On Monday, October 30, Dr. Roy Chuck, professor and chair of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Einstein and Montefiore, was among the honorees at the annual Fight for Sight Gala, held in Manhattan. He was joined by celebrities Bebe Neuwirth and Nancy Kerrigan in receiving recognition from the organization whose main mission is to support research to cure blindness.

Members of the ophthalmology department celebrate Dr. Chuck’s honor
Members of the ophthalmology department celebrate Dr. Chuck’s honor

The fundraiser included an auction conducted by Dr. Norm Medow, a member of the ophthalmology and visual science faculty and staff who also is a licensed auctioneer. Montefiore and Einstein were represented by Montefiore leadership, trustees, staff and residents, and Einstein faculty who filled three tables among an audience of 200. 

In accepting his honor, Dr. Chuck—who also is professor of genetics at Einstein and holds the Paul Henkind Chair in Ophthalmology—referenced the numerous ways in which Fight for Sights has supported programs and individuals at Montefiore-Einstein. He said, “Fight for Sight's mission to help jump start eye research careers at the early stages is critical in these times of dwindling research funding…. As we teach our residents and students, the importance of donating a pair of eyeglasses and doing the best eye operations possible is exactly the same as making the next great vision research discovery.... This is especially true in challenged neighborhoods like ours in the Bronx. A staunch supporter like Fight for Sight offers us the hope that blindness can go away and that we're all doing the right thing by continuing to chase this dream.”

Dr. Chuck (at right) with Einstein medical student Davis “Uzo” Anugo, who earned a Fight for Sight research fellowship and spoke at the gala
Dr. Chuck (at right) with Einstein medical student Davis “Uzo” Anugo, who earned a Fight for Sight research fellowship and spoke at the gala
He added, “Our young scientists at Montefiore-Einstein have been great beneficiaries of your generosity and you've helped launch so many leaders and future leaders from our family.”

This year, Einstein medical student Davis “Uzo” Anugo was among those beneficiaries, earning a highly competitive research fellowship, as did Einstein postdoctoral fellows Selina Solomon, Ph.D., and Rebecca McGreal, Ph.D. Uzo, who was born in Lagos, Nigeria and moved with his family to the United States at age 12, was mentored by Drs. Chuck, Charles Zhang and Yang Jing. His interest in science and medicine blossomed following surgery to repair a torn ACL resulting from a football injury in high school. He was among those invited to speak at the gala.

Addressing the Fight for Sight audience, he shared that during his post-surgery rehabilitation, “I read everything I could find about the human body and how it works…. My interest in ophthalmology began while volunteering at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, in Flushing’s Chinatown, along with the Einstein- Montefiore ophthalmology residents and medical students.”

He also noted, “In places like the United States, there are systems put in place to assist the blind in getting an education and functioning in society. In many places, like where I was born, blindness means a lack of education and an inability to provide for yourself and your family.”

He concluded, “This is one of the reasons why an organization like Fight for Sight and what it stands for are so important…. Fight for Sight has given young scientists like me the confidence, the resources and world-renowned mentors to pursue the goal of curing blindness.”

Posted on: Friday, December 1, 2017