MIAMI, March 2, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lois Pope, who is one of the nation's leading philanthropists and whose mother went blind after suffering from macular degeneration, is donating $12 million to the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to establish a home for collaborative, cutting-edge macular degeneration and retinal diseases research and to create a clinical research endowment. The gift from Mrs. Pope is the largest single donation that Bascom Palmer, the nation's top-ranked ophthalmology program, has received in its 56-year history. To honor her generosity, Bascom Palmer will establish the Lois Pope Center for Retinal & Macular Degeneration Research located on the Institute's Palm Beach Gardens campus.
"We are incredibly grateful to Lois Pope for her extraordinary gift," said Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., the Kathleen and Stanley J. Glaser Chair in Ophthalmology and Director of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. "Researchers and clinicians at Bascom Palmer have a legacy of leadership in the global fight against retinal diseases. Mrs. Pope's generosity will allow that tradition to continue and usher in an unprecedented era of scientific discovery in our mission to end macular degeneration and other blinding conditions."
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss among people age 60 and older. It causes damage to the macula, the center of the retina and the part of the eye that is responsible for central vison, which lets people read, drive and recognize faces. The Lois Pope research center will serve as the premier hub of national and international clinical care and research studies as well as collaborations to identify new treatments and therapies for AMD and other retinal conditions, including diabetic retinopathy and inherited retinal diseases.
"This gift builds upon Mrs. Pope's long history of generosity to the University of Miami and the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine," said Julio Frenk, president of the University of Miami. "Her on-going philanthropy is remarkable and will continue to have a major impact on the development of pioneering treatments and cures for patients, not just in our community, but worldwide. We cannot thank her enough for her vision and dedication."
A long-time supporter of Bascom Palmer and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Mrs. Pope was the driving force behind the establishment of the Lois Pope LIFE Center at the Miller School, the world's foremost center for research, treatment, and services for paralysis and other neurological diseases. It is home to the renowned Miami Project/Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis.
"My mother, Anastasia Berrodin, suffered from macular degeneration until her death in 1996. Everyone at Bascom Palmer was so wonderful to her during the many years she received treatment. They even gave us all kinds of apparatus to try at home," said Mrs. Pope, a resident of Manalapan, Florida, who is also one of the nation's foremost advocates and supporters of disabled veterans. "I will never forget their compassion, kindness and support. So, I am proud to give this gift in her memory with the hope of finding a cure for this dreadful disease."
"Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is one of the crown jewels of the Miller School of Medicine and UHealth – the University of Miami Health System," said Edward Abraham, M.D., executive vice president for health affairs, CEO of UHealth, and dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School of Medicine. "The Institute's collaborative approach capitalizes on the groundbreaking discoveries of the best ophthalmic experts in the world. The Lois Pope research center will be able to build on that expertise to develop leading-edge, targeted treatments for patients with retinal disease and macular degeneration for generations to come."
The Lois Pope research center will be the third building at Bascom Palmer's 7.4-acre campus at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. The campus, devoted exclusively to comprehensive eye care, is anchored by a 40,000-square-foot medical office building made possible with the generous support of Milton and Tamar Maltz. Adjacent to the Maltz Center is the Frankino Pavilion, a 10,000-square-foot ambulatory surgical center, built with support from Connie and Sam Frankino. The 21,000-square-foot Lois Pope research center will be equipped with the latest research, diagnostic and imaging technology, and educational facilities.
About Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is ranked the nation's best in ophthalmology by U.S. News & World Report, an honor it has received for 14 consecutive years. In addition to its international reputation, Bascom Palmer is the largest ophthalmic care, research and educational facility in the southeastern United States. Each year, more than 280,000 patients are treated with nearlyevery ophthalmic condition, and more than 18,000 surgeries are performed. With five patient care facilities in Florida (Miami, Palm Beach Gardens, Naples, Plantation and Coral Gables at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center), the Institute serves as the Department of Ophthalmology for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, part of UHealth—the University of Miami Health System. For more information, visit www.bascompalmer.org.
SOURCE Bascom Palmer Eye Institute