The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and UCHealth announced the naming of the UCHealth Eye Center program for philanthropist Sue Anschutz-Rodgers, who has made leadership gifts to accelerate innovative research, speed the development of new therapies and devices, and enhance clinical care.
These gifts will enable the eye center, headquartered in the 135,000-square-foot Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute building at the heart of the Anschutz Medical Campus, to further expand its work in ocular stem cell research for sight restoration, to retain and recruit top faculty, and to grow its clinical care network throughout Colorado and the region, serving the rapidly increasing demand for top- quality eye care.
“Sight has always been incredibly important to me,” Sue Anschutz-Rodgers said in a university news release, “and when I learned that I could eventually lose my eyesight due to macular degeneration, I felt I had to do something to bring the life-changing care I was receiving to future generations. I have 100 percent trust in the care offered there and hope that the research underway today will ultimately lead to a cure.”
Ms. Anschutz-Rodgers also credits service organization Lions Clubs International for having the vision many years ago to establish eye centers worldwide.
CU Anschutz Medical Campus Chancellor Donald M. Elliman, Jr. said the gift further underscores the impact that Ms. Anschutz-Rodgers has had on the campus. “With a long history of gifts supporting cancer research, women’s health, faculty, scholarships and more, Sue has made an immeasurable difference across our campus,” Mr. Elliman said. “I can think of no more fitting recognition of her commitment to transforming ophthalmology than to see her name associated with the Eye Center for decades to come.”
“Sue Anschutz-Rodgers has been making a difference in our community and at our university for a number of years and her generous contribution will have a tremendous impact on the lives of thousands of people,” said CU President Bruce D. Benson. “It will significantly advance the stellar work at the Eye Center and continue its momentum toward becoming one of the top eye care, research and training facilities in the world.”
Renowned retinal diseases expert Naresh Mandava, MD, has led the UCHealth Eye Center for nearly 14 years, overseeing its rapid growth and development as one of largest in the country. Dr. Mandava is chair of the CU Department of Ophthalmology and holds the Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Endowed Chair in Retinal Diseases, established by Sue Anschutz-Rodgers in 2013 in gratitude for the care she received from Mandava and his team. Under his leadership, the center’s physicians and researchers have grown from 55 in 2012 to 82 in 2017. Since then, total patient visits have more than doubled to over 100,000 annually.
“We are living in an incredible time for vision research and care, and our location on one of the country’s top academic medical campuses means we have the talent, the resources and the networks to do even more,” said Dr. Mandava. “This generous investment from Sue Anschutz-Rodgers will ensure our ability to leverage the momentum we’ve built to take new devices and therapies from the lab to the clinic more quickly than ever before, and to preserve and restore sight for people battling a wide range of conditions and diseases.”