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In honor of our centennial anniversary, we are featuring members of our optometry community — past and present — each day of 2023!

See below for this week’s profiles.

This Week, We Are Celebrating…

February 13th

Raveena Dhiman

Raveena Dhiman is a current first year student at the School of Optometry & Vision Science. She graduated from Occidental College in 2022 with a major in Economics and a minor in Biology. While at Occidental, she played for the Women’s Basketball Team, was involved in student government, and lived in the same exact dorm room that President Obama lived in! Now at UC Berkeley, she is a member of several clubs such as OBM and VDC and is a part of the social committee. Upon graduation, Raveena would love to pursue a residency in either Pediatrics or Ocular Disease. In her free time, she likes to try new restaurants around campus, play basketball at the RSF, and attend DV’s every Thursday with her classmates!

February 14th

Karen Griffith, OD, MBA

Karen Griffith did her undergraduate education at University of California, Davis, completing a Bachelor of Science in Zoology. She graduated from the University California Berkeley School of Optometry in 1988. The class of ’88 introduced the “opto-bear” design as a fund-raising campaign for student participation in AOSA events. In 2006, Karen completed a Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in Strategic Leadership form Dominican University California.

Karen practices general optometry in Petaluma, California at Westside Optometry. She has been voted “Best Optometrist in Petaluma” for the last several years. She is a member of the American Optometric Association and is active in her local professional organization, the Redwood Empire Optometric Society. She has recently joined the Ocular Wellness and Nutrition Society. Karen promotes healthy lifestyles for her patients.

Locally, Karen is a member of the Petaluma Downtown Association and the American Association of University Women (AAUW). With AAUW, Karen supports STEM programs for girls and women through participation in science events and mentor programs. An empty nester, Karen and her husband, Lou, enjoy their home in Cotati. Their 3 daughters and families all live in Sonoma County as well.

February 15th

Kuniyoshi Kanai, OD, FAAO

Dr. Kuniyoshi Kanai is a Berkeley Optometry grad from the class of 2007. After completing a primary care residency, he remained as a clinical faculty at Berkeley. His primary focus is on resident education as well as studying systemic disease and its effect on the eye. Outside work, Dr. Kanai is a happy husband and a father of two active kids. He enjoys pushing his car to its limit and also himself on the bicycle. If you don’t find him at work or home, you may find him driving at Sonoma Raceway or riding a bicycle at the Mount Diablo.

February 16th

Merton C. Flom, OD, PhD, FAAO

Dr. Merton Clyde Flom was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1926. Be graduated from Los Angeles High School, served in the Navy in World War II (in Guam), and attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Berkeley, ultimately receiving an optometry degree and both an M.S. and Ph.D. degree in vision science.

In 1967 he became Professor of Physiological Optics and Optometry while maintaining his own private practice, he was also the first faculty member in optometry at UC Berkeley to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As one of Berkeley Optometry’s most outstanding lecturers and popular professors, he was well known for being personable and endearing. After leaving Berkeley, Dr. Flom was appointed as an Associate Dean with the University of Houston.
Flom was also active in the UC Optometry Alumni Association, serving as President in 1963 and 1964. He was President of the American Academy of Optometry (1981–82) as well as editor of its journal, the American Journal of Optometry and Physiological Optics (1976–1978). Dr. Flom retired from the faculty at the University of Houston School of Optometry in 2001. In 2005, the Berkeley Optometry Class of 1980 established the Merton Flom Teaching Award. Flom was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame in 2006, and in 2007, the American Optometric Foundation established the “Merton Flom Ezell Fellowship in Leadership.”

February 17th

Maria Liu, OD, PhD, MPH, MBA, FAAO

Dr. Maria Liu is the founder and chief of the UC Berkeley Myopia Control Clinic – the first of its kind in a teaching clinic, which now serves as a model for optometry schools across the country. Originally from Beijing, Dr. Liu practiced as an ophthalmologist in China before relocating to the United States in 2000. She obtained her MBA prior to her OD training at Pacific University, College of Optometry. Dr. Liu also completed an MPH with emphasis in biostatistics and clinical study design and a PhD in physiological optics at UC Berkeley.

The main emphasis of her research and clinical expertise has been on the investigation and utilization of novel contact lens designs and pharmaceuticals in myopia control. Dr. Liu enjoys teaching both in didactic and clinical settings. She has years of experience in teaching basic and clinical pharmacology, ocular disease, contact lenses, evidence-based optometry, as well as comparative studies on the similarity and difference of primary vision care in developed vs. developing countries. Last but not the least, Dr. Liu is very enthusiastic about humanitarian services and helped organize as well as served as the attending doctor for multiple VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity) trips to China.

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