The Retina Foundation Hosts Eye On Innovation, The Series, to Discuss the Future of Healthcare in Texas
Dallas-based organization is hosting its annual luncheon celebrating its mission to preserve and restore sight with the leadership of renowned Dallas philanthropists.
DALLAS (October, 2023) – The Retina Foundation, Still Water Foundation and Texas 2036 came together at this year’s first Eye on Innovation, The Series, titled Vision for Texas: Staying Connected for Better Health. By prioritizing a Texan’s independence and quality of life, Texas can pave the way for a stronger infrastructure for business and healthcare through innovative partnerships and research.
Karl Csaky, MD, PhD, Chief Executive and Medical Officer of The Retina Foundation; Ellen Osborne Ray, CEO of Still Water Foundation; and A.J. Rodriguez, Executive Vice President of Texas 2036 came together to share their vision for our growing state. The panel, moderated by Monica Christopher of Communities Foundation of Texas, discussed innovative solutions to Texas’ workforce, infrastructure and healthcare that, if achieved, could be the model for more accessible patient care across the globe.
The future of Texas includes advanced broadband technology, a shrinking healthcare workforce and personalized medicine. As the population in Texas continues to grow and age, the Retina Foundation, Still Water Foundation and Texas 2036 are considering ways to ensure that all residents have access to healthcare, whether they reside in a city or small rural town.
“As the destination for vision, the Retina Foundation is leading the charge to bring more life sciences to North Texas and thinking outside the box to provide access to care,” said Lou Grabowsky, Board Chair for the Retina Foundation. “Great momentum and impactful collaborations have been key to accelerating the Retina Foundation’s breakthroughs and studies into new solutions for vision loss and innovative treatments. And they are key to moving our state forward to ensure all Texas residents have access to healthcare.”
The Retina Foundation is at the forefront of re-imagining how the patient/doctor relationship will look in this digital environment with telemedicine and reduced physical doctor visits.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a generational disease that has no cure, is the most common cause of vision loss in the U.S. for those over the age of 50. Current AMD treatments can be expensive, uncomfortable and require multiple doctor visits. Thanks to funding from Still Water Foundation, the Retina Foundation has developed an ocular drug delivery device to deliver therapeutic drugs in a consistent and controlled manner. The drug will penetrate the eye and the retina, providing a more patient-friendly treatment option for AMD.
“At the Retina Foundation, our research is built around our patients,” said Dr. Csaky. “To develop personalized medicine, we test the efficacy of current drugs using our patients’ own stem cells, yielding medical recommendations that are uniquely relevant to that patient. The future of healthcare is in personalized medicine and telemedicine. Universal broadband is crucial for patients to access the healthcare they need, particularly in more rural areas.”
Texas 2036 is dedicated to closing the digital divide and achieving universal broadband access for communities across Texas from urban to rural neighborhoods. Almost three million Texas households still lack access to broadband, while five million more struggle with unreliable connections. For telemedicine to serve those without close access to a healthcare facility, there must be a reliable infrastructure in place for broadband.
“We are only as strong as our weakest connection,” said Rodriguez. “Both our urban and rural communities have literacy challenges if people can’t access the technology. There are a few barriers we are working through to bring broadband to all our Texas residents, for some its currently unaffordable and for others, it’s incompatible with their current software or hardware.”
Still Water Foundation has made significant investments in our state, including support for both Texas 2036 and the Retina Foundation. Still Water has partnered with Texas 2036 to bring connectivity to all communities in Texas.
“Still Water is working in a multiprong way,” said Ray. “We are working with Texas 2036 to educate and advocate at the capital for change, and we invest in innovative leaders like Dr. Csaky who are bringing creative and advanced technological solutions to make sure Texan patients get the care they need and deserve.”
The panel agreed that, as the population of Texas continues to rise and current residents continue to age, organizations from all sectors including nonprofit, medical and business, need to come together to find a solution.
The Retina Foundation’s next Eye on Innovation, The Series, event is scheduled for November 15 at the Dallas Country Club. For more information on becoming involved with a study or to learn more about the Retina Foundation, please visit www.retinafoundation.org.
ABOUT THE RETINA FOUNDATION: The uniquely nimble, innovative and patient-focused model of the Retina Foundation yields better solutions that reach patients in less time in order to preserve and restore vision. A global leader in advanced medical research for retinal diseases and disorders, the Retina Foundation does not charge patients. Focused on age-related macular degeneration, inherited retinal disease and pediatric disorders, the Retina Foundation leads more than 60 clinical research studies and provides more than 2,000 vision assessments each year completely free of charge. Learn more at www.retinafoundation.org.
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