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NECO Names First Diversity and Inclusion Liaison

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NECO Names First Diversity and Inclusion Liaison

Also Joins the 13% Promise Initiative by Black Eyecare Perspective

Dr. Angela Abraham has been appointed as the first-ever diversity and inclusion liaison for the New England College of Optometry. Dr. Abraham will be leading the drive to foster a more equitable and bias-free NECO community.

In a related announcement, NECO has also signed on to the 13% Promise, a new initiative led by Black Eyecare Perspective and dedicated to increasing Black presence in vision care. Both steps are part of a larger initiative for change at NECO, according to Howard Purcell, OD, the college’s president and CEO. 

“NECO is eager to do its part to help create the more diverse and inclusive community that we all know is the future of vision care, and Dr. Abraham’s appointment is the first action in a larger plan,” President Purcell said. “Angela Abraham has been on faculty at NECO since 2011, and in her, we have someone who has always been passionate about mentoring students of color in our field. She’s going to be essential in helping us achieve greater inclusion and living up to the ideals of the 13% Promise. This will take reflection and hard work, and we’re committed to a sustainable and powerful effort to get there.”   

Dr. Abraham will work with NECO’s new Alliance for the Advancement of Diversity and Inclusion, which includes faculty, staff and students. The group’s goal is to promote a culture where individuals from diverse backgrounds and life experiences feel they belong, are able to contribute, and can thrive academically and professionally. A primary role of this alliance is to connect diversity and inclusion activities to a broader set of data-driven, results-oriented strategies and to promote campus-wide communication on progress.    

“This is about more than changing a culture,” Dr. Abraham said. “It’s about bringing ideas in from the outside to cross-pollinate and spur new thinking. I believe in the year 2020, we all see the need to come together with better ideas and bigger hearts, and share both for the greater good.”

Dr. Abraham completed her Doctor of Optometry at the University of Missouri-St. Louis School of Optometry and took a Fellowship in Ocular Disease at the O’Donnell Eye Institute, St. Louis. Her undergraduate degree in Biology was at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. During her time at Smith, Dr. Abraham was part of a NECO summer program designed to attract more individuals of color to optometry. Years later, she sees her new role as the chance to do the same for others. 

“I’m excited about taking on this new role,” Dr. Abraham said. “We all know that it’s a long road to real inclusion and diversity, and I’m really happy to be part of that journey. I know NECO, and I know my colleagues and students are devoted to taking this important next step in optometry education.”


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