$2M gift from Carls Foundation aids Kellogg Eye Center kids' clinic

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center will receive a $2 million grant from the Carls Foundation of Detroit to support a new pediatric ophthalmology clinic. The grant will allow the current pediatric eye clinic to serve more patients while adding new design features to meet the needs of children with vision problems.

The new clinic will be located in the Kellogg Eye Center's expansion building, which is scheduled to open in spring 2010.

The grant furthers the mission of the Carls Foundation, founded by Detroit industrialist William Carls and his wife, Marie, who were dedicated to ensuring children receive the best possible medical care.

"One of our main goals is to help make children's lives better, and we understand how important it is to correct a child's vision problems as early as possible," says Elizabeth A. Stieg, Executive Director of the Carls Foundation.

The grant brings the total funds raised for new Kellogg Eye Center building to $14.3 million, or more than 70 percent of the $20 million philanthropic goal. It also advances the final stages of the Michigan Difference campaign, which has surpassed its goal of raising $2.5 billion to support U-M students, programs and facilities.

"Our pediatric ophthalmology clinic is known nationally for its leadership in children's eye care," says Paul R. Lichter, M.D., F. Bruce Fralick Professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the U-M Medical School. "This generous gift from the Carls Foundation will help us expand our services for young patients and their families while maintaining our reputation for excellence."

Children with vision problems come from throughout Michigan and around the world to see pediatric ophthalmologists at the Kellogg Eye Center. Those physicians will be able to care for even more young patients in the new 4,000-square-foot Carls Foundation Pediatric Ophthalmology Clinic.

"We are nearly doubling the space we devote to children's eye care and to pediatric vision research and training programs," says Monte A. Del Monte, M.D., Skillman Professor of Pediatric Ophthalmology and a professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases.

The clinic will be on the first floor of the Kellogg addition and will include 10 examination rooms. The clinic will also be equipped with advanced diagnostic technology as well as a special procedures room, a clinical trials and digital imaging room, and a multi-media patient education room where families can learn more about eye diseases.

The new space will enable Kellogg to recruit additional academic pediatric ophthalmologists who will see patients and conduct research. Kellogg faculty members today study conditions such as childhood glaucoma, retinopathy of prematurity, intraocular lens placement in children, thyroid-associated eye disease and strabismus, and many other vision diseases that affect children.

Scientific breakthroughs were important to William and Marie Carls. They had lost a child in infancy and became interested in helping to advance pediatric medicine, Stieg says. An engineer by training, Mr. Carls was particularly interested in health care building projects and technology. He took an active role in directing the grants of the Foundation until his death in 1995.

The Carls Foundation today supports pediatric health facilities and programs throughout the state, as well as youth activity programs and the preservation of natural areas through trusts and conservancies. At the University of Michigan, the Carls Foundation has also supported the construction of the new children's and women's hospital, a diagnostic and treatment program for children at risk for profound hearing loss, and research in the area of jaw-related birth defects.

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