Boosting cutting-edge research AND TRAINING
Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart Presents $4.8 Million to Miller School Centers

he Miller School and some of the dedicated people who conduct advanced research and deliver unparalleled medical care were recognized on January 28 when U.S. Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart presented more than $4.8 million in federal funding for three UM centers.

The William Lehman Injury Research Center, the research arm of the Ryder Trauma Center, was awarded $2.8 million to help research innovative techniques for training surgical teams for the battlefield, and the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education received $146,000 to train paramedics across the state and around the world. The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute received $2 million to research better ways to treat, prevent, or cure various eye diseases.

“This is a great community, and you do work that makes us all so proud … and what better way to celebrate these three important projects today,” Diaz-Balart said at the news conference attended by UM President Donna E. Shalala; Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., senior vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Miller School; and Marvin O’Quinn, president and CEO of Jackson Health System.

“You’ve been a champion of our medical school and our entire University. Particularly, you have worked tirelessly to bring funding to the William Lehman Injury Research Center at Ryder Trauma Center,” Shalala said to the congressman.

At the event outside the main entrance of Ryder Trauma Center, where there were pauses in the proceedings when an emergency medical helicopter flew overhead, Goldschmidt said the funding is going to “three of the most incredible places on the medical campus.” He highlighted the Lehman Center, which provides research for the Army Trauma Training Center (ATTC), a national training center for U.S. Army forward surgical teams, housed at Ryder. Since it opened at Ryder in 2001, the ATTC has trained about 1,000 army medical personnel that have gone on to serve on the front lines overseas.

Three of Miller’s top physicians accepted the checks. Jeffrey Augenstein, M.D., Ph.D., director of the William Lehman Injury Research Center and director of the Ryder Trauma Center; Eduardo Alfonso, M.D., the Edward W. D. Norton Professor in Ophthalmology and interim chair of Bascom Palmer; and Michael Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and director of the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education, remarked that the funds will help advance the important and lifesaving work being undertaken in their respective areas.

“If you look at where we were in 2001, we weren’t on the radar screen, and now we’re one of the major military research programs,” said Augenstein, who in 2002 accompanied Diaz-Balart on a tour of the ATTC. “That all came together because there was funding to bring together all these talented people. An incalculable number of soldiers’ lives have been saved by these people.”