sclafani, OD, FAAO; Elise Brisco, OD, FAAO, FCOVD, CCH; and Ann Hoscheit, OD, FAAO, FAARM, have been with the magazine as members since we first created the board about 10 years ago. Now, terms are two-year cycles, so their longevity and commitment is remarkable.

We’re pleased to announce our three new members, who each bring a new representation to the board.


Kelly K. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, is dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. Dr. Nichols has been a professor at University of Houston College of Optometry and The Ohio State University College of Optometry. She has been involved extensively in professional organizations, especially those that focus on her interests in research: dry eye, meibomian gland dysfunction, blepharitis, inflammation, impact of menopause on dry eye, dry eye diagnostics and therapeutics, tear proteomics and lipidomics and quality of life. She says, “I have been involved in clinical research, academic optometry and leadership my whole career, so I have seen the different generations of professionals in vision care interact with one another from an inside point of view. I am also very committed to my family, so work-life balance and its pitfalls are extremely salient to me. I am honored to be part of the board.”


Maria Sampalis, OD, of Warwick, Rhode Island, is a Sears-affiliated OD and started the Corporate Optometry group on Facebook, where affiliated ODs or those interested in corporate-affiliated ODs can share information or ask questions, and corporateoptometry.com, a practice management website with downloadable documents relevant to corporate-affiliated ODs. She started the group because she knew that students, young ODs and others had questions about working in affiliated practices, so this venue encourages conversation, job-postings and more. She says, “I have a lot of conversations with different industry professionals, opticians, and optometrist eye care executives from being the administrator and the founder of the two websites. I think my conversations and business experience being on different boards, working with ARBO, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a consultant and the Rhode Island health department bring a business clinical and public health perspective.”


Our next member brings another important perspective to the board. Melissa Zaleski is a third-year student at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry, a candidate for an MPH degree and current vice president of the American Optometric Student Association. Prior to attending optometry school, she participated in the Disney College program, working in attractions at the Tower of Terror, and studied abroad in the Dominican Republic for a semester. Her involvement in leadership has taught her a great deal, she says. “I have noticed that being involved and going to meetings helps me see what the profession has to offer.” She says that she believes that students need to be involved in keeping the profession strong, so we’re delighted to have her views and enthusiasm on the panel.