Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation Gives $2.5 Million to The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Five-year gift will foster innovation in education, research and
telemedicine to care for more patients

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation has announced it will make
a $2.5 million unrestricted gift to support The Vision Center at
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) in its efforts to advance medical
teaching techniques, increase infrastructure for groundbreaking research
and use cutting-edge video technology to reach more patients in less

“We are honored by the continued generosity of the Petersen Foundation,”
says Henri Ford, MD, MHA, vice president and chief of surgery at
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “This gift is a direct investment in
both the present and future of the patients and families who trust
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for their care.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Petersen believed strongly that every child deserves the
opportunity to reach his or her full potential,” says GiGi Carleton,
president of the Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation. “This gift
from the Petersen Foundation supports the nation’s largest pediatric
ophthalmology program in its efforts to do the same—pioneering
treatments that help children see, and contributing to their best
possible quality of life.”

The Vision Center at CHLA is an international referral center for
children with complex eye diseases. It comprises leading experts in
virtually every pediatric ophthalmologic subspecialty. With additional
resources, CHLA will be able to train more physicians, enhance existing
space for treatment and care for children virtually—in the case of
children with complex eye diseases, a quicker response can mean the
difference between saving their eyesight and facing a lifetime of

“This generous gift will empower innovative solutions that propel the
hospital’s mission to create hope and build healthier futures,” says
Thomas Lee, MD, division head of The Vision Center at CHLA. “We will now
be able to train a new generation of doctors, discover new treatments
and extend our reach beyond hospital walls, allowing us to meet the
vital needs of more children who seek our care and expertise.”

The Petersen Foundation’s gift will help the center grow in three
distinct areas:

  • Education – Allowing the Center to produce and add video
    lectures to a growing online database that uses the “flipped
    classroom” model – that is, rather than students learning about
    various techniques for the first time when they show up at the
    hospital, they can view the videos first and then practice in person
    under the guidance of expert faculty.
  • Research – Expanding physical space and providing equipment for
    researchers— like disease modeling experts David Cobrinik, MD, PhD,
    Mark Borchert, MD, and Jennifer Aparicio, PhD, who use patient-derived
    stem cells to replicate tissue from hereditary eye diseases. Doing
    this gives the scientists an opportunity to study the tissue in the
    lab, helping to identify the most effective treatment and prevention
    techniques for a patient’s specific mutation.
  • Telemedicine – Broadening The Vision Center’s existing pilot
    telehealth program, which allows patients to meet virtually with
    optometrists and opthalmologists from several remote sites throughout
    Southern California. Equipping partner community clinics with
    ultra-high definition (or “4K”) video streaming carts will allow CHLA
    physicians to provide accurate consultation with more patients and
    medical staff, and doctors also can be brought in for further
    management and assessment in triage situations.

“Advancing these key areas of The Vision Center will directly affect the
lives of children today as well as drive innovation that allows us to
make an impact on their future,” says Dr. Lee. “Furthermore, all these
can be scaled to other divisions within CHLA, so the gift from the
Petersen Foundation not only helps children who are at risk of going
blind, it may eventually benefit other patients throughout the hospital.”

The late Margie Petersen, a former CHLA regent and board of trustee
member, and her late husband Robert, founder and chairman of Petersen
Publishing Co., were longtime supporters of the hospital. Most recently,
the foundation helped CHLA open the new Petersen Foundation
Rehabilitation Center in April 2015. The center is one of the largest
acute pediatric rehabilitation centers in the country.

About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children’s
hospital in California and among the top 10 in the nation for clinical
excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S. News & World
Report Honor Roll. Children’s Hospital is home to The Saban Research
Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research
facilities in the United States. Children’s Hospital is also one of
America’s premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation since 1932
with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern

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Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Owen Lei, 323-361-8433