Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology Will Help Advance Treatment Options for Pediatric Glaucoma Worldwide

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Thanks to the support of Wendy and Theo Kolokotrones, Alana L. Grajewski, M.D., professor of clinical ophthalmology at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, will have an opportunity to advance her research while developing novel treatments that will further define the field of ophthalmology.

(From left) Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D.; Alana L. Grajewski, M.D.; and Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A.

Dr. Grajewski was recently presented with the Kolokotrones Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology, one of the most prestigious academic honors a faculty member can receive.

“Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s worldwide leadership in research, education, and clinical care would not be possible without the continuing generosity of Wendy and Theo Kolokotrones,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School of Medicine. “I am truly grateful for their philanthropy and dedication, as well as for supporting our brilliant faculty.”

A renowned expert in specialized surgical treatment, Dr. Grajewski is a leader in the international effort to eradicate blindness from pediatric glaucoma. She established and is the director of Bascom Palmer’s Samuel and Ethel Balkan International Pediatric Glaucoma Center, which is changing lives by advancing research as the first integrated services center dedicated to pediatric glaucoma and anterior segment dysgenesis. Although glaucoma most commonly affects the elderly, childhood glaucoma affects one in 5,000 children and can lead to irreversible blindness if left untreated.

“I am grateful to the Kolokotrones family for sharing the vision to change the way the world sees and treats children with glaucoma, and for ensuring it will live beyond my lifetime through this endowment,” said Dr. Grajewski, who was selected for The Ophthalmologist magazine’s Power List 2021, which honored the world’s most influential women in the field of ophthalmology.

Innovative Programs and Exceptional Contributions to Field

Dr. Grajewski has started innovative programs, including a unified international consensus classification for childhood glaucoma and the world's largest research consortium dedicated to pediatric glaucoma. She leads the Pediatric Preventable Blindness initiative to help eradicate vision loss in children in the Caribbean, where vision impairment and blindness are four times higher than in the United States. By screening children's vision when they get their vaccines, doctors can mitigate vision problems at an earlier age.

She also founded Global Eye SITE, an observership program dedicated to training skilled surgeons and doctors from underserved countries. This groundbreaking program's curriculum includes the management of childhood glaucoma, ocular syndromes, and ocular genetics.

“Dr. Grajewski’s contributions to clinical care, innovative research, and community engagement are second to none,” said Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Miller School of Medicine, director of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, and holder of the Kathleen and Stanley J. Glaser Chair in Ophthalmology. "She continues to push the barriers in all these areas to help eliminate the devastating consequences of pediatric glaucoma from the world. We appreciate the Kolokotrones family's generosity in providing the endowment that will forever support Dr. Grajewski and the many other faculty members who will occupy the chair."

During the endowment ceremony, Dr. Grajewski received the University of Miami’s 100 Talents medallion, which is part of President Julio Frenk’s Roadmap to Our New Century, the strategic plan of the University as it approaches its centennial in 2025. As part of the roadmap, the 100 Talents Initiative seeks to add 100 endowed chairs to attract, retain, and reward outstanding faculty, as the Kolokotrones Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology does.

“Thanks to this chair, we can make real inroads in treatment and quality of life — not only for the children with pediatric glaucoma, but also for their parents and providers,” said Dr. Grajewski.

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