Sunday, December 17, 2017

OCMA Blog

OCMA Specialty Spotlight: The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute

The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at the University of California, Irvine, refers to both an academic specialty eye care practice and research group already in existence and to a high-technology patient care facility under construction on the UC Irvine main campus on Bison, just off the 73. 

The institute itself comprises 17 full-time clinician faculty, covering all subspecialties, with offices at both UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange and at Gottschalk Medical Plaza on the Irvine campus; 9 basic science faculty researchers located at the UC Irvine School of Medicine in Irvine; 9 residents and 9 post-residency subspecialty fellows; plus volunteer faculty and post-doctoral researchers. The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute provides the only full-service academic specialty care between San Diego and Los Angeles, with a full range of advanced diagnostic imaging and surgical specialty technologies.

The new clinical building on the UC Irvine campus will fulfill a vision that Gavin Herbert has worked for over 30 years to accomplish. The founder of Allergan, Mr. Herbert first recruited the internationally eminent Irving Leopold, MD, from New York to be the first chair of the ophthalmology department in the newly created UC Irvine School of Medicine. Now, Mr. Herbert has led the drive to raise the philanthropy for an outstanding   facility to deliver world-class patient care and simultaneously be the fulcrum for translational research that brings basic research into innovative new therapy. The project is funded 100% through philanthropy, with no state or university dollars. Currently $29.5M has been raised toward the total opening cost of $37M.

Roger F. Steinert, MD, was recruited from Harvard 8 years ago with the allure of the opportunity of helping to achieve this project. For Dr. Steinert, a Massachusetts native, a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College and an Alpha Omega Alpha graduate of Harvard Medical School, and a faculty member of Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, the potential of the eye institute project and the draw of Orange County nevertheless was irresistible.

"I had frequently visited Orange County over several decades as part of my research in lasers and cataract   surgery," commented Dr. Steinert. "The potential for world-class innovation in prevention and treatment of blinding disorders is clear. Orange County has the highest concentration of eye technology industry in the world. When you combine that with a highly supportive community and a world-class university, the ability to make a difference is clear."

"Our vision is to provide leading eye care to Orange County, right here, right now, while also, by collaboration with the Orange County community and the university, be a global leader in developing the new technology of tomorrow. Simultaneously, we will support our profession with accessible continuing medical education and train the leaders of the next generation."

The new building just celebrated the traditional "Topping Out" event, recognizing the completion of the    highest level of the building. Full occupancy and patient care is scheduled for Summer 2013. The new building comprises 70,000 square feet, and includes patient care offices, translational and clinical research spaces,  ambulatory surgery, laser and oculoplastic reconstructive surgery, and conference and teaching spaces. Extensive work has gone into creating innovative architecture, including collaboration with the Braille Institute to minimize architectural barriers to patients with limited vision. High definition video can be transmitted over the internet to teaching sites in the Institute but also throughout the world. Medical records are fully electronic, facilitating communication to referring physicians. 

The location of the clinical facility is just 500 feet away from the 2 laboratories conducting basic research in stem cell therapy for age-related macular degeneration and the inherited blinding disorder known as retinitis pigmentosa; innovative immunological studies on developing the first effective vaccine against herpes simplex virus; laser imaging of microstructures in the eye that will guide understanding of disease processes and therapy; and the pediatric blinding condition of cystinosis.



Roger F. Steinert, MD, graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, going on to complete his ophthalmology training at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. His career-long clinical interests are corneal surgery, cataract and implant surgery, and refractive surgery. He maintains a consultation practice in these areas. His research has centered on optics, with an emphasis on lasers and related technology. Dr. Steinert's current appointment is the Irving Leopold Professor of Ophthalmology, Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Director of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, as well as Vice President and President-Elect of the Medical Staff of UC Irvine Medical Center. He has published 5 textbooks, including Cataract Surgery, currently in its 3rd Edition, as well as over 90 book chapters and over 140 peer-reviewed scientific publications. He is past president and current program chair of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and Associate Editor of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.


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