June CE 2014 speakers


Blair Lonsberry obtained his Optometry degree from the University of Waterloo in 1996 after completing a Master of Science in Physiology from the University of Manitoba. He completed his residency in Primary Care Optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry in 1997, then joined the faculty at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN. During his time at SCO, he completed a Masters in Education degree with an emphasis in adult learning. Currently, Dr. Lonsberry is a Full Professor and the Clinic Director for the Portland Vision Center associated with Pacific University in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Lonsberry is a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry, a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, the Optometric Retinal Society and the Optometric Glaucoma Society, and is on the executive of the Ocular Surface Society of Optometry.

Michelle Steenbakkers graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Life Sciences. She earned a Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Waterloo and is the recipient of the Dr. Irving Baker Award for Clinical Excellence and the Canadian Association of Optometrists Award of Merit. Dr. Steenbakkers completed two residencies with the University of Houston, the first focused on Community-Based Family Practice and the second, as Chief Resident at Bridge Builder’s Eye Clinic. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and is a faculty member at the School of Optometry & Vision Science, University of Waterloo, following several years of private practice in Nova Scotia

Marlee Spafford is a professor at Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies for the Faculty of Science. She is an optometrist with an MSc degree in physiological optics, and a PhD degree in theory and policy studies in education. Professor Spafford has earned 7 awards for teaching
excellence and has been a Teaching Fellow in the Faculty of Science. Past school appointments have included: Interim Director; Associate Director of Academics and Research; and Clinic Director. Her research program explores healthcare as it relates to education, communication, socialization, equity and service delivery. A Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, Professor Spafford is a member of the Academy’s Optometric Education Diplomate Committee, a reviewer for 10 journals and an editorial board member of Optometric Education.

Richard Maharaj practices in the Greater Toronto Area. He is Clinic Director at eyeLABS optometry and Lead Optometrist at York-Finch Eye Associates/Humber River Regional Hospital. He manages the Ocular Surface Disease Clinic at both locations, treating complex anterior segment disease in a collaborative setting from dry eye disease to advanced corneal dystrophies. An area of special interest for Dr. Maharaj is the lid surface as it relates to chronic dry eye. As a respected leader in the area of dry eye disease, Dr. Maharaj continues to develop non-surgical periocular techniques for treating dry eye disease. He is a national speaker on diseases of the anterior and posterior segment as well as best practices in contact lenses. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a member of Canadian and Ontario Associations of Optometry.
Susan Leat graduated in Optometry from the University of Manchester in the UK. She obtained her PhD and undertook post-doctoral studies at Cardiff University. She was founder of the Cardiff University Low Vision Clinic and instrumental in establishing the Special Assessment Clinic in Cardiff University. In 1991 she took up a Faculty position in the University of Waterloo, Canada where she is now a Professor and a clinician in the Paediatric and Special Needs Clinic. She teaches and conducts research in paediatrics, psychophysics, low vision, gerontology, visual development and developmental disabilities. She publishes in International Optometric and Ophthalmology journals and presents at International conferences. She is a Fellow of the College of Optometrists (UK), a member of the College of Optometrists of Ontario, a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Optometry and Chair of the American Academy of Optometry SIG on Vision in Aging. She is the recent Chair of the organising committee for the 2013 Child Vision Research Society conference. She has co-authored a book on Paediatric Optometry entitled “Assessing Children’s Vision – A Handbook” Publ. Butterworth-Heinemann 1999 and more recently is a co-editor of Paediatric Vision Care: Current practice and future challenges” to be published by McGrawHill.
Marilyn Smith graduated from Georgian College’s Dispensing Opticians program in 1981 and worked in retail opticianry until 1988 when sheaccepted a position at the UW School of Optometry as an Ophthalmic Lab Demonstrator and Optical Services Student Supervisor. She was promoted to Optical Services Manager in 1991 and joined the Optometry Faculty as a Clinical Lecturer in 2004. Along with continued teaching activities andstudent supervision, Marilyn became the Head of PC-1 (Primary Care)externship program, Head of External Dispensing Clinics and Co-ordinator of the Jamaica Eyecare Externship. She is also involved in various research projects and is the faculty Liaison for the Lions Club sat UW Optometry. Marilyn is an international speaker in the ophthalmic field and also enjoys speaking that promotes motivation and self-growth.
Nadine Furtado completed her undergraduate studies at McGill University. She then earned a Doctor of Optometry and a Master of Science in Vision Science from the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry. After graduation, she completed a residency in Ocular Disease and Primary Care at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hudson Valley Healthcare System. She has recently joined the faculty at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science as an Assistant Clinical Professor. In addition, she is a Clinical Scientist in the Centre for Contact Lens Research. She is an active member of the Ontario Association of Optometry and a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.

C. Lisa Prokopich achieved her Honours Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Optometry degrees at the University of Waterloo. She then
continued her education in Philadelphia where she completed a Residency at The Eye Institute of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, now Salus University. There she practised and taught primary and emergency care Optometry with an emphasis on ocular disease diagnosis and management. Dr. Prokopich is currently a Clinical Professor at the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry & Vision Science. She is Head of the Ocular Health Clinic and had hospital privileges with the Grand River Hospital, running a clinic from the Freeport site for 10 years, as well as maintaining private practice work. She has been Chair of the Therapeutics Committee at Waterloo, and on various provincial TPA committees across the country in the efforts to resolve the legislative issues of prescribing rights for optometrists in Canada. Her educational emphasis has been in both didactic and clinical curriculum development as well as professional continuing education in Ocular Disease and Therapeutics. Research interests include ocular surface disease, including in Sjogren’s syndrome, and glaucoma with a Masters in Vision Science achieved in the study of blood flow in health and disease. Dr. Prokopich serves on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Sjögren’s Society of Canada and has lectured widely and published articles in textbooks in the therapeutic field, including section editor and author in Bartlett and Jaanus’ Clinical Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Hugh G. Jellie is a local ophthalmologist who has been in private practice in the Kitchener- Waterloo area since 1986 specializing is anterior segment surgery. He graduated medicine from the University of Western Ontario School of Medicine cum laude. His residency in Ophthalmology was also completed at the University of Western Ontario in 1984. A corneal fellowship was obtained at Duke University in North Carolina in 1985.  Since that time he has pursued an interest in anterior segment surgery and many forms of refractive surgery. He has been involved with TLC Waterloo since its inception where he is now Medical Director. He also acts as an Adjunct Professor of the School of Optometry at the University of Waterloo providing medical oversight of research projects.

Dennis Ruskin graduated from the University of Waterloo in 1976 with a Doctor of Optometry degree, the same year he established his full scope practice in Toronto, Ontario. In 1989, he became a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. Dr. Ruskin has been an appointed advisory member to committees within the provincial government, College of Optometrists of Ontario, Ontario Association of Optometrists, Seneca College opticianry program, and pharmaceutical corporations. As well, he has had a clinical affiliation with the Vision Institute of Canada and has served as examiner for the Canadian Examiners of Optometry. Dr. Ruskin has as interest in nutrition and its impact on ocular disease. He has authored research papers and lectured to health care professionals. Currently, Dr. Ruskin is a board member to the Ocular Nutrition Society, chair of the Nutrition Special Interest Group (SIG) of the American Academy of Optometry, and serves as the president of the College of Optometrists in Ontario.