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Certification opened many doors for me
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6/27/2019 at 3:24:07 PM GMT
Posts: 854
Certification opened many doors for me

In 1987, I had been working with Bill Nyberg for almost ten years and finally realized it was unlikely I would have a successful career as the next Ansel Adams doing fine art landscape photography (I was doing that on the side). So it was time to look at this ophthalmic thing as an actual career, become an OPS member, and get certified. I sat for the CRA exam and met a number of the bigwigs in the field who were conducting the exam at Wills in Philly: Don Wong, Csaba Martonyi, Ken Timby, Ron Harper, Earl Choromokos and Terry Tomer.  At my exit interview & portfolio review, Terry didn’t seem all that impressed with me as the kid from the competing institution across town. But I passed!

A couple years later, armed with my CRA, I landed a job at another academic institution in Philly. I was a one-man show doing all aspects of ophthalmic imaging when the OPS announced the new Certified Ophthalmic Photographer & Retinal Angiographer (COPRA) certification. It looked interesting, especially since I performed almost all of those tasks on a daily basis. I studied hard and sat for the first exam offered in 1990. The technical aspects were right in my areas of expertise, but the high level anatomy, physiology, and pathology were intense! Good thing those were the areas I concentrated my study on. There was an oral portion of the exam conducted by Terry and Earl that was intimidating. They didn’t have very good poker faces and when I knew from their expressions that I got the first answer correct, I relaxed and managed to pass that section as well.

Suddenly I was no longer the smart a$$ kid from across town and I gained the respect of the old timers. I was invited to participate on several committees and become more actively involved in the OPS. Sadly the COPRA certification was eventually dropped to protect the accreditation of the CRA, but I was proud of achieving it and thankful for the many doors that certification and OPS membership have opened for me. Terry and I became good friends and I still poke fun at him for being such a curmudgeon when we first met!


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6/27/2019 at 4:55:21 PM GMT
Posts: 1615
I love reading these memories and seeing the pictures of 'the early years'.

Barb McCalley

Barb McCalley
OPS Executive Director


7/1/2019 at 5:07:04 AM GMT
Posts: 714
All of you COPRAS are unique in the history of our Society and Profession! I remember that Jamie submitted a video tape of a gonio exam accompanied by "Been So Long" by Hot Tuna! Go, Jorma Kaukonen!

How many COPRAS were there and who were they?


7/11/2019 at 6:09:09 PM GMT
Posts: 854
Off the top of my head I believe the COPRAs were. My apologies if I got any of these wrong:

Jamie Nicholl
Denise Cunningham
Csaba Martonyi
Ken Christopherson
Bruce Busse
Tim Bennett
Terry Tomer
Earl Choromokos


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