When Chad Killen, OD, FAAO, completed his residency at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University, he realized how much he loved the experience. While practicing at PCO/Salus’ clinical facility, The Eye Institute (TEI), he had the opportunity to learn from a number of mentors and gained a great understanding of the various approaches to managing ocular disease.Dr. Chad Killen
So, when the director of the On-Campus Residency Program position opened up after Bhawan Minhas, OD, FAAO, was named associate dean of the Accelerated Scholars Doctor of Optometry Program, Dr. Killen, who joined the faculty in 2021, jumped at the chance and applied for the job.
“During my residency Dr. Minhas both challenged and supported me in such a profound way that I knew I wanted to give that experience to future residents,” said Dr. Killen. “So, I wanted to throw my hat in the ring. I really have a passion for the residency program and I thought I could continue the greatness set by those before me.”
And, now he gets the opportunity to do just that after recently being named the new director of PCO/Salus’ On-Campus Residency Programs.
Dr. Killen graduated from Gettysburg College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences before coming to PCO/Salus, where he participated in several activities during his time here. He was president of the Gold Key Honor Society and the Contact Lens Club. He was also the director of internal affairs for the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA), worked as a teaching assistant in the clinical skills lab and was on the Athletic Committee that helped plan intramural sports for the students.
He received the William Feinbloom Low Vision Award and the Bernard Blaustein Resident of the Year Award for the Class of 2020 before joining the faculty as a clinical Instructor in Primary Care and Low Vision Rehabilitation services. At TEI, he works predominantly with third-and fourth-year students but has taught in the clinical problem-solving course and clinical skills lab as well. His most recent accomplishment was becoming a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry at this year’s annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.
Among his new duties are to oversee all the residents at TEI in Primary Care/Ocular Disease, Low Vision Rehabilitation/Ocular Disease, Cornea/Contact Lenses, Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease and Pediatrics/Vision Therapy. Currently, there are 12 on-campus residents.
In addition, Dr. Killen will be responsible for ensuring TEI’s programs continue to operate according to the guidelines as established by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) in providing a rigorous clinical and didactic residency experience for all on-campus residents.
Dr. Killen was at home when PCO/Salus’ dean, Melissa Trego, OD, called him to offer the position.
“I immediately was just so excited for the opportunity to take on this big role. The residency program has such a great legacy here at TEI,” said Dr. Killen. “In addition to the joy, I felt a lot of the responsibility, too. The residents are kind of the heartbeat of our clinic and making sure they are educated and supported is such a big deal. I want to make sure they all have the great experience that I did and that we continue to recruit the top of every class from all the different schools across the U.S.”
One of his main goals is to make sure PCO/Salus is pulling candidates from all across the country and making sure residency classes are diverse with residents from all backgrounds.
“My residency year we had optometrists from all different optometry schools, which I thought created a really great learning environment. We got to see how everyone learned at their individual schools and what skills they brought to the table that we could teach each other,” he said. “I think that creates the best learning environment and overall residency experience.”