After seeing the statement of both the Doctors Syndicate and the Ophthalmological Society concerning the “Doctor of Optometry” program, AAUP administration thinks that it is important to clarify the following:
First: AAUP has never mentioned that graduates of this program will be “doctors” and also never mentioned that graduates will practice medicine.
Second: The “Doctor of Optometry” program is an international program that is taught in some of the best universities around the world (Attached at the end of this response some of the names of the universities that teaches this program).
Third: There are some Palestinian graduates who already hold this certificate as they graduated from international universities and went back to Palestine holding the degree of “Doctor of Optometry”, and their degrees were equivalent from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (Attached a photo of an equivalent degree)
Fourth: Stopping this program in Palestine will not stop students to study and have this degree in other countries and get back to Palestine holding this degree.
Fifth: The name of the Degree “Doctor of Optometry” does not mean that the degree holder is a doctor, just like the name of the degree “Doctor of Pharmacy” _that is offered by other local universities. We have never heard of the problem of mistaking the holder of “Doctor of Pharmacy” with doctors who practice medicine and so threatening people’s lives! Then why there is a great concern of “Doctor of Optometry”? We would really like to hear the response of the Doctors Syndicate and the Ophthalmological Society on this, as everyone has the right to know the answer.
Sixth: AAUP started this program after many discussions and consultations with the Optics Syndicate, Doctors Syndicate and the Ophthalmological Society. An extended meeting was arranged to represent the powers of graduates of the program “Doctor of Optometry” so that their powers not to interfere with Optometrists. The Doctors Syndicate response was that “we will agree on what the Ophthalmological Society will accept”, and the society promised to transfer the suggestion to the general commission and get back to us within two days. After two days, we were surprised that the Chief of Doctors’ Syndicate submitted a letter to H.E. the Prime Minister and H.E. the Minister of Higher Education recommending refusing the program without even discussing the powers as they promised.
Seventh: Graduates of the “Doctor of Optometry” program are internationally known to take care of the “primary care” of eyes, prevent any diseases and reduce the dangers. We cannot understand how an Optometrist who is concerned in people’s eyes’ health can refuse such specialization.
Eighth: “Doctor of Optometry” is the international name of this degree (attached an international certificate of this program) and cannot be changed or edited.
Ninth: The powers of “Doctor of Optometry” degree holders are decided by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, not by the university. For instance in USA, each state determines the powers of this program graduates.
Tenth: This program was arranged under collaboration of State University of New York (SUNY) - College of Optometry, and professors from this university will teach in this program in Arab American University. Among all the colleges that teach this program in the United States, SUNY’s College of Optometry got the 2nd place.
And so, AAUP asks the Doctors Syndicate and the Ophthalmological Society to consider the Palestinian citizens health in the first place and to collaborate with AAUP to start this program that helps in developing the eyes primary care in a way that will not interfere in the powers or skills of Optometrists that we all respect.
Strike threatening is a threatening to the health of citizens and this cannot be risked not even for one second just because the syndicate and the society do not accept this internationally distinguish academic program.
Attached some of the international universities that offer the program of “Doctor of Optometry” and the study costs and fees of some of those universities
1. State University College of Optomerry
New York, USA
2. SOUTHERN COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY
Estimated Tuition Cost: $76,416 (Regional); $138,816 (Non Regional)
3. UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA SCHOOL OF OPTOMETRY
Estimated Tuition Cost: $99,763 (Resident); $202,052 (Non Resident)
4. INDIANA SCHOOL OF OPTOMETRYEstimated Tuition Cost: $102,834 (Resident); $152,978 (Non Residents)
5. OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY
Estimated Tuition Cost: $103,584 (Resident); $124,630 (Non Resident)
6. FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY MICHIGAN COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY
Estimated Tuition Cost: $112,176 (Resident); $168,264 (Non Resident)
7. WESTERN UNIVERSITY OF HEALTH SCIENCES COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY
Estimated Tuition Cost: $149,400
8. MIDWESTERN UNIVERSITY
Estimated Tuition Cost: $153,048 (Arizona College); $158,880 (Chicago College)
9. SALUS UNIVERSITY PENNSYLVANIA COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY
Estimated Tuition Cost: $154,560 (Traditional Program); $158,000 (Scholars Program)
10. NEW ENGLAND COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY
Estimated Tuition Cost: $160,148
11. ILLINOIS COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY
Estimated Tuition Cost: $170,995
12.University of Melbourne,
13. Massachusets college of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
MassaChussets , usa
14. St. John’s University
New York, USA
14. University of Lynchburg , USA
15. Pacific University College of Optometry
16. University of Southern California College of Optometry, USA
17-Kansas State University, Kansas USA
18. seton hill university Penn., USA
19. The Swiss American International Academy
A photo of the certificate (Degree) of one of those universities
A photo of the equivalent certificate of “Doctor of Optometry”