Bascom Palmer’s Steven J. Gedde, M.D., to hold Dr. John G. Clarkson Chair

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine today announced the establishment of the Dr. John G. Clarkson Endowed Chair in Medical Education at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute to support medical education. Steven J. Gedde, M.D., professor of ophthalmology, vice chairman of education and director of the residency training program, was named the inaugural holder of the chair, which was created through the philanthropic leadership of the Braman Family Foundation and a generous gift from the estate of Amy and Shlomo Yeminy. The gift is in support of Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami.

Noting that the award of an endowed chair is one of the highest honors given at leading universities, Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School of Medicine, said, “Endowed chairs allow us to recruit and retain the best of the best. Their support is vital to ensuring sustainable academic excellence.”

Bascom Palmer’s chairman, Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., called the Braman Family Foundation and Yeminy gifts “extraordinary.” He added that Bascom Palmer’s worldwide leadership in medical education – as well as patient care and vision research – would not be possible without philanthropic support. “The Braman Family Foundation and the Yeminys’ investment in Bascom Palmer will provide a lasting legacy of learning and sight for generations to come,” he said.

The Dr. John G. Clarkson Endowed Chair in Medical Education recognizes the many accomplishments of a distinguished vitreo-retinal specialist, researcher and educator who served as chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute from 1991-1996. He then accepted an appointment as Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the University of Miami School of Medicine.

During his 11-year tenure as dean, Clarkson recruited significant research and academic talent to the University and presided over dramatic annual growth in its scientific research. He established Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the Palm Beaches – the Institute’s first off-campus center — and led the physical transformation of the medical campus, creating the Schoninger Research Quadrangle through the completion of the Batchelor Children’s Research Institute and the Lois Pope LIFE Center for neuroscience research. He also led the medical school’s largest capital campaign at the time, culminating in the historic $100 million gift from the family of the late Miami developer Leonard M. Miller. The medical school was renamed in Miller’s honor.

Clarkson received the 2012 National Physician of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award conferred by the publishers of America’s Top Doctors. He is currently the executive director of the American Board of Ophthalmology, the independent, nonprofit organization responsible for certifying ophthalmologists in the United States.
Goldschmidt, who succeeded Clarkson as dean in 2006, said his predecessor’s leadership left an indelible mark at the Miller School. “John Clarkson’s contributions to medicine, health care and medical education are important and enduring,” he added.

Clarkson said he was deeply honored to learn the Braman Family Foundation had provided the lead gift to name a chair in his honor. “I became friends with Norman Braman through Jay Weiss, who at the time was chair of the Medical Affairs Committee of the University of Miami Board of Trustees,” he said. “Following Jay’s death, Mr. Braman dedicated himself to working with the Miller School of Medicine and did so with selfless abandon. His commitment to the South Florida community and to our medical school during my time as dean was unsurpassed.”

Donors Irma and Norman Braman are among the nation’s leading art collectors and philanthropists who have inspired countless physicians, scientists, educators and community activists. They are credited with bringing Art Basel to Miami Beach, and have recently committed to design and construct South Florida’s newest major museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, in the Miami Design District.

The Bramans are also long-time benefactors of the University of Miami, supporting medical research and clinical services. In 2002, the Braman Family Foundation established the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and recently the foundation partnered with the Miller family to renovate the Hillel center at the University of Miami, which will be renamed the Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life.

In addition to supporting the health care initiatives at the University of Miami, the Bramans have endowed a chair for research in gastrointestinal motility disorders at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Norman Braman’s hometown, and the Linda Fenner 3D Mobile Mammography Center at Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, which will bring breast cancer screening to Miami-Dade’s underserved communities. The mobile center is named in memory of Irma Braman’s youngest sister, Linda Fenner, who died from breast cancer in 2005 at the age of 54.

“Irma and I are dedicated to training tomorrow’s medical researchers as they seek new approaches and strategies for combating disease,” said Norman Braman. “Bascom Palmer has long embodied excellence, and we are privileged to honor John Clarkson for his remarkable contributions to ophthalmology. In addition to the impact on medical education, the John Clarkson name on this endowed chair will be forever identified with his honesty, integrity, concern for the community and visionary thinking.”

Gedde is nationally and internationally recognized as a leader in the field of glaucoma, and he has established a busy referral practice by providing high quality care to patients. He currently serves as president of the Florida Glaucoma Society, is past president of the Program Directors Council and an active member of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology. Gedde was a recipient of an Achievement Award and Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He was selected as the Excellence in Health Care Educator of the Year, and has received multiple resident teaching awards.
As the initial holder of the new chair, Gedde said, “Dr. Clarkson is an inspiring role model for hundreds of ophthalmologists who have trained at our Institute and thousands more who rely on his leadership, expertise and ethics.”

Noting that Bascom Palmer’s residency and fellowship programs have been continually ranked the best in the nation, Gedde said, “I believe there is tremendous potential to positively impact patient care through education. Graduating residents and fellows can elevate the quality of patient care that is delivered in their local communities. As they educate other physicians, they participate in the global dissemination of scientific and clinical knowledge.”

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute changes lives by giving the gift of sight. From helping cure eye diseases and preventing blindness, to conducting innovative, groundbreaking research, it serves as one of the world’s premier providers of eye care.

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, which serves as the Department of Ophthalmology for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been ranked #1 in ophthalmology in the United States for 11 years by U.S. News & World Report. The leading publication, Ophthalmology Times, ranked Bascom Palmer Best Overall in Ophthalmology and #1 in both Patient Care and Residency Training. Year after year, Bascom Palmer’s specialists are selected by Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors. Bascom Palmer is the largest ophthalmic care, research and educational resource in the southeastern United States, with patient care facilities in Miami, Palm Beach Gardens, Naples, and Plantation. Bascom Palmer is dedicated to improving the future of ophthalmology by creating state-of-the art technology and rapidly translating it into clinical treatments. Many of the Institute’s revolutionary research studies continue to be possible because of generous private support. For more information, please call 1-800-329-7000, or visit

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