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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 21st

Sandra Peña

Sandra Peña has been a part of the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science since 2020. Her background in optometry began in 2011 as an optician apprentice, technician, contact lens trainer and optometric translator. Through her short time at the school of optometry, Sandra has been committed to providing the best customer service to any patient that receives care in the clinic. Starting as a patient service team member, her dedication, and passion for providing quality care and a positive patient experience can be reflected through her transition into a Patient Service Lead. She was a recipient of the Spot Award in 2021, which is designed to recognize special contributions accomplished over a short period of time. Additionally, she has been an active member of the DEIB council since 2021 and currently serves as Co-chair within the committee. Sandra is determined to continue her work here at the school of optometry to help lead the clinic in all its clinical operations while maintaining patient care as her top priority.

February 22nd

Allan N. Freid, OD, FAAO

Allan Freid was born on September 27, 1928. He attended Los Angeles High School from 1943–1946, studied pre-optometry at UCLA from 1946–1949, and earned an AA. He then attended Berkeley Optometry from 1949–1952, earning a BS in 1951 and MOpt in 1952. He attended graduate programs in physiological optics at Berkeley and researched binocular vision at Stanford Medical School in San Francisco from 1952–1954.

Dr. Freid’s professional experience spans more than 40 years. He practiced optometry in the US Army from 1954-1957 in Salzburg, Austria, and was Chief of Optometry in Heidelberg, Germany. He established a private practice in Saratoga, California from 1957–1985, specializing in low vision from 1960, for which he is best known. At Berkeley Optometry he was a clinician from 1959–1961, a Glaucoma Clinic clinician from 1961–1968, and a Low Vision clinician from 1968–1985, serving as Director from 1970–75. He was a Clinical Professor and also Director of the Glaucoma Clinic from 1961–68.

He made many contributions to optometry through teaching, writing, research, private practice and university practice, and political and community activities.

February 23rd

Suzanne M.J. Fleiszig, OD, PhD

Suzanne M.J. Fleiszig, O.D., Ph.D., is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She received a Doctor of Optometry degree and Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Melbourne. She completed her postdoctoral training in Infectious Disease at Harvard Medical School.

At UC Berkeley, Dr. Fleiszig holds appointments in Vision Science, Infectious Diseases & Immunity, Microbiology, and the School of Optometry. She studies microbe-host interactions using the eye as a model and key intrinsic defenses protecting epithelial surfaces in vivo against infection, conditions enabling susceptibility, and how the opportunistic pathogen P. aeruginosa colonizes epithelial surfaces.

Fleiszig is the current Chair of COMS. Previously she served ASM as Chair of Division D, an At-Large Division Councilor, an Interdisciplinary Councilor, and co-chaired the HMB community retreat. She serves on the editorial boards of Infection & Immunity, PLOS One, Frontiers in Cellular & Infection Microbiology, and PeerJ, and is a standing member of NIH’s Bacterial Pathogenesis (BACP) study section. She has also served as President of the International Society for Contact Lens Research, Vice-President of TFOS (ocular surface society), Chair of the Immunology & Microbiology Section for the Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology, and Chair of the Corneal Biology Gordon Research Conference.

February 24th

Reverend Clyde Oden Jr., OD

Dr. Oden has four degrees including a Doctorate of Optometry and a Master of Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley. He has also earned an MBA from Pepperdine University and a Master of Divinity from the Claremont School of Theology. He arrived at Berkeley intending to become the first Black optometrist in his hometown of San Diego with the expectation of becoming a successful practitioner; he left Berkeley with a determination to be part of the solution addressing health disparities in low-income communities. After working as a successful optometrist, he enrolled in Berkeley’s Public Health school, where he earned his MPH.

He was offered an opportunity to serve in an administrative capacity at Watts Health Systems (WHS) in Los Angeles, where he served for 33 years, and became its President and Chief Executive Officer. The organization experienced phenomenal growth under his leadership, and eventually operated an HMO, 12 community health programs, including substance abuse, home health agency, and school-based health clinics. By the end of his service at that institution, WHS served about 250,000 persons per year.

After serving at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in for nearly 25 years, he retired and is now the Assistant Director of the Alameda County Collaborative Alliance (ACCA-AICP), a faith-based, person-centered, lay care navigation intervention serving predominantly, but not exclusively, African American adults with advanced illness and their caregivers in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and San Francisco County. Today, with over 40 churches in its network, including partnering with health systems and community organizations, the ACCA program is designed to help to bridge the gap between health delivery systems, community organizations, faith-based communities, and communities of color in managing advanced illness.

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