According to the Eye & Ear Foundation CEO Lawton Snyder, the New Horizons for Care Campaign responds to the community’s needs to address the increasing number of people affected by age-related conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and hearing loss. As the two academic research Departments are growing, “We saw an opportunity for Pittsburgh to be a world leader in finding new ways to advance care, first in our backyard, and ultimately the rest of the world. By raising and distributing philanthropic dollars to the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, the Foundation encourages individuals, foundations, and businesses to support enhancing and advancing care for people with diseases and disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head, and neck,” says Snyder. The Foundation intends to complete its Campaign by the end of 2023.
Ophthalmology’s goals, A New Vision for Pittsburgh and Beyond, were inspired by the arrival of Department Chairman José-Alain Sahel, MD, to Pittsburgh in 2016. Vision degeneration affects nearly everyone in one form or another as they age, and the number of individuals with visual impairments is expected to triple by 2050. His teams work on nearly every aspect of blindness, from common conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration to regenerative therapies and engineering artificial retinas and the hardware and software that feeds them information.
Attraction and Retention of Prominent Faculty and Junior Faculty
We have the recognition and attractive environment to recruit top faculty worldwide at both the senior and junior levels. There is a need to establish chairs for the senior faculty that would attract such talent. Additionally, there are incredibly talented faculty already within the Department that need chairs to secure their position and commitment.
Translational Medicine in Major Public Health Issues
The Department of Ophthalmology wants to develop a more robust program in the diseases that pose the most significant public health risk of blindness, specifically: diabetic retinopathy, myopia, retinal degenerations, and glaucoma. Not only will this address the greatest needs for individuals nationwide, but it will enhance Dr. Sahel’s focus on patients, particularly the underserved. We would need to attract two translational scientists who could work in clinical and retina research and another translational scientist in glaucoma care and research.
Gift from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation Advances Vision Research
The Eye & Ear Foundation received a very generous and transformative $20 Million gift from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation to fund vision care research and development. The Eye & Ear Foundation has now reached its halfway point in its campaign to support vision restoration breakthroughs, advance technologies and therapies addressing vision loss, lower barriers to healthcare for all Pittsburghers, and fuel the growth of the city’s burgeoning biotech sector.