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October 20, 2017

UAB School of Medicine honors the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama

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eyesight foundation awardFrom left: Selwyn Vickers, M.D., John Coleman, Torrey DeKeyser and UAB President Ray Watts, M.D.The EyeSight Foundation of Alabama was recently honored by the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine in recognition of its significant philanthropic commitment to UAB during the past 20 years.

Over that time, ESFA has graciously donated more than $60 million in philanthropic support to a variety of areas including research, education and patient care for the UAB Department of Ophthalmology, UAB Callahan Eye Hospital, the UAB School of Medicine and the UAB School of Optometry.

Speakers included UAB President Ray L. Watts, M.D., and Selwyn Vickers, M.D., senior vice president and dean of the UAB School of Medicine. Watts and Vickers honored ESFA with the Partnership Recognition Award, commemorating 20 years of support for both UAB and UAB Callahan Eye Hospital. Accepting the award on behalf of ESFA was Torrey DeKeyser, ESFA executive director, and John Coleman, ESFA chair.

During the event, two received an ESFA Visionary Award. Awards were given to James “Jim” Davis, the first Board chair of what was then the Alabama Eye Institute and is now ESFA, as well as to Clarence Blair, who was chair when the hospital was sold to UAB in 1997.

“The EyeSight Foundation of Alabama is a longstanding partner that is critical to UAB’s success,” said EyeSight Foundation of Alabama Chair of UAB Callahan Eye Hospital Chris Girkin, M.D. “Their most recent investment to the Department of Ophthalmology — the Vision of Excellence Initiative — has generated a more than fivefold increase in NIH funding over the past five years, with an increase from $1.5 million to over $8.5 million in annual grant revenue.

“This growth has placed the Department of Ophthalmology in the top tiers of national federal funding, has ensured the renewal and the expansion of the campuswide P30 grant, and most importantly, has allowed us to develop a highly collaborative team of scientists and clinicians that will transform the cures of tomorrow into a reality.”

The ESFA was founded in 1997 after the sale of the Callahan Eye Hospital to UAB, and has a mission of awarding grants to nonprofits conducting vision research, education and/or patient care. UAB Callahan Eye Hospital is one of only two Level 1 Ocular Trauma Centers in the United States with a 24/7 eye emergency department.