Schnitzer/ Novack Foundation Donates $2 Million to Portland's Two Nationally Known Eye Care Institutes

02/11/08  Portland, OR

In an act of generosity that will have significant long-term benefit for the eye health of Oregonians, the Schnitzer/Novack Foundation has pledged a total of $2 million to the area's two leading institutions in ophthalmologic care, research and education.

In an act of generosity that will have significant long-term benefit for the eye health of Oregonians, the Schnitzer/Novack Foundation has pledged a total of $2 million to the area's two leading institutions in ophthalmologic care, research and education.

Both Oregon Health & Science University and Legacy Health System received pledges of $1 million each to enhance eye care and vision research.  The pledge to Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital's Devers Eye Institute will endow the newly established Thelma and Gilbert Schnitzer Comprehensive Glaucoma Center, while the pledge to the Casey Eye Institute, OHSU's Department of Ophthalmology, will establish the Thelma and Gilbert Schnitzer Professorship for Ophthalmic Research.

The Casey Eye Institute and Devers Eye Institute each provide routine and advanced clinical care, offer educational programs for eye specialists, and conduct research into the causes of and potential cures for eye disease.  In recent years, Devers and Casey have worked collaboratively to provide the region with state of the art eye care aimed at preventing blindness through research, bringing advanced technology to the Pacific Northwest, and promoting continuing education of physicians.  Through this collaboration, the Institutes have sought to eliminate duplication of resources and have worked closely to provide the region with the best possible vision research and clinical care.

"People throughout the Pacific Northwest will benefit from the Schnitzer/Novack Foundation's generous gifts, which will help ensure that Portland remains the region's premier center of total eye health and science," said Casey Eye Institute Director David Wilson, M.D. "By endowing an OHSU professorship at Casey Eye Institute, the donors are supporting advanced research that will lead to new cures and treatments while supporting the education of future eye specialists."

George A. (Jack) Cioffi, M.D., chairman of ophthalmology at the Devers Eye Institute and Chief Medical Officer at Legacy, lauded the donors' broad-based support of ophthalmology. "The generosity of the Schnitzer/Novak Foundation will help establish Devers Eye Institute as one of the most comprehensive glaucoma research facilities in the country.  By supporting Portland's two outstanding eye institutes, these donors are making world-class care more accessible to more people."

About the Thelma and Gilbert Schnitzer Professorship at Casey Eye Institute

The gift to OHSU will establish an endowment fund that, upon maturity, will support a full-time faculty member in the OHSU School of Medicine's Department of Ophthalmology and Casey Eye Institute. The professorship has been awarded to Justine Smith, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., a physician-researcher who specializes in inflammatory diseases of the eye. Her current research focus is on new treatments for immune-mediated eye diseases, intraocular lymphoma and toxoplasmosis. The professorship is named for Schnitzer/Novack Foundation trustees and major OHSU supporters Gilbert and Thelma Schnitzer.

About the Thelma and Gilbert Schnitzer Comprehensive Glaucoma Center at Devers Eye Institute

The foundation's gift to Legacy Good Samaritan Foundation and the Devers Eye Institute will support the establishment of a comprehensive glaucoma center where glaucoma clinical care and research will be united, and will name the Thelma and Gilbert Schnitzer Comprehensive Glaucoma Center.  Over the past two decades, Devers Eye Institute has established a diverse group of glaucoma scientists and clinicians who work in many areas, including vascular disease, biomechanical engineering, epidemiology, and cutting edge glaucoma clinical care. This group of physicians and scientists will work together at Schnitzer Comprehensive Glaucoma Center to accelerate research discoveries and translate these findings into novel therapies for patients in need.