The creation of a new clinical and vision research institute—named the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute—was announced at a special UHN celebration on the evening of September 20, 2016. The new institute is a result of merging UHN’s Ophthalmology Department (previously known as the Donald K. Johnson Eye Centre) with the Division of Vision Sciences. Its research activities will continue to operate under the direction of the Krembil Research Institute.
By bringing together a clinical centre with a comprehensive research program, it will be guided by dual clinical/research leadership through co-directors Dr. Robert Devenyi
, Director of Retinal Services, and Dr. Valerie Wallace
, Head of Vision Sciences. This integrated approach will promote new collaborations and strengthen existing partnerships between clinicians and researchers, with the aim of developing innovative approaches to treating patients at UHN and worldwide.
"The greatest research advances often stem from simple conversations between clinicians and researchers, which spark new ideas," says Dr. Wallace. "The organizational structure of the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute will ensure that more of these conversations happen."
The new institute could not have been formed without the continued leadership and generosity of philanthropists Donald K. Johnson and his wife, Anna McCowan-Johnson. The name of the institute reflects the long-standing support that they have provided to clinical efforts and basic research at UHN—support that totals more than $15 million.
It is the vision of Dr. Peter Pisters, UHN President and CEO, to establish similar clinical-research sub-institutes across all UHN programs; he commented on the benefits of this approach during his address, saying, "This transformation will facilitate improved collaboration between clinicians, researchers and educators, with the ultimate goal of improving patient care."