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Dr. Arnall Patz Endowed Professorship for the Lions Low Vision Center

School of Medicine

Established in 2014 by Lions Clubs of Multiple District 22, Wilmer Residents Association members, and the Patz Family and Friends

PatzArnall2Dr. ARNALL PATZ was a world-renowned scientist, clinician, teacher, and administrator. Through his work, he immeasurably brightened the lives of everyone he met. Beginning in 1950, while still an ophthalmic resident in Washington, DC, Dr. Patz first noticed an association between incubators and retinopathy of prematurity, a leading cause of infant blindness. In one of the first clinical trials in all of medicine, he followed premature babies who were routinely given high concentrations of oxygen and others who were given lower doses. Rebuffed by funding agencies, which thought the proposal unscientific and possibly dangerous, Dr. Patz conducted the clinical trial without federal funding. His discovery has been credited with a sixty percent reduction in childhood blindness in the country. For his groundbreaking discovery, he received the prestigious Albert Lasker Medical Research Award, presented to him by Helen Keller in 1956.

Dr. Patz joined Wilmer’s full-time faculty in 1970 as the inaugural Seeing Eye Research Professor. While at Wilmer, he founded the Retinal Vascular Center, which pioneered the management and treatment of diabetic retinopathy. During this time, he continued to make important discoveries about diseases caused by abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye and helped to develop one of the first argon lasers for treating diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. He then went on to become Wilmer’s fourth chairman from 1979-1989.

Dr. Patz has always had a strong connection with the Lions, having been inspired by Helen Keller who once told him, “If you want anything done, call the Lions.” He partnered with the Lions of Multiple District 22 in a relationship that has blossomed to include the naming of the Lions Low Vision Center at Wilmer and the Arnall Patz Clinical Fellow. The Lions Low Vision Center at Wilmer is now a multidisciplinary team of doctors and rehabilitative specialists collaborating to restore and improve day-to-day functions—including reading, driving, shopping, and other important activities—lost to chronic visual impairment.

After Patz died in 2010, many who had known, worked with, or been treated by him, including the Lions, rallied to endow the Dr. Arnall Patz Professorship for the Lions Low Vision Center.