DR. THOMAS LEE OF THE VISION CENTER OF LA CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
In 2012, Thomas C. Lee, MD, eye surgeon with The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, joined an elite group recognized with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He shared a commonality with past recipients including several past U.S. presidents, Muhammad Ali, Deepak Chopra, Yogi Berra, Rudy Giuliani, Nasser Kazeminy, Hillary Clinton, and Janet Reno, to name a few.
The most vivid characteristic that Dr. Lee shares with his fellow recipients is one of compassion for those who deserve a better quality life. Through medicine, education and his delicate precision, Lee prevents blindness in children around the world. No matter what a child’s ethnicity, culture or economic background, he recognizes that everyone deserves the chance to see the world around them.
“I don’t see borders. I see children that have preventable eye diseases and I want to be sure we do the best to our ability to make sure they are given a chance at sight,” explains Lee, “We need to tear down barriers that are based on religious beliefs, wars and cultural disagreements to serve the same mission, and that is to create a better life for our children.”
Dr. Lee’s contributions extend beyond America’s borders. Through his mission and dedication to teach doctors in underprivileged populations, Dr. Lee has helped populations in Armenia, China, Mexico and Mongolia, among other countries. His next project is the Campaign for Filipino Children in the Philippines in collaboration with the Apl.de.ap Foundation International.
Dr. Lee spearheaded a telemedicine and distant learning portal to significantly reduce blindness in babies through patient screening and physician education with the Armenian Eye Care Project (AECP). As Armenian doctors diagnose and treat their patients, Dr. Lee is able to monitor exams and surgeries using advanced medical equipment from more than 7,000 miles away.
Dr. Lee has made significant advances in the understanding of pediatric retinal disorders and has pioneered the use of cutting edge imaging techniques such as Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography (SD-OCT) to identify eye diseases at the earliest possible stage. He was also the first to use an intraocular endoscope to perform complex surgery in pediatric retinal detachments resulting from retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), familial exudative vitreo-retinopathy, x-linked retinoschisis and trauma.
He has identified novel drugs that can induce blood vessel and tumor regression and is currently designing new ways to enhance delivery into the eye. His work has been supported by a number of grants from research foundations and has numerous peer-reviewed publications in recognition of these accomplishments.
PHILIPPINE ACADEMY OF OPHTHALMOLOGY
The Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology is the national association of Eye M.D.s. Composed of over 1300 eye doctors in 10 Chapters Nationwide, and with 42 accredited training institutions, it is a force that can contribute to the solution of eye health care problems of all Filipinos.
Recognizing that the economic burden of blindness is especially heavy on the resources of the country and in particular the Filipino family, the Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology (PAO)and the Department of Health, together with members of the National Committee for Sight Preservation (NCSP) heeded the call of the World Health Organization and implemented Vision 2020 Philippines to effectively address the growing incidence of avoidable blindness. The three causes of avoidable blindness targeted in this program are cataract, errors of refraction, and childhood blindness. Every year the PAO and the NCSP observe August Sight Saving Month in the Philippines with the theme “Save Sight for a Brighter Life”. This highlights the return to economic productivity of persons with restored useful vision.
The Apl of My Eye Project is aligned with the educational mission of the Academy: To lead in the information dissemination and public education on primary eye care and preventable eye disease.
The current President of the Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology is Harvey S. Uy, M.D. (An old classmate of Dr. Thomas Lee in medical school in the States.)
ASIAN PACIFIC COMMUNITY FUND OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Established in 1990, the Asian Pacific Community Fund (APCF) is a network of community organizations focused on enhancing the lives of Asian Pacific Islanders throughout Los Angeles County.
The Mission of the Asian Pacific Community Fund is to cultivate philanthropists to invest in organizations that empower Asian and Pacific Islanders to prosper. We transform lives and meet the diverse needs of Asians and Pacific Islanders 1) by building healthier communities, 2) developing leaders, 3) creating a stronger voice and 4) providing the foundation for a brighter tomorrow. Our vision is a thriving Asian and Pacific Islander community fostered by a culture of philanthropy.
We believe that strong and successful API communities begin with individuals supporting one another. We value creating collaborative relationships with a range of community-focused individuals and corporate leaders. We demonstrate responsibility in resource management and advocate for equitable giving to all communities. We appreciate the intricacies of our evolving communities in achieving a stronger society.
The Asian Pacific Community Fund is the only organization of its kind that provides philanthropists a collaborative approach to raising funds for the broader API community by increasing awareness of community needs, encouraging active engagement in philanthropic activities, and providing donors with a myriad of giving options that aligns with their preferences. The combined knowledge and experience of the Asian Pacific Community Fund staff and that of the Affiliate Agencies make the Asian Pacific Community Fund a safe and trusted option for donors. We are recognized for our expertise in the API community, our ability to reach the API community as a whole, and our access into individual ethnic communities.
The Apl.de.ap Foundation International is one of the organizations that comprise the Asian Pacific Community Fund network. The current Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Community Fund is Debra A. Fong. For more information on the Fund please visit www.apcf.org.