Research to Prevent Blindness

RPB Convenes Vision Research Funders to Explore Potential for Collaborative Initiatives

group shot

Front row, left to right: James Jorkasky, Executive Director/National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, Emily Holubowich, Senior Vice President /CRD Associates, Susan Olivo, Executive Director/Reader's Digest Partners for Sight Foundation, Dawn Prall George, Executive Director/Macula Vision Research Foundation, Stacy Pagos Haller, President and CEO/BrightFocus Foundation, Alan R. Morse, President & CEO/Lighthouse Guild, Elaine Richman, Founder and President/Richman Associates, Brian F. Hofland, President/Research to Prevent Blindness, Torrey V.A. DeKeyser, Executive Director/EyeSight Foundation of Alabama, Helen D. Nickerson, Director/Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Paul P. Lee, Board Chair/ARVO Foundation, Jinan B. Saaddine, Team lead/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,, Sandra Blackwood, Executive Director/International Retina Research Foundation, Stephanie Lederman, Executive Director/American Federation for Aging Research.


Back row, left to right: Matthew Levine, Director of Communications & Marketing/RPB, Tom Brunner, President and CEO/Glaucoma Research Foundation, Phillip Albano, Manager, Sight Partnerships/Lions Clubs International Foundation, Paul A. Seiving, Director/National Eye Institute, Michael C. Crair, Board member and Chair/E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation for the Blind, Kevin D. Frick, Professor and Vice Dean for Education/The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Brian Mansfield, Deputy Chief Research Officer/Foundation Fighting Blindness, Matthew McMahon, Director of the Center for Translational Research/NEI, Arthur Makar, Executive Director/Fight for Sight, Jeff Todd, COO/Prevent Blindness; not shown, Don Gagliano, Principal/Global Medical Innovation.

Research to Prevent Blindness hosted a convening of nearly two dozen organizations committed to the advancement of eye research, on September 17, 2014, in Washington, DC, to discuss vision research funding and a role for funder collaboration in preventing, treating, and curing vision disorders. The historic meeting was an important first step toward collaborations.

Taking into account organizations' unique priorities, the participants acknowledged that a collective effort based on shared interests could impact vision research and outcomes for patients. Consensus began to build in several areas, including:

  • advancing the public health agenda, to address vision problems of the aging US population;
  • encouraging funder partnerships (private/private; public/private), to leverage resources and enable research that no single funder could undertake alone;
  • coordinating information, for the benefit of vision research funders and fundees;
  • coordinating and supporting advocacy, to raise the profile of vision research, increase federal funding for eye research, and drive education of policymakers and the public (federal funding is a far greater resource than all private funding taken en masse); and
  • supporting interdisciplinary research from within and outside vision research, to promote and accelerate innovation.

The convening ended with an expressed interest in exploring collaborative potential. The group committed to envisioning a set of actionable steps for discussion at a 2015 follow‐on meeting to coincide with advocacy events in Washington, DC.


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