Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Visual Research Foundation
“Seeing is believing,” and vision holds the key to sight. Our eyes are our contact with the world. To whatever degree we lose sight, we loose touch with our surroundings, and the quality of life is affected. Blindness is the most feared of all human disabilities.
Today scientists, fortified with unprecedented skills, knowledge and technology are intensifying their research attack against blindness and are on the threshold of unlocking more doors to sight for many who suffer from a wide range of eye diseases and vision problems.
For example, the Wilmer Eye Institute of The Johns Hopkins Hospital has been at the forefront of eye research, teaching and patient care since it was founded in 1925. Year after year, the Wilmer Eye Institute leads the top-ranking eye institutes in the United States.
Our current endowment is $2.5 million. Our goals are to increase the endowment to Wilmer Institute to $3.0 million and the committee is continually researching visual aids to assist our members and friends.
Odd Fellows Professor
Henry Jampel, M.D., M.P.H., has been a member of the Glaucoma Division since 1988. He received his bachelor’s degree in Biology, summa cum laude, from Harvard College, and subsequently attended the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Jampel pursued both his ophthalmology residency training and glaucoma fellowship at the Wilmer Institute, and was then invited to join the faculty.
In 1996 he received a Master’s degree in Health Finance and Administration. Clinically, Dr. Jampel treats glaucoma patients of all ages. In addition to the standard glaucoma operations he also has a special interest in combined cataract and glaucoma surgery, drainage device surgery, and ciliodestructive procedures for the more complicated and more unusual glaucomas. He is the medical director of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Greenspring Station. Dr. Jampel’s research interests include patient oriented outcomes of glaucoma treatment and detection of glaucoma progression. He is the Principal Investigator of a National Eye Institute funded study to determine if changes in the thickness of the retina can predict visual field loss in glaucoma. Dr. Jampel serves as Associate Editor-in-Chief of Ophthalmology, one of the premier journals in the field, and the official journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). He also serves on the Preferred Practice Committee of the AAO for glaucoma and on the Eye Health and Information Task Force of the AAO.
In his spare time, Dr. Jampel spends time with his wife, Risa, a dermatologist recently designated as one of Baltimore’s best doctors, and his three children, Catherine, Joseph and Sarah. He completed the Ironman World Triathlon Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, in 1999 and continues to race competitively as a triathlete.
Member Referrals to Wilmer Eye Institute
Odd Fellows and Rebekahs who wish to have serious eye problem cases of themselves or of family members referred to the Wilmer Eye Institute for review by the Odd Fellows Professor may do so by:
- Submitting a letter from the lodge secretary or from the Grand Lodge or Rebekah Assembly explaining the need for help, and
- Requesting the individual’s ophthalmologist to fill out an Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Visual Research Foundation referral form and send it with the patient’s medical records directly to Dr. W. Richard Green at the Wilmer Eye Institute.
You can download a form here. They are also available through the offices of Grand Secretaries, Assembly Secretaries through the Chairman or Executive Secretary of the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Visual Research Foundation and the Grand Lodge of Washington Website.
Much of the funding for work and programs of the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Visual Research Foundation is made possible by the “$1 Per Member” Campaign among the membership. Lodges and units of the Order which donate at least $1 per member are recognized with 100% Club Certificates presented at the annual sessions of the Sovereign Grand Lodge and the International Association of Rebekah Assemblies Ladies Auxiliary.
Big Eye Lamps
The Big Eye magnifier lamps, which have helped many members and friends who have vision problems or for use in hobbies and crafts, are available by contacting the Visual Research Committee Chairman:
Wesley Nelson, Chairman
24 Northmount Drive NW
Calgary, AB T2K 3E8
Hugh J. Bradley Distinguished Service Award
The Hugh J. Bradley Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to an individual or group for outstanding dedication and efforts in the preservation of sight. The award was established in 1996 as a tribute to the late Hugh J. Bradley, Past Sovereign Grand Master, and first Chairman of the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Visual Research Foundation. It was through his foresight and work that the Order established a research chair in ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Send nominations with attached documentation to:
Germaine Switzer, 2400 So. 76th St. Lincoln, NE 68506
Margaret L. Watts Endowment Trust
The Margaret L. Watts Scholars and Fellows Endowment Trust at the Wilmer Eye Institute was established to honor the late Margaret Watts, who was President of the International Association of Rebekah Assemblies at the time the then Odd Fellow World Eye Bank and Visual Research Foundation was established and who served as the first executive secretary for the foundation.
Hugh J. Bradley Eye Research Fund
The Hugh J. Bradley Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to an individual or group for outstanding dedication and effort in the preservation of sight. The award was established in 1996 as a tribute to the late Hugh J. Bradley, Past Sovereign Grand Master, and first chairman of the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Visual Research Foundation. It was through his foresight and work that the Order established a research chair in ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Griffin-Stevens Research Fund
The Griffin-Stevens-Switzer Research Fund was established at the Wilmer Eye Institute in 1993. It was a tribute to longtime past Chairman John Griffin, who died in 1992. Also to Lois K. Stevens, Past President of the International Association of Rebekah Assemblies, who died in 2010. She served as secretary of the Foundation for 20 years and for Germaine Switzer who served as secretary of the Foundation for 13 years.
Irene Skop Memorial Fund
A trust fund was established at the Wilmer Eye Institute as a memorial to the late Irene Skop who, in her capacity at Wilmer, acted as a liaison between the Odd Fellows professor and the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Visual Research Foundation for 35 years. Earnings from the fund will be used for special training for a member of the Wilmer support staff who best exemplifies the personal traits of Irene Skop, who was a Rebekah, and a Hugh J. Bradley Distinguished Service Award recipient.
Jurisdictions in Sight
Thirty-five states and five Canadian provinces have contracts with the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Visual Research Foundation for local eye programs. They are:
|British Columbia||New Hampshire|
- Purchase of equipment for medical schools and eye clinics
- Operation of eye banks
- Amblyopia screening
- Support for ophthalmological research
- Operation of low vision clinics
- Purchase of eye glasses for needy and elderly
- Mobile eye exam units
- Printing of Odd Fellow and Rebekah Rituals in Braille
- Collecting eyeglasses for Third World Countries
- Sales and donations of Big Eye Lamps