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NORA Announces Appointments of New Executive and Advisory Board Officers

DeAnn Fitzgerald, OD assumes the position of president.

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(PRESS RELEASE) MANALAPAN, NJ — The Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, International (NORA) announces the appointments of its new Executive and Advisory Board members.

DeAnn Fitzgerald, OD assumes the position of president, succeeding Susan Daniel, OD, who now joins the NORA Advisory Board. Dr. Fitzgerald has been providing eye care to eastern Iowa since graduating from Pacific University School of Optometry in 1984. She runs a busy primary care clinic where she diagnoses and treats ocular disease and evaluates patients with brain injury. She has lectured nationally about neuro-rehabilitation and concussion. In addition to serving as vice president, NORA the last four years, Dr. Fitzgerald has also served as education chairperson, responsible for the curriculum at the NORA annual conferences.

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Charles Shidlofsky, OD, FCOVD is appointed vice president. Dr. Shidlofsky has served as NORA secretary/treasurer since 2016. He is clinical director at Neuro-Vision Associates of North Texas, a multi-office specialty clinic that serves both children and adults who have neurological vision processing problems. Dr. Shidlofsky is also clinical director for Special Olympics, Texas and serves as team Vision Coach/Eye Doctor for several professional sports teams. He is a frequent lecturer on a number of subjects, including vision testing and rehabilitation following a Traumatic Brain Injury/Acquired Brain Injury, Sports Vision, Developmental Vision, specialty contact lenses, and medical/allied medical co-management.

Tanya Polec, O.D., FNORA, FCOVD, joins the Executive Board as secretary/treasurer. Dr. Polec is a Neuro-Optometric Concussion specialist at VQ Learning Sports Rehab in North Central Tucson, Arizona, where she specializes in treating a wide range of visual system issues that are caused by traumatic brain injury. She joined the NORA Advisory Board in 2018. She is a vision consultant for Sports Medicine Rehabilitation and Concussion Center (SPARCC) and works with University of Arizona athletes as well as members of the United States Army from Ft. Huachuca.

In addition to Dr. Daniel, Drs. Shirley Blanc and Melissa Zarn Urankar are new members of the NORA Advisory Board, joining returning members Patti Andrich, MA, OTR/L, COVT, CINPP , Shirley Ha, O.D., FCOVD , and Gina Kim, MOT, OTR/L, CBIS

Shirley Blanc, OD, FNORA dedicates most of her practice to assessing and treating patients with visual problems due to acquired and traumatic brain injury. Dr. Blanc has conducted many speaking engagements on the topic of vision and concussion for organizations including Brain Injury Canada, Sports Physiotherapists of Canada, the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and the University of Toronto. She is an Advisory Board Member and course lecturer for Complete Concussion Management Inc. Dr. Blanc served as Conference Chair for NORA in 2019. She is currently an external vision consultant and a co-investigator with the University of Toronto David L. Macintosh Sports Medicine Clinic, looking at various visual manifestations of sport related concussion. She has provided vision rehabilitation as well as vision performance services for athletes at all levels, including varsity, Olympic, and professional.

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Melissa Zarn Urankar, OD, FAAO is an assistant professor of optometry and the director of Interprofessional Education (IPE) at Southern College of Optometry (SCO). Dr. Zarn evaluates and manages patients with traumatic and acquired brain injuries at the SCO clinics as well as at local rehabilitation hospitals. She has been a member of NORA since 2008 and is working toward her FNORA. She is the faculty advisor for SCO’s Student NORA Chapter and has coordinated the NORA poster session during the annual meeting since 2012. She has presented workshops on evaluating and managing TBI/ABI at the American Academy of Optometry meetings since 2015. She is a member of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) IPE and Collaborative Practice (IPECP) Committee and chair of ASCO’s IPECP Special Interest Group, the Midsouth Interprofessional Health Education Collaborative, Co-Chair of Tennessee Interprofessional Practice and Education Consortium’s (TIPEC’s) Membership and Communications Working Group, and Co-Chair of the American Interprofessional Health Collaborative Program Committee’s Mentoring Program Workgroup.

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