Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association

Enhancing Neurological Recovery Through Vision Rehabilitation

2019 Annual Conference Speakers

Tracy Ammann, OD

Tracy Ammann, OD

Dr. Ammann is a 1993 graduate of Pacific University College of Optometry. During her first year of optometry school, she received a Health Professions Scholarship from the Army, part of a program that offers prospective military physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, optometrists, psychologists, pharmacists, and veterinarians a paid medical education in exchange for service as a commissioned medical department officer.

Upon graduation, Dr. Ammann began her service in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, with the 1st Armored Division.  Her service took her to Bosnia, with Operation Joint Endeavor and then to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  She was in private practice in Riverton, Wyoming for 15 years before taking the Neuro-Optometry position at the Intrepid Spirit at Fort Campbell in 2014. 

Dr. Ammann has been practicing neuro-optometric rehabilitation for 14 years.  She has served as an Advisory Board member for NORA and has spoken about occupational therapy and physical therapy practices, an numerous meetings throughout the years.

Alex Andrich, O.D., FCOVD

Alex Andrich, O.D., FCOVD

Dr. Alexandar Andrich is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Optometry and is in private practice in North Royalton, Ohio. He lectures on the topics of pediatric/infant vision, binocular vision disorders, sports vision, neuro-optometric rehabilitation and learning-related vision disorders. In addition to providing Vision Therapy, Sports Vision, and Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation services at his private practice, he is also on staff in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation departments at University Hospitals Parma Medical Center and the MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio. In addition to serving as the president of the International Sports Vision Association, Dr. Andrich is a vision coach for the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Monsters hockey team, and Cleveland Gladiators arena football team. He is professionally involved at state, national and international levels.

Patti Andrich, MA, OTR/L, COVT, CINPP

Patti Andrich, MA, OTR/L, COVT, CINPP

Patti Andrich MA, OTR/L, COVT, CINPP is an Advisory Member to the Board of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association.

Patti is an occupational therapist known for her success in treating individuals with difficulties in visual-motor, visual-perceptual, auditory perception and vestibular functioning.

Patti received her master's degree from The Ohio State University College of Education and her occupational therapy degree from the Cleveland State University Department of Health Sciences. Additionally, she holds certification in auditory processing using The Listening Program with Bone Conduction from Advanced Brain Technologies and is certified in CINPP primitive reflex integration techniques; having studied in England under the direction of Sally Goddard at the Institute of Neurological Physiological Psychology (INPP).

Patti is a certified vision therapist, member of The Optometric Extension Program as well as the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, the recipient of several honors and awards and has been a guest speaker for local, state, national and international conferences.

Curtis R. Baxstrom, MA, OD, FCOVD, FAAO, FNORA

Curtis R. Baxstrom, MA, OD, FCOVD, FAAO, FNORA

Curtis R. Baxstrom, MA, OD, FCOVD, FAAO, FNORA is an Advisory Board Member and Immediate Past President of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association.

Dr. Baxstrom received his Doctor of Optometry degree in 1984 from Pacific University College of Optometry (PUCO). After Optometry school he completed a Master’s degree in Reading at Seattle Pacific University.

Dr. Baxstrom is currently in private practice in Federal Way, Washington specializing in vision therapy and rehabilitation. His practice consists of special needs patients, learning disabled children and patients who have suffered traumatic brain injuries or stroke. He is also adjunct faculty at PUCO where he helps teach several courses and is director of the Vision Northwest-Vision Rehabilitation Residency Program.

He has privileges at multiple rehabilitation hospitals and also consults at the Good Samaritan and Mary Bridge Children’s Therapy Unit. He is a fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, American Academy of Optometry and the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association. In 1989 he was named, Young OD of the Year for the State of California.

Dr. Baxstrom has lectured on a variety of visual topics in the areas of child development, learning, visual rehabilitation and vision therapy both nationally and internationally.

Brenda Berge, D. Aud.

Brenda Berge, D. Aud.

Dr. Brenda Berge earned her B.A. in Psychology from Brock University, Master of Science from Purdue University in 1995, finally earning her Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree in 1997, as one of the first dozen matriculated Au.D.’s in the world, and the first in Canada.  Her clinical rotations were completed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD.  She completed a post doctoral fellowship in Neuroanatomy and Auditory Processing from Dartmouth Medical School, New Hampshire.  She sat as Adjunct Faculty at Pennsylvania College of Optometry - School of Audiology from the inception of the Au.D. program in 2000 through 2008, until Salus University and the George Osborne-School of Audiology was formed.  Dr. Berge has advanced board certification from the American Institute of Balance, training under Dr. Richard Gans, world leading expert on dizziness, vertigo and balance disorders, holding 4 AIB certifications for:  Advanced Diagnostics; Vestibular Assessment and Management, Vestibular Rehabilitation therapy (VRT), Concussion-Labrynthine Concussion Certificates.

Dr. Berge’s primary interest is the investigation of the clinical profiles of rare diseases and complex co-morbid neurological patients, and patients who suffered whiplash, TBI/PCS.  The 7 otic symptoms once referred to as late onset cervico-encephalic syndrome for Auditory Vestibular Nervous System (AVNS) symptoms including:  tinnitus, misophonia, hyperacusis, hearing loss (auditory perceptual complaints), vertigo, dizziness, and imbalance/disequilibrium.  She will review Visual Vestibular Integration Disorder, and the more recently introduced Dual Sensory Dysfunction, to discuss the intimate neurophysiological relationship between the audiovestibular nervous system and functional neuro-optometry.

Janet Berthiaume, OTR/L, CDRS, FNORA

Janet Berthiaume received her degree in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Michigan University in 1990. Specialties include Vision and Driver Rehabilitation. She received the “Advancement of Sciences” Award from the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, International (NORA) as team member of the Beaumont Eye Institute in 1997; obtained certification as a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) from ADED in 1999; received the “President’s Award” from NORA in 2005; named one of “Therapy Times’ 25 Most Influential” of 2006; and was awarded Fellowship in NORA in 2007. She has lectured on Vision Rehabilitation and Driving, Low Vision / Telescopic Driving, Elderly Driving and Fall Prevention. She served on the NORA Advisory Council from 2002-2004 and on the NORA Executive Board as Secretary / Treasurer until 2012.

Rebecca Bliss, PT, DPT

Rebecca Bliss, PT, DPT

Dr. Bliss graduated from Ithaca College Department of Physical Therapy with a combined undergraduate-graduate Master of Physical Therapy in 2001.  She completed her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Des Moines University in 2014 and is currently in dissertation phase of her Doctorate of Health Science (DHSc) from University of Indianapolis.

Dr. Bliss has been actively practicing in the field for 18 years with specialization in Adult Neurological Rehabilitation, recently receiving her NCS in 2016.   She holds her Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT) of the Adult Hemiplegic Certification from NDTA and Certificate of Vestibular Rehabilitation from the APTA along with Advanced Practice in Vestibular Rehabilitation and Comprehensive Concussion Management Certificate.   She specializes in treatment of individuals with Concussion, specifically vestibulo-ocular dysfunction and teaches continuing education courses regarding current management of these patients nationwide.  Dr. Bliss is also an Impact Trained Physical Therapist Certificate holder.

Dr. Bliss is an Assistant Professor in the Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program at Wingate University, predominately teaching content in neurological rehabilitation and serves as the Co-director of the Neurological Residency Program.   Her research interests include dysfunction of the vestibular ocular reflex following mild traumatic brain injury as well as early detection of impairments that lead to post-concussion syndrome.

Kyla Demers, B.Sc., CAT(C), DO

Kyla Demers, B.Sc., CAT(C), DO

Kyla graduated from Athletic Therapy and Osteopathy. She has worked with rugby, the National Circus school, at the Canada Games, at the Vancouver Olympic Games and is recognized by the National Sport Institute of Canada. Her current research aims to provide insight in the role of osteopathy in concussion care.

DeAnn Fitzgerald, O.D.

DeAnn Fitzgerald, O.D.

DeAnn Fitzgerald, O.D. is Vice President of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association. 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. In 2007, she opened a multi-disciplinary clinic, Cedar Rapids Vision in Motion, which provides low vision services and vision skills rehabilitation, with an emphasis on vestibular and visual skills. She recently launched her sports vision and concussion clinic, Active Evolution Studio.

She has helped facilitate over 17,000 baseline testings for concussion in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding communities and has lectured nationally about neuro-rehabilitation and concussion. She is CIC certified in ImPACT, which is a web-based product used in concussion management. 

Denise Helle, CPOC

Denise Helle, CPOC

Denise Helle, CPOC has over 20 years of billing and coding experience. She worked as a respiratory therapist for 15 years, and was trained as a biller/coder. She worked for 5 years at a rehabilitation billing company, worked for a major insurance company, and now works for Dr. DeAnn Fitzgerald managing vision and medical billing claims.

Dr. Paul Hrkal, ND

Dr. Paul Hrkal, ND

Dr. Paul Hrkal is a board certified Naturopathic doctor with a passion to apply innovative and evidence-based nutritional, biological and supplemental interventions to address underlying metabolic, endocrine and immunological dysfunctions. Dr. Hrkal has a special interest in neurological health, cancer, chronic pain and chronic infections. He is strong advocate of integrative medical education, frequently writing and lecturing to both healthcare practitioners and public audiences. Dr. Hrkal lectures extensively on the topic of integrative and natural approaches to concussions and brain injuries. He is a member of the scientific advisory board of Complete Concussion Management, an international leader in research based concussion management education and certification. He currently is the medical director for Advanced Orthomolecular Research, an innovative and leading Canadian natural health product company and maintains a clinical practice in the Toronto area at 2 integrative clinics.

Shannon McGuire, BHSc (PT)

Shannon McGuire, BHSc (PT)

Shannon McGuire, BHSc (PT) is an Advisory Member to the Board of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association. Shannon has been working as a physiotherapist since graduating from McMaster University in 1996 and has spent much of her career working in rehabilitation with clients with neurological injuries including acquired brain injury and spinal cord injury. She currently works at St. Joseph’s Health Care London –Parkwood Institute (London, Ontario) on the Outpatient Acquired Brain Injury Team. Shannon is also a Clinical Lecturer at University of Western Ontario’s School of Physical Therapy. She has lectured internationally, teaching health professionals about managing individuals with persistent symptoms after concussion.

Becky Moran, MSc (OT)

Becky Moran, MSc (OT)

Becky Moran has been working as an Occupational Therapist since 2006, and is currently working in the Acquired Brain Injury Outpatient Department of Parkwood Institute in London, Ontario.  Becky has OT experience in a variety of settings during her working career including: adult mental health, hand therapy, stroke rehabilitation, and brain injury; and is a recurrent guest lecturer at the Western University School of Occupational Therapy. She has developed clinical expertise in mild brain injury (mTBI)/concussion management. She has a passion for educating patients about pacing and planning activities in their day, and providing strategies for alternative ways to complete tasks to improve success.

Mo Mortazavi, M.D.

Mo Mortazavi, M.D.

Dr. Mortazavi received his medical degree from the University of California, Davis, where he also completed his pediatrics residency. He then earned a fellowship in pediatric sports medicine at Children’s Colorado in Denver. While there, he focused on musculoskeletal injuries, concussion care and pediatric fractures. Since then, Dr. Mortazavi has expanded his practice to include exercise prescriptions for athletes with chronic illness, sports nutrition and injury-prevention programs.

As an undergraduate student at UC Davis, Dr. Mortazavi played Division IAA football as a wide receiver for four years. He finished his senior football season while in medical school and was the only NCAA Division I athlete enrolled in medical school. While in medical school Dr. Mortazavi worked with teenage athletes with type 1 diabetes and researched the role of athletics in improving their health outcomes. Prior to graduating medical school in 2008, he played in the European Football League for two years as a player-coach, for teams in Austria and Italy.

During his pediatrics residency at UC Davis, Dr. Mortazavi returned to Italy to work as an assistant sports physician, treating his former teammates on the Bergamo Lions, fueling his interest in musculoskeletal ultrasound and ECG screening for prevention of sudden cardiac death in athletes. Dr. Mortazavi’s current research interests include injury prevention, concussion management and prevention of sudden cardiac death in athletes.

Raquel Munitz-Goldfeder, MS

Raquel Munitz-Goldfeder, MS

Michal Niedzielski, MPT, PRC

Michal Niedzielski, MPT, PRC

Michal Niedzielski, MPT, PRC graduated from Academy of Physical Education in Warsaw, Poland in 1992. The same year his pioneering ideas lead to opening Integrative Active Rehab Clinic for people with physical disabilities mostly confined to the wheelchairs in Warsaw, Poland. Since 1994 he resides with his family in NY state where in 1996 he founded private practice Horseheads Comprehensive Physical Therapy, P.C. He lectures and consults with a variety of health care providers in the U.S and Europe. Michal’s excellent reputation has led to his consulting with collegiate, high school, and professional athletes.

Since 1999, Michal has been involved with Postural Restoration Institute. He pursued the PRI path more deeply for years, becoming a Certified Practitioner in 2008, and a Workshops Instructor with PRI in Poland.

In 2002 Michal began studies of CranioSomatic Therapy under its creators and developers Dr. G. Dallas Hancock, DC, Ph.D. and Flo Barber-Hancock, LMT, Ph.D. As a result of intensive study and clinical cooperation within CranioSomatic Institute, in 2018 CranioSomatic Restoration, LLC was founded by Dr. Dallas Hancock, D.C., Ph.D., Flo Barber-Hancock, LMT, Ph.D. and Michal Niedzielski, MPT, PRC.

In 2017 – 2019 Michal started and was an editor of “Fizjoterapia Funkcjonalna” (Poland), rehab magazine describing integrative approach to human function.

William V. Padula, OD, SFNAP, FAAO, FNORA

William V. Padula, OD, SFNAP, FAAO, FNORA

Dr. Padula, who practices in Guilford, Conn., was the founding chairman of the Low Vision Section for the American Optometric Association and the founding president of NORA. Dr. Padula founded the first low vision clinic at the Zhongshan Eye Research Hospital in Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China, which was named in his honor. He lectures and consults internationally in China, India, Italy, Mexico, etc., with programs regarding children’s vision related to learning and development, and adult vision problems related to stroke, TBI and other physical challenges. Dr. Padula also has authored numerous publications including three books.

Charles

Charles "Chuck" Plishka, PT, DPT, NCS

Dr. Charles ‘Chuck’ Plishka, PT, DPT, NCS practices physical therapy as a Neurology Certified Specialist in Louisiana, USA. Through his company, Posture & Balance Concepts, he teaches continuing education courses for neurologic topics. He is the Secretary of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Vestibular Special Interest Group, and is the President of the International Vestibular Physical Therapy Group. As the author of the text, ‘A Clinician’s Guide to Balance and Dizziness – Evaluation and Dizziness’, he has shared his knowledge of vestibular therapy with all disciplines. Currently, he is a Fellowship candidate with the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association.

Tanya Polec, O.D., FCOVD

Tanya Polec, O.D., FCOVD

Tanya Polec, O.D., FCOVD is an Advisory Member to the Board of the  Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA).

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 received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arizona in Molecular and Cellular Biology, and then continued her education at the Southern College of Optometry, followed by the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, where she became a Fellow in 2005.

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.

Dr. Patrick Quaid, Optometrist, FCOVD, Ph.D.

Dr. Patrick Quaid, Optometrist, FCOVD, Ph.D.

Dr. Patrick Quaid is the founder and CEO of VUE3 Neuro-Visual Rehabilitation Network. Originally from Limerick, Ireland, after an undergraduate in Statistical Mathematics, Dr. Quaid obtained his Optometry Degree in the United Kingdom at the University of Bradford. Dr. Quaid subsequently obtained his PhD in Vision Science at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry & Vision Science, where he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor lecturing to final year residents and sitting on graduate student committees. Dr. Quaid has published in both optometric and medical journals on topics ranging from the effects of visual dysfunction on reading efficiency to the baseline incidence of eye teaming issues in athletes. He has also co-authored a landmark neurology book chapter (with the head of Neuro-Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Eric Singman MD PhD) on the specific topic of visual dysfunction in brain injury.  Dr. Quaid has delivered over 400 invited lectures worldwide to physicians, optometrists, educators and allied healthcare professionals on the topics of visual dysfunction in concussion and in also visual issues in reading based learning difficulties. He is a proponent of collaborative interdisciplinary care, being a founding member of the I-CARE initiative / group in Canada (Interdisciplinary Concussion And Rehabilitation Excellence group) which aims to standardize the training of all registered healthcare professionals in terms of proper diagnosis and triage of traumatic brain injury patients.

Ashley Reddell, OD, FCOVD

Ashley Reddell, OD, FCOVD

Dr. Ashley S. Reddell graduated optometry school from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN in 2009.  Upon graduating she stayed in Memphis to complete a residency in pediatrics and vision rehabilitation.  She found a permanent home in Leavenworth, Kansas where she co-owns Family EyeCare Center and the MVP: Movement, Vision, Performance Center.  She was Young OD of the Year for the Kansas Optometric Association in 2015 and a member of the American Optometric Association’s Sports Vision and Vision Rehab Sections, Optometric Extension Program Foundation, and Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association.  She is a member and fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.  She has authored an optometry textbook chapter regarding management of the special needs population.  Dr. Ashley works with clinics across the Kansas City metro as part of multiple post-concussion multi-disciplinary teams and co-managing with PTs, OTs, SLPs, Sports Medicine, Audiology, and Neurology.

Matthew Roe, OD, FAAO

Matthew Roe, OD, FAAO

Matthew Roe, OD, FAAO is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Vision Therapy at Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry. He is the developer and Course Director of the college’s Sports Vision elective, and serves as Course Director for the Pediatric Optometry course and the Diagnosis and Management of Non-Strabismus Binocular Disorders course.  He precepts third- and fourth-year students in Primary Care, Pediatrics, Vision Therapy, Acquired and Traumatic Brain Injuries, and Sports Vision clinics, and is an assistant lab instructor in the methods and procedures curriculum.

Dr. Roe has been involved with evaluating and managing athletes of all skill levels. He has taken part in Major League Baseball’s East Coast Pro Showcase, which consisted of working up the visual systems of over 100 high school athletes selected by the league’s scouts. He has worked with Dr. Daniel Laby, MD, and Dr. David Kirschen, OD in evaluating athletes in the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indian franchises, and has also evaluated the Los Angeles Angels’ minor league teams with Dr. Adam Blacker, OD of Midwestern University.  In addition to his work with Major League Baseball, he has worked with local high school athletes in baseball, softball, hockey, and soccer.

Dr. Roe’s current research explores the role of stroboscopic technology in improving an athlete’s visual skills, as well as determining threshold levels that correlate with on-field performance. He is a graduate of SUNY College of Optometry where he also completed the Dr. Irwin B. Suchoff Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation residency.

Cathy Stern OD, FCSO, FCOVD, FNORA

Cathy Stern OD, FCSO, FCOVD, FNORA

Dr. Stern is a developmental and behavioral optometrist with specialized training in learning-related vision problems, vision rehabilitation, computer vision syndrome and sports vision training. She maintains a private practice in Canton, MA, limited to the diagnosis of developmental and behavioral vision problems and treatment of children and adults with vision therapy and vision rehabilitation.

Vincent R. Vicci, Jr. OD, D.P.N.A.P., F.N.O.R.A

Vincent R. Vicci, Jr. OD, D.P.N.A.P., F.N.O.R.A

Dr. Vicci  is a graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and is in private practice in Westfield, N.J. He is a cofounder of the vision clinic at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and on staff at a number of hospitals and rehabilitation centers for patients with stroke, concussion and other traumatic brain injuries. He is a cofounder of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association. Dr. Vicci is an annual guest lecturer for Seton Hall University Graduate Medical Education (1999-present) and Kean University Graduate Program in Occupational Therapy (2010 – present). Dr. Vicci has been accepted as an expert in the field of Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation in all northern New Jersey county courts as well as out of state appointments.

Larry B. Wallace. O.D. Ph.D.

Larry B. Wallace. O.D. Ph.D.

Larry B. Wallace. O.D. Ph.D. is a behavioral optometrist who has practiced for over 40 years in Ithaca, NY. He is past President and current education director for the College of Syntonic Optometry, an organization dedicated to education and research in the field of light and color therapy. He is a certified low vision specialist in New York, and has worked extensively throughout the state in the field of vision rehabilitation for head trauma and brain injury.

Dr. Wallace is past President of the International Light Association, He invented and patented the first micro-current device in the USA to treat macular degeneration and retinal disease. He has published numerous articles, research, and lectured around the world on vision therapy and neuro-rehabilitation.

Information on published articles and presentations can be seen on www.doctorcolor.com. Video of past lectures and be accessed on www.international-light-association.org.

Susan Wenberg, M.A., D.C.

Susan Wenberg, M.A., D.C.

Dr. Wenberg, a chiropractic physician, has been a NORA member for over 20 years. She has served on the NORA board as a member, speaker chair, and education committee co-chair. 

Dr. Wenberg maintained a chiropractic practice in Tucson Arizona for over 20 years.  In 2012 she closed her private practice to join the Veterans Administration.  She now provides chiropractic and acupuncture to veterans in the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System.

Dr. Wenberg holds a masters degree in biology and a doctorate in chiropractic. She is certified in acupuncture and sports injury management, and is board eligible for both the Chiropractic Rehabilitation Diplomate and the Chiropractic Neurology Diplomate.  Dr. Wenberg is certified as a Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) Practitioner.  This training has provided her with the skill set to work with chronic pain patients and patients with neurological compromise. She has published on traumatic brain injury and interdisciplinary collaboration. 

Deborah Zelinsky, OD, FNORA, FCOVD

Deborah Zelinsky, OD, FNORA, FCOVD

Deborah Zelinsky, OD, FNORA, FCOVD is an active member of the World Brain Mapping Foundation and a community leader for the Society for Neuroscience. She also is a member of the American Optometric Association, Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. The past thirty years of her optometric career has been spent developing methods for assessment of brain function with emphasis on the often untested linkage between eyes and ears. The 21st century has technological advancements that encourage people to use peripheral eyesight differently than in the 19th century, when the concept of 20/20 measurements to standardize central eyesight was introduced. Dr. Zelinsky is currently spearheading a campaign to “Leave 20/20 in the 20th Century”, because it is no longer sufficient in lens prescribing. Her patented research in novel usages of retinal stimulation has been described in publications and courses worldwide. Currently, she is Director of Research at the newly formed Mind-Eye Institute.