Message from the PAOF Chair

Jun 21, 2022From the PAOF Chair

J. Fernando Arevalo MD PhD
PAOF Chair, 2021-2024

Bronwyn Bateman MD

Dear Friends,

The word philanthropy comes from Ancient Greek φιλανθρωπία (philanthrōpía) ‘love of humanity’, from phil– “love, fond of” and anthrōpos” humankind, mankind”. Philanthropy involves charitable giving to worthy causes on a large scale, but it is much more than just a charitable donation. Philanthropy is an effort an individual or organization undertakes based on an altruistic desire to improve human welfare, and wealthy individuals sometimes establish private foundations to facilitate their philanthropic efforts. I cannot think of a PAAO member who has not been a philanthropist in their hearts since medical school. Again, it is not only giving money but it includes the time and effort we donate every day to help our patients whether or not we get paid.

In this issue of eVision, I would like to congratulate and recognize a major PAAO philanthropist, Dr. Bronwyn Bateman. Dr. Bateman has devoted her life as a pediatric ophthalmologist and medical geneticist, board-certified in both, in academic medicine at both UCLA and the University of Colorado. She remains active with the PAAO/PAOF and has a broad network of professional colleagues in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as in the United States.

Dr. Bateman has had extensive medical school teaching (UCLA, University of Colorado) and research (funded by the National Eye Institute) experience. For many years, she studied the DNA bases of hereditary cataracts. She has had valuable administrative experience managing a clinical department at the University of Colorado and was the first woman chair of any department in the School of Medicine. She raised the funds from the Lions of Colorado and Wyoming, and private donors to build the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute on the Anschutz Medical Campus at the University of Colorado becoming the Founding Director. Additionally, she directed the ophthalmology service at Denver Health Medical Center, a state authority, for a few years.

In 2020, with a planned gift of $250,000 to the PAOF, Dr. Bateman is supporting the PAAO Award for Women’s Leadership in Ophthalmology and Vision Research.  This award was suggested by Dr. Lynn Gordon of UCLA, a long standing member of the PAAO and serves to highlight the significant accomplishments of a female ophthalmologist in areas of leadership in ophthalmology.  The award recognizes a female ophthalmologist from the Americas, Spain or Portugal as a leader in areas of research, education, clinical care, or organizational, governmental or public health contributions.

With Dr. Francisco Contreras (Peru) and Dr. Rafael Cortez (Venezuela), Dr. Bateman has supported an educational fellowship program for young Central American ophthalmologists with the University of Miami and the McGill University in Canada. The idea came from Dr. Contreras and this Bateman, Contreras, Cortez (BCC) program will be a legacy for him. Also, the three of them have helped organize a regional collaborative educational meeting in El Salvador.

Recently, UCLA has received a $10 million commitment from Dr. Bronwyn Bateman to establish a center for ocular genetics at the UCLA Stein Eye Institute. The gift will support research projects as well as the center’s startup costs and greatest needs moving forward. Dr. Bateman is an example and an inspiration to all of us at PAAO and The Americas.

Following on Dr. Bateman’s example, the PAOF continues to work tirelessly and supports the PAAO membership, particularly our junior/early-career members via various grants/awards, and opportunities through our Travel Awards, and scholarships. We are in the process of creating more opportunities. We hope that PAAO members will generously support the Foundation ( throughout the year.  No gift is small, donate what you can. The more gifts donated, the more support the Foundation can provide to PAAO programs.

Please remember, the goal is to meet again at our XXVI Pan-American Regional Course in conjunction with Bascom Palmer’s XLIV Inter-American Course (CURSO) October 16-19, 2022 in Miami, FL, and our XXXV Pan-American Congress of Ophthalmology, March 17-20, 2023 in Buenos Aires Argentina! It’s at these two meetings where ophthalmology from all the Americas come together to meet and you cannot miss that!

J. Fernando Arevalo MD PhD FACS FASRS

Pan-American Ophthalmological Foundation (PAOF)