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Glaucoma Patient Summit 2020 will be Online Virtual Event

Presented by Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), the Glaucoma Patient Summit highlights advances in treatment options and practical information to help patients understand and live with glaucoma. Summit speakers include leading glaucoma specialists, patients and caregivers.

The first Glaucoma Patient Summit, which took place last year in San Francisco, was a great success. The second annual Summit was initially planned to take place in the Chicago area, but due to COVID-19, to ensure the health and safety of our attendees, GRF made the decision to make the second annual Glaucoma Patient Summit a virtual online event for 2020.

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Hosted by Ruth Williams, MD, the second annual Glaucoma Patient Summit will take place on Saturday, November 7, 2020. Tickets to attend the virtual event are $25 each.

Register Now to participate in the virtual Patient Summit on November 7th!

Preliminary Agenda

The virtual Patient Summit is scheduled to begin at 8:00 AM Pacific Time on November 7, 2020 and to conclude by 11:00 AM. Following is the preliminary agenda (subject to change):

  • Welcome and Opening Remarks — Ruth Williams, MD and Andrea Epstein
  • You are Diagnosed with Glaucoma, Now What?—A Patient’s Perspective — Richie Kahn, MPH
  • Glaucoma Overview — Shan Lin, MD
  • Current and New Treatment Options — Inder Paul Singh, MD
  • Living with Glaucoma — Constance Okeke, MD, MSCE
  • Promising Research on the Horizon—The Path to a Cure — Jeffrey Goldberg, MD, PhD
  • How to Be Your Own Advocate—Panel Discussion featuring Andrew Iwach, MD and Michael L. Halkias, OD with glaucoma patients Renee Brown and Linda Richardson
  • Audience Questions and Answers moderated by Thomas M. Brunner
  • Closing Remarks — Thomas M. Brunner

Speaker Bios

Renee Brown
Glaucoma Patient
Renee Brown is a passionate traveler. At age 65, when Renee consulted an ophthalmologist for the first time in years, she was surprised to discover she had acute glaucoma. Through a cousin who has the disease, Renee found Glaucoma Research Foundation, with its resource-rich website and Gleams newsletter, just in time for the Foundation’s first Patient Summit in San Francisco. That’s how Renee was transformed from a glaucoma patient into a vision champion. At the summit, she connected with fellow patients, doctors, and scientists who gave her information, confidence, and the power to make a difference. Today, Renee has a new passion: empowering others at increased risk of glaucoma — including the African American community and anyone with a family history of the disease — to take charge of their vision.

Thomas M. Brunner
President and CEO, Glaucoma Research Foundation
Tom Brunner joined Glaucoma Research Foundation in 2003 after a 30-year career in the ophthalmic laser business. He helped introduce major advances in eye care including laser photocoagulation to prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy, laser treatment of secondary cataracts, and laser treatment for glaucoma. Since joining Glaucoma Research Foundation, Tom has helped to more than double revenue and focus on innovative research to understand how glaucoma steals sight and find a cure. He received a "Lifetime Achievement" award from the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery for his contributions and 25 years of service on their Board of Directors. Tom graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in electrical engineering and received an MBA from the University of Delaware.

Andrea Epstein
Chair, Glaucoma Patient Summit Steering Committee
Andrea Epstein first got involved with the Glaucoma Research Foundation when seeking innovative glaucoma treatments on behalf of her husband who has lived with glaucoma most of his life. As volunteer Chair of the steering committee for the Glaucoma Research Foundation Patient Summit, Andrea helped to organize and launch the first annual Patient Summit held in San Francisco in 2019.

Jeffrey Goldberg, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology, Byers Eye Institute, Stanford University
Dr. Goldberg's clinical effort is focused on patients in need of medical or surgical intervention for glaucoma and other retinal and optic nerve diseases, as well as cataract. His research is directed at neuroprotection and regeneration of retinal ganglion cells and the optic nerve, a major unmet need in glaucoma and other optic neuropathies, and his laboratory is developing novel stem cell and nanotherapeutics approaches for eye repair. Dr. Goldberg received his BS magna cum laude from Yale University, and his MD and PhD from Stanford University where he made significant discoveries about the failure of optic nerve regeneration. He did his clinical training in ophthalmology and then in glaucoma at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. His goal is to translate scientific discoveries to patient therapies. He currently serves as a Scientific Advisor to the Glaucoma Research Foundation's Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration Initiative.

Michael L. Halkias, OD
Optometrist, Naper Grove Vision Care
Dr. Halkias is a native of Naperville, IL. He earned his Doctorate of Optometry from the State University of New York College of Optometry, and a Bachelor’s degree in Cell and Structural Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. Dr. Halkias received his optometric training at Southern Arizona VA Health Care System in Tucson, AZ, where he provided primary eye care to veterans. He also was trained at Aran Eye Associates in Miami, FL, specializing in ocular diseases. He participated in Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) and completed a weeklong missionary trip to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, spending his time providing free eye care to the poor. In 2011 he traveled to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where he treated indigent patients with advanced glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye diseases.

Andrew Iwach, MD
Glaucoma Specialist, Glaucoma Center of San Francisco
Dr. Iwach is Executive Director of the Glaucoma Center of San Francisco, Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California at San Francisco, and a faculty instructor at the California Pacific Medical Center Department of Ophthalmology. He has served on the Glaucoma Research Foundation Board since 2000 and is a member of GRF's Executive Committee, Leadership Committee, Development Committee, and Strategic Planning Committee. He has served as Board Chair since 2011, and he co-founded GRF's signature annual event, Glaucoma 360, in 2012. Dr. Iwach is also Executive Director of the Glaucoma Research and Education Group (GREG), a non-profit research and educational entity focused on clinical research for the purpose of furthering the scientific knowledge of glaucoma.

Richie Kahn
Glaucoma Patient
Richie Kahn is a “health policy nerd” by training, an ophthalmology clinical researcher by trade, and a patient advocate by necessity. For the last decade, Richie has been working to build awareness of clinical research as a care option and the need for advocating for what's best for individual patients. By day, he works to bring new ophthalmology drugs and devices to market. By night, he's a #glaucomaniac.

Shan Lin, MD
Glaucoma Specialist, Glaucoma Center of San Francisco
Dr. Shan Lin received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and completed his medical school training at Tufts University School of Medicine. He completed his ophthalmology residency and glaucoma fellowship training at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He has previously been Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at UCSF, including Director of the UCSF Glaucoma Service, and at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Other leadership positions include Executive Vice President of the World Glaucoma Association and Chair of the Ambassador Committee for the American Glaucoma Society. He has received the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Achievement Award, Secretariat Award, and Senior Achievement Award. He is on the editorial boards for the American Journal of Ophthalmology, Journal of Glaucoma, and American Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports.

Constance Okeke, MD, MSCE
Glaucoma Specialist, Virginia Eye Consultants
Dr. Constance Okeke is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in glaucoma and cataract surgery. She has two decades of glaucoma experience ranging from cutting edge research and micro-invasive surgical techniques to training other doctors, speaking, and writing about her techniques and innovative ideas. Dr. Okeke has helped prevent blindness through medical missions, glaucoma awareness campaigns and public speaking. She received her undergraduate and medical degrees from Yale and trained in ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins. She completed her glaucoma fellowship training as a Heed Research Fellow at the prestigious Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of University of Miami. She has practiced ophthalmology with a specialty in glaucoma and cataract surgery since 2001. Her education, training, research, social outreach, and philanthropic missionary work has taken her all over the world including England, Austria, Costa Rica, Ghana and Nigeria.

Linda Richardson circle_100.png
Linda Richardson
Glaucoma Patient
Linda is a retired speech and language pathologist who worked with young children with autism and an Anglican priest who serves as assisting clergy in a local parish. Linda is also currently the lead coordinator in a program that trains spiritual directors. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother

Inder Paul Singh, MD
Glaucoma Specialist, The Eye Centers of Racine & Kenosha
Dr. I. Paul Singh, a Wisconsin native, is the President of The Eye Centers of Racine & Kenosha, Ltd., founded in 1981 by his father, Dr. Kanwar A. Singh. He was a chief resident and completed his residency at Cook County Hospital - Division of Ophthalmology, and his internship at Michael Reese Hospital - Department of Medicine, both in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Finch University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School in 1999. His undergraduate education was completed at Washington University in St. Louis, with a B.A. in Biology and Psychology. He completed his fellowship in Glaucoma at Duke University in July 2004 before returning back to his hometown where he is currently in private practice.

Event Host

Ruth Williams, MD
Glaucoma Specialist, Wheaton Eye Clinic
Dr. Williams is a glaucoma specialist at the Wheaton Eye Clinic, an ophthalmology practice founded in 1942 that provides subspecialty eye care to more than 140,000 patients annually. She is a past president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Before serving on the Academy’s Board of Trustees, she represented ophthalmology at the AMA for nearly a decade, chairing its specialty section. She has served on the board of several ophthalmic organizations. She is a member of the American Glaucoma Society, the Chicago Glaucoma Society, Women in Ophthalmology, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Dr. Williams has appeared on a dozen major television networks and talk shows and provided interviews to numerous magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Health, Women’s Health, Shape, Good Housekeeping, and the AARP magazine. She has been recognized by the American Academy of Ophthalmology with the Senior Achievement Award. After attending Rush Medical College in Chicago, she completed an ophthalmology residency at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and a glaucoma fellowship at Shaffer Associates and the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Williams joined the GRF Board of Directors in 2015 and currently serves as Vice Chair. She is a member of the Board's Executive and Strategic Planning Committees, and Chair of the Board's Leadership Committee.

Register Now to participate in the virtual Patient Summit on November 7th.

Last reviewed on September 15, 2020

This article appeared in the September 2020 issue of Gleams.


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