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University Hospitals receives $5 million gift for Eye Institute

CLEVELAND The Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Foundation again has demonstrated its commitment to University Hospitals (UH) with a $5 million gift for the Eye Institute. The gift will honor the late Benjamin L. Millikin, MD, husband of Julia Severance and the grandfather of Prentiss Foundation trustee Elisabeth Alexander.

Dr. Millikin was Cleveland's first formally trained ophthalmologist and in 1893 helped found what is known today as the UH Eye Institute. Also, from 1900 to 1912, Dr. Millikin was the dean of the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University.

UH has received more than $50 million from the Prentiss Foundation, making it the largest private foundation donor in the hospital's history.

"The Prentiss Foundation has had an unparalleled impact on University Hospitals, helping our health system grow into a national leader," said Fred C. Rothstein, MD, President of UH Case Medical Center. "We are truly grateful for this latest gift that will help us enhance our ophthalmology services to better serve our patients, and for the Prentiss Foundation's abiding commitment to UH. Its legacy of support for this institution is a testament to their dedication to the health and wellbeing of Clevelanders and the economic health of our region."

The gift will support a variety of programs in the UH Eye Institute, with a focus on the Center for Retina and Macular Disease, a nationally recognized leader in the comprehensive care of patients with diseases affecting the retina (the back of the eye). Under the direction of Dr. Suber S. Huang, this specialty area offers consultation and surgical treatment for a variety of conditions that jeopardize healthy sight.

"Dr. Huang is an inspiring and accomplished leader," said Jonathan H. Lass, MD, Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at UH Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Director of the UH Eye Institute.

Dr. Huang is President of the American Society of Retina Specialists, the largest organization of its kind in the world, Chairman of the American Retina Foundation, and holds an advisory board position to the National Eye Institute (NEI). He is the Philip F. and Elizabeth G. Searle Suber Huang, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology, Vice-Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Director of Clinical Research, Director of the Center for Retina and Macular Disease, and founded the Retinal Diseases Image Analysis Reading Center (REDIARC), one of the country's most active centers of its kind.

Pushing the boundaries of vision research by attacking the eye diseases that affect the greatest number of people, the Center for Retina and Macular Disease has the potential to impact millions of people through its clinical research in diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. The retina and macular disease team seeks to map new directions in patient care with innovation and discovery.

"This $5 million gift from The Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Foundation will be a catalyst to accelerate UH's plan to further expand our Eye Institute, a signature destination for comprehensive vision services and treatment in complex eye diseases," said Dr. Lass. "The gift will help launch our first phase which is to ensure advanced diagnostic and treatment facilities across the health system."

In April, UH will open renovated and expanded adult eye services at UH Landerbrook Health Center in Mayfield Heights, the flagship of the UH Eye Institute. The Prentiss Foundation gift will support future enhancements of facilities and equipment throughout the UH system.

Dating back to 1953, the Prentiss Foundation has supported University Hospitals in myriad initiatives, including a $10 million gift in 2006 to UH's Vision 2010 strategic plan. In recognition of that donation, UH named the Quentin & Elisabeth Alexander Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital.

"We are truly grateful for the Foundation's support of University Hospitals' efforts to advance the comprehensive treatment, care and cure of eye disease in light of an increase in occurrences of vision disorders and diseases in the area's aging population," said Dr. Huang.


Contact: George Stamatis
University Hospitals Case Medical Center

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