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Donor spotlight highlights contributions of Mallinger, Vision West

January 22, 2012

Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation is beginning a series of Donor Spotlight articles in the AOA News. The focus of the Donor Spotlights will be to highlight donors who are committed to the foundation and its mission. 

Joseph Mallinger, O.D., and Vision West, Inc., have been, and continue to be, amazing supporters of the foundation. As such, we thought it only appropriate to highlight them in the very first Donor Spotlight piece. 

Dr. Mallinger is a private-practice optometrist-turned president and chief executive officer of Vision West, Inc. Vision West is an optical buying group and practice management resource company focused on independent practitioners.

Dr. Mallinger first began his career in optometry working for Gerald Easton, O.D., who soon after became an AOA president.  Dr. Mallinger later established a partnership in Escondido, Calif., and then became a solo practitioner in Carlsbad, Calif., the same year he was elected president of the San Diego County Optometric Society. 

“My volunteer time as a member of the California Optometric Association Board of Trustees and ultimately serving as the president of the California Optometric Association was an extremely rewarding time for me personally and professionally,” said Dr. Mallinger. “I was fortunate enough to be involved in the introduction and passage of the first therapeutic law in California. The diagnostic law passed many years before the first law enabling California optometrists to TREAT eye diseases. Seeing the first law—in a series of law changes to follow—recognizing the extensive training of optometrists in California is one of the best memories I carry away from my volunteer role in the California Board of Trustees.”

After practicing solo for 15 years, Dr. Mallinger joined with a corneal surgeon and spent 10 years working with the medical aspects of professional eye care. 

“The aspect of patient care was, and will always be, the best part of the profession of optometry,” said Dr. Mallinger. “Seeing entire families and being able to share in the wonderful times they have outside of the issue of eye care was extremely rewarding. Helping patients with significant ocular emergencies, post-operative care, and the diagnosing and treating of ocular diseases was the aspect of optometry that held my interest through the years. My association with the corneal surgeon provided me with a full-scope look at eye care in a time when the California therapeutic laws were changing.”

Following numerous spinal surgeries, Dr. Mallinger retired from private practice in 1996 and was hired as a business development consultant for Vision West. Dr. Mallinger has served in his current position with the company since 2002.

All of Dr. Mallinger’s past experiences lead him to give back to optometry through his support of the AOA Foundation.

“My volunteer time on the San Diego County Optometric Society Board of Directors, my time on the California Optometric Association Board of Trustees, my time on the Public Vision League, and now beginning my time on the Board of Trustees of the Southern California College of Optometry provides me with the great feeling that I have contributed to the profession that enabled our four children to attend college and graduate schools – preparing them to face their careers with a positive feeling about their abilities,” he said.

Dr. Mallinger and his wife Patricia have four children, Jennifer C. Mallinger McCormick, O.D., Joseph P. Mallinger, J’lene Mallinger Cave, and John C. Mallinger, who is a PGA tour professional.

“Without optometry in my life, I have no idea where such an outcome could have evolved,” Dr. Mallinger said. “Personal growth through giving back through volunteerism and the professional growth associated with keeping current as the new instrumentation evolved affords me the feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself!”

You can help support Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation as well. Visit www.aoafoundation.org for more information. Donations may be mailed to Optometry Cares at 243 N. Lindbergh Blvd., First Floor, St. Louis, MO 63141.

Part 2 of the donor profile on Dr. Mallinger will appear in the next issue of AOA News.

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