Public Release: 

$2.5 million gift to foster innovation at The Vision Center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Five-year gift from Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation will advance medical teaching, research and telemedicine

Children's Hospital Los Angeles

The Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation has announced it will make a $2.5 million 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 time.

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. The Petersen Foundation's gift to CHLA will, among other advancements, help the Vision Center expand its telehealth program, which allows patients to connect virtually with CHLA medical staff using high-resolution cameras.

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.

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.

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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 free-standing 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 California.

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