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A Closer Look: Frank LaRussa, O.D. - Professional Affairs Consultant

Doctor of the Year

Frank LaRussa, O.D. Dr. Frank LaRussa graduated from the UAB School of Optometry sigma cum laude in 1988. He received many honors, including the Dean’s Award. From 1991-1996 he practiced at Norwood Clinic under internationally renowned ophthalmologist Marc Michelson, M.D. At Norwood Clinic he was involved in the Summit Technology FDA investigation of the Excimer Laser. Dr. LaRussa performed pre-op and post-operative care on patients enrolled in the FDA investigation. He also developed the first co-management course for Excimer Laser presented in Alabama. Dr. LaRussa was named to Summit’s Speaker Bureau and was a speaker for the Summit Optometric Affiliate Education Course.

He was also named to the TLC (The Laser Center) Advisory Board. Dr. LaRussa, along with Jeff Machat, M.D., Dave Talley O.D., Dennis Kennedy O.D. and Jimmy Jackson O.D. developed and presented the TLC co-management course, Excimer Laser Technologies. This unique 3-day certification course, which included live laser procedures, became the standard throughout North America. Leading optometrists and ophthalmologists throughout the United States convened to Windsor, Canada each month to participate in this breakthrough course.

In 1996, Dr. LaRussa became National Optometric Director for VisionAmerica, a wholly owned subsidiary of Omega Health Systems. He developed VisionAmerica’s Co-management Certification Course and presented this course throughout the nation. In 1997, he was named President of VisionAmerica Laser Centers. During this tumultuous time at Omega, he helped redirect the company’s laser program into a profitable business with limited financial risk. Under his leadership, the company formed relationships with all the major refractive players. Dr. LaRussa also served as a part-time Clinical Instructor at the UAB School of Optometry from 1991-1998.

In March of 1998, Dr. LaRussa resigned from his position at Vision America to go back into general optometric practice inside Wal-Mart Vision Center # 1481 in Homewood, Alabama. Within 1 year, he was named one of Wal-Mart Vision Centers MVPs (Most Valuable Partners). He became an active speaker at Wal-Mart Vision Center meetings and an avid Doctor recruiter. In January of 2005, Dr. LaRussa and Dr. Kevin Neal founded ALOWAL (Alabama Optometrists at Wal-Mart), one of the nation’s first doctor-organized Wal-Mart Optometry Associations. Dr. LaRussa has served on the Wal-Mart Doctors Panel and was named Wal-Mart’s 2006 Doctor of the Year. In May 2005, Dr. LaRussa teamed with Price Kloess, M.D. to form the Corporate Referral Network (CRN), a co-management network of over 50 network Doctor members, which is specifically designed for corporate practicing optometrists. Dr. LaRussa currently serves as the CRN Optometric Director. His duties include strategic planning, education of member Doctors and presiding over the CRN Advisory Board.

Dr. LaRussa has lectured throughout North America on a variety of eye care topics. He has worked as a consultant or educator for numerous companies including TLC, Summit Technology, Clear Vision, Lasik Vision of Canada, VISTAKON Ò, and Wal-Mart Vision Centers. He has also published numerous articles and is co-author of the book Differential Diagnoses in Primary Eye Care.

On the personal side of life, Dr. LaRussa and his wife Christine are busy raising five children: Gabriella, Emily, Frankie, Anna Rose and Christopher.