Dr. Haffner served as ABCMO Trustee for Public Health 2009-2016. After his death in 2016 Dr. Haffner was honored by being elected Director Emeritus.
Dr. Haffner received the B.A. degree from Brooklyn College and his O.D. degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. After service in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps, he attended the Graduate School of Public Health Administration of New York University from which he was awarded the M.P.A. and Ph.D. degrees.
He founded and then served as Executive Director of the Optometric Center of New York, located in New York City, from 1957 to 1971 prior to being appointed founding President of the State College of Optometry, State University of New York (SUNY) located in Manhattan, where he served from 1971 to 1978 and was then appointed in 1978 to serve in Albany, N.Y. as Vice Chancellor for Research, Graduate Studies and Professional Programs of the SUNY system of universities. In 1988 he resumed his position of President at the State College of Optometry until his retirement a few years ago.
Dr. Haffner was the author of over 250 published scientific papers, editorials and articles and held appointment as a member of the Special Medical Advisory Group to the Under Secretary of Health Affairs at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C., from 1987 through 2012. Earlier in his distinguished career he played a key role in organizing and participating in the famous “LaGuardia Meeting” that led to greatly expanded medical and diagnostic training at schools and colleges of optometry and the subsequent modernization of state optometry licensing laws that continues to this day.
He was a longtime Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, member of the American Optometric Association, and served in leadership positions at both these organizations and as president of the national Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry.
Dr. Haffner lived in Manhattan and sat on the boards of numerous charitable organizations and was a notable patron of the arts. A recipient of numerous awards and citations, he was a strong advocate for the integration of optometry training and practice in medical education and treatment centers and was an advocate of effective and equitable health policy.