UW Ophthalmology in the Community
We recognize the importance of partnering with the community for education, detection, and treatment of eye disease. Our efforts take us locally and abroad with special emphasis on underserved populations
Our Community Matters
As part of an academic medical center, we endeavor to promote a culture of education for members of our community, as well as our faculty and staff. We believe that community members are integral to a reciprocal learning environment, and to our success as teachers, learners, and healers.
Community Action Board
The UW Medicine Eye Institute Community Action Board (CAB) exists to support and further the UW Medicine Eye Institute’s mission to eliminate suffering from eye disease, both in our region and in the wider world. Our CAB members are advocates and generous supporters, and we are honored to be able to work with this distinguished group from the greater Puget Sound region. To learn more about our CAB or how you can get involved, please contact Abbey Norris at (206) 221-8274 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Rich BebeeRich Bebee grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He earned his B.A. at Anderson University, M.B.A. at Indiana University, and Ph.D. at the University of Colorado. Rich's background is a blend of academic and industry experience. He spent the last 30 years in university administration as Campus Dean at Ohio University Chillicothe, Dean of the Perdue School of Business Administration at Salisbury University, and Accounting Chair and Associate Dean at Old Dominion University. His private sector experience includes working as Training Director at Grant Thornton in Chicago, Tax Legislative Staff at Arthur Andersen & Co. in Washington, D.C., in addition to consulting with WR Grace and Dubois Chemical in Cincinnati. Rich has been actively involved with local boards, supporting area economic development, town and gown relationships and fundraising.
Rich has two grown children and is a trailing grandfather. Though he resides in Florida, Rich spends much of his time in Seattle with his son’s family. Rich feels fortunate to have met Drs. Russell Van Gelder and Jennifer Chao, who provide his care and treatment at the UW Medicine Eye Institute.
Dr. Melvin and Nanette Freeman
Melvin Freeman, M.D., FACS, a Seattle native, is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine. He completed his training in ophthalmology at Barnes Hospital/Washington University and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School. He was in the private practice of ophthalmology in Seattle and was a volunteer clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of Washington. In his retirement he has devoted his time to physician continuing medical education accreditation, allied health education and simulation education for members of the health care team. He has served as president of three national medical organizations, a local religious institution, and as Mayor Pro-Tem and Councilperson for his local community.
Cynthia Francis Gensheimer grew up in Schenectady, New York, and received a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in Economics from UCLA. She has analyzed tax policy for the Congressional Budget Office, taught economics at Vassar College, and volunteered extensively in her children’s schools. Over the years, she held numerous positions in the PTA, including legislative liaison in Kansas City, and wrote Raising Funds for Your Child’s School. Cynthia has been active in Jewish community affairs, and over the past several years has been writing about nineteenth century women’s benevolent work. A daughter of hers, now a college student, has been treated for uveitis by Dr. Van Gelder, and her son and daughter-in-law are completing their training as physicians at the University of Washington. After living in Kansas City for many years, Cynthia and her husband now live in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Sen. Cyrus Habib
Cyrus Habib represents Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Medina, Clyde Hill, and the Points Communities in the Washington State Senate. In 2012, Habib was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives, making him the first and only Iranian American Elected Official to hold a state office in the United States. Habib was recently named one of the “40 Under 40 Political Rising Stars of 2014” by the Washington Post and was named one of “12 State Legislators to Watch in 2014” by Governing Magazine. Habib was elected by his Senate colleagues to serve as whip in the Democratic Caucus leadership team. Senator Habib is the Community Relations Liaison at Perkins Coie, the region’s largest private law firm, where he previously practiced as a Corporate Associate for four years. He is the key contact for civic, diverse, cultural and philanthropic interests and leadership for the firm’s Seattle and Bellevue offices.
Originally from China, James moved to Knoxville, Tennessee with his family in his teens. Later, James decided to move to Seattle to pursue a degree in Economics and Mathematics at the University of Washington. While completing his degree, James was involved in the University of Washington Finance Committee, University of Washington Economics Research, and he founded a successful technology start-up company, called 1car1price.com.
During college, James spent two years working for Wells Fargo, and was a 2014 top salesperson in Washington. He is currently working for Morgan Stanley, and he continues to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions, through his second start-up company, HL Language Services.
In his leisure time, James enjoys travel, fitness and tasting cuisine from different cultures. James strongly believes in the UW Medicine Eye Institute’s mission to eliminate suffering from blinding eye disease. He wants to be part of the journey to help advance patient care, research and training opportunities for ophthalmologists in our region and beyond.
Jim is a lifetime resident of Seattle, graduating from Seattle Public Schools and the University of Washington in Business and Law. He entered the UW in 1952 on a full athletic scholarship, ending up as Captain of the Track Team and the holder of several records. Upon graduating from Law School in 1959, Jim joined the Seattle law firm now named PerkinsCoie. He became Managing Partner in the 1980s, and held that position as PerkinsCoie became the largest law firm in the Pacific Northwest. Jim’s law practice has been primarily business and tax. For several years he served as chairman of the Firm’s General Business Practice Group, and served as a Bar Examiner and as Chairman of the Taxation Section of the State Bar Association. Jim retired from PerkinsCoie in 2003, but still maintains his office there.
In his free time, Jim and his wife, Peggy, enjoy hiking and mountain climbing, back-country skiing and ice climbing. Jim has climbed in the Northwest since 1967, and he and Peggy have climbed over 50 peaks in Canada, and have hiked in Norway, the Dolomites, the Pyrenees, the Maritime Alps, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, France, Spain, Switzerland and Croatia. In 1998 Jim and Peggy hiked the entire 2650 mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada.
During her tenure at Microsoft, Kerrie has tackled several difficult business problems including developing supply chains, running a global program management office, and serving as Chief of Staff for Accessibility. Today, she’s working on her biggest challenge yet: how to ensure Microsoft technology and services are accessible for every person on the planet. Kerrie’s team’s ultimate goal is to increase employability for people with disabilities. Kerrie believes that technology plays a critical role in leveling the playing field in the workforce and empowering fully engaging experiences broadly.
Camille and her husband, David, have two wonderful sons as well as a terrific guide dog, Brietta. Camille has had chronic eye disease her whole life and lost her sight three years ago. Because of this, she has always been interested in research, particularly involving stem cells. For her and others like her in the non-profit organization she helped start, Vision Loss Connections, the research being done at UW and elsewhere is their only opportunity for sight. Loss of sight has not held her back from being an active person and her goal is to help others live full and meaningful lives.
Jack is a native Seattleite, born on Capitol Hill in 1958. He was educated in local private and public schools, graduating from high school in 1976 and from the University of Washington in 1980 with a B.A. degree in accounting. Jack followed his dream of working in New York City and then London with various positions of financial and management responsibility. Returning to Seattle after 10 years, Jack took a position with Microsoft Corp., eventually rising to the position of assistant treasurer, and later started a division of Quellos, a local investment management firm. Throughout this time he and his wife Pam dedicated themselves to raising their two sons, Jack and Will.
Robert E. Kalina, MD
Dr. Kalina is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School and the ophthalmology residency program of the University of Oregon Hospitals and Clinics. After service in the United States Air Force and further training in retinal diseases and surgery in San Francisco and Boston, he joined the faculty of the University of Washington Department of Ophthalmology in 1967.
Leonard Klorfine graduated from Temple University with a B.S. Ed. in Economics before attending the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University Graduate School. Mr. Klorfine worked as a secondary school teacher for five years in Philadelphia before becoming a stock broker for Merrill Lynch for another five years. While a broker, he co-founded a company then known as Ulstrasonic Systems Corporation which developed the first electronic stock ticker and retrieval system and the first electronic display ticker system. The company eventually went public and was later bought by General Telephone and Electronics Corporation.
Norma E. Klorfine
Norma, originally from Philadelphia, attended Pennsylvania State University, as an education and journalism major, and worked in marketing and advertising. Most of her adult life has been devoted to non-profits, including board positions, with an emphasis on marketing, retailing and development. She was President of the Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which raised between a half million and a million dollars a year, and chaired the renowned Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, during which time she was an ex-officio member of the Museum's Board, as well as on the Indian and Himalayan Art Curatorial Committee of the Museum. She also was a docent in historic homes in Philadelphia as well the Museum of Art And Design in NYC. Locally, she has served as a board member of IslandWood, the Environmental Learning Center on Bainbridge Island, the Bellevue Arts Museum and PRATT Fine Arts Center.
Christopher & Alida Latham
Christopher is retired from a 40 year career in information systems management and consulting. His work ranged from national financial institutions to, finally, the University of Washington. He remains active as a frequent world traveler who is also a supporter of both local and international non-profit organizations. His education includes a B.A. in anthropology and graduate study in computer science.
Lane has lived in Washington her whole life and has held leadership positions at University of Washington for most of her career. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the UW and her M.A. in Organization Leadership from Gonzaga University.
Nancy was born in the San Francisco bay area and attended the University of Washington, where she earned a BFA in printmaking in 1974. She has studied etching at Atelier 17 and glass fusing and slumping at the Pilchuck Glass School. Nancy’s sculptures incorporate a variety of materials including glass, forged steel, stone and photography. She is shown in several galleries across the United States, and is represented in many public and private collections nationally and internationally.
Richard P. Mills, M.D., MPH
Dr. Mills is a graduate of Yale University School of Medicine and the University of Washington ophthalmology residency and School of Public Health. His fellowships in neuro-ophthalmology and glaucoma were in San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C. He was professor and acting chair of ophthalmology at UW and chair at the University of Kentucky before entering private practice of glaucoma in Seattle in 2003. He is a past-president of both the Washington State and American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), emeritus director of the American Board of Ophthalmology, past secretary of the American Glaucoma Society, and former trustee of the Washington State Medical Association. He is currently chair of EyeCare America, the public service program of the AAO, and is chief medical editor of EyeNet, the clinical newsmagazine of the AAO. He and his wife Karen live in Madrona, close to their three daughters and seven grandchildren.
Fred Minifie is professor emeritus of the Speech and Hearing Sciences Department at the University of Washington where he served as department chairman. He is currently developing a multi-media textbook on Speech Production for use with tablet. He has been an active member of the University Lions Club for 34 years and currently serves as Zone Chairman for the Seattle area Lions Clubs and program chairman for the University Lions Club. For the past four years he has chaired Lions CARE programs that raise money to support needy families in Bolivia and in Ecuador.
Richard S. Munsen, JR, MD
Dr. Munsen received his M.D. with Honors from the University of Iowa in 1972. He served in the United States Air Force as a general medical officer in Thailand for one year and at McChord AFB in Tacoma for one year. He completed a residency in ophthalmology at the University of Michigan, followed by a fellowship in Vitreoretinal Surgery at the University of Iowa. He was in private practice in Seattle at Swedish Hospital from 1980 until 2006, and was the founding partner of Vitreoretinal Associates in Seattle.
Thomas (Tom) Olson
Tom Olson is a third generation Seattleite and has both a BA in Economics and a JD from the University of Washington. Other than two years in the Army, he has never wandered far from home. Upon graduation from law school, Tom joined his father in the law practice and continues an active practice 48 years later. Tom has served on boards and leadership positions for Helpline House, a Bainbridge Island social service agency, the Bainbridge Library and the Greater Northwest Chapter of the National MS Society. He continues to serve on the UW Department of Economics Visiting Committee, the Northwest Kidney Centers Foundation and is assistant Chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia.
Ernest J. Pearson
Ernest is the founder of Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services - Central Valley, specializing in real estate brokerage and development consulting in California’s Central Valley. He attended the University of Washington and John F. Kennedy University in the Bay Area, and holds a degree in Marketing Management.
Ron C. Peck has worked around the globe for Fortune 500 companies as a sales and marketing executive in the Healthcare, Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology. Since returning to the UW from an assignment in Switzerland, Ron has devoted his personal and professional life to the formation and management of health and wellness non-profits.
Rahel was raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland before moving out to Seattle in 2007 to pursue a B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing. In 2016, Rahel left her role as a program manager for Amazon Kindle after having her son. She now spends the majority of her time reciting the alphabet, reading any book about our solar system and pretending to be a polar bear.
Rahel has been a patient at the Eye Institute for almost a decade. She started seeing Dr. Van Gelder for uveitis when she was a student. Rahel doesn’t believe she would have her vision today if it wasn’t for the incredible care and insight of her UW Medicine Eye Institute doctors. Her goal is to help more people have the opportunity to preserve their vision by boosting awareness of the Eye Institute and engaging with local leaders in community meetings through the greater Seattle area.
Rahel, her husband, Scott, and their son live in Ballard.
Kelly (Pelligrini) Yamaichi
Born in Sacramento, CA, Kelly Pelligrini attended California State University, Sacramento and received her JD from Loyola University, Los Angeles. After 24 years of service with US Surgical (now owned by Medtronic), she retired in 2011. Kelly was the former VP of Sales for the Western Region, and she finished her career creating an education and training field program for surgeons and residents. Kelly currently serves as a board member for the Society of University Surgeons.
Walter Rotkis, MD
Dr. Walter Rotkis started practice in Seattle after doing fellowships at Swedish Hospital Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, and the University of California in San Francisco.
Graham & Brenda Siddall
Graham and Brenda met at Aberdeen University in the UK, where Brenda was studying for a degree in Physiology and Graham was completing a Ph.D. in Natural Philosophy (Physics). In 1976, Graham was awarded a Lindemann Fellowship to work on the NASA/Stanford Gyro Relativity Experiment and they moved to California. After several years at Stanford, Graham went on to work at Hewlett Packard Labs and then moved east to work in New York and Boston, eventually returning to Silicon Valley in 1988, where he joined a small private company, Tencor Instruments, which went public in 1992. In July 1999 he joined Credence Systems, a semiconductor test equipment company, as its President and CEO and then later, as Chairman of the Board, before retiring in October 2005.
Phillip S. Stein
For 27 years, Phillip was the owner and CEO of a chain of H&E Do-It-Yourself Centers and H&E Home Centers in Victorville, California. During his time as CEO, Phillip grew the company to more than 500 employees and 7 retail stores. Since selling the business in 2008 and retiring, Phillip has acted as a family and start-up business consultant, serving industries such as interior design, candy manufacturing, cement recycling, casket manufacturing, medical equipment, and cable television. Phillip has an MBA from the University of Southern California, as well as Harvard Business School training. Phillip has held various Leadership and Board Member positions at organizations such as the Micro Surgical Foundation (New York), Executive Service Corps (California), Jewish Federation (Seattle) and The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Washington State).
Robert J. Stevens
Robert J. Stevens retired from Novartis/Alcon Laboratories at the end of March 2012, just short of 35 years of service. For the last 23 years he was head of research and design for surgical products in the field of ophthalmology. During this time, the technology Alcon brought to the market significantly impacted the practice of medicine. Robert graduated from the University of Washington in 1975 with a master’s in clinical microbiology. His early work experience was at Harborview Medical Center as a microbiologist. Originally from Seattle, Robert migrated to Texas, and is now happy to be back home.
Russell Van Gelder, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Van Gelder was born and raised in and around New York City. He attended Stanford University, earning his bachelor's degree in biological sciences. Dr. Van Gelder remained at Stanford for his M.D. and Ph.D. (neuroscience) and completed his medical internship at Stanford University Hospitals. He completed his ophthalmology residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, and his fellowship in uveitis at the Barnes Retina Institute.
Dr. Van Gelder served on the faculty of Washington University's department of ophthalmology and visual sciences for 10 years, where he held the Bernard Becker professorship. In 2008, Dr. Van Gelder moved to the University of Washington, where he is currently the Boyd K. Bucey Memorial Chair, professor and chairman of the department of ophthalmology and director of the UW Medicine Eye Institute.
Dr. Van Gelder is an active clinician-scientist. His NIH-funded laboratory has been at the forefront of two areas of research: non-visual ocular photoreception and molecular diagnostics of ocular inflammatory disease. He is author of more than 100 papers, articles, book chapters and books. Dr. Van Gelder maintains a busy referral uveitis practice and is actively involved in resident education.
Dr. Van Gelder is past president of the American Uveitis Society and serves on the American Academy of Ophthalmology as Council vice chair. He has been recognized with several prestigious awards, including the inaugural Becker/AUPO/RPB Clinician-scientist award, RPB Career Development Award, Culpeper Foundation Clinician-Scientist Award, and the Burroughs-Wellcome Translational Scientist Award.
He lives with his wife Suzy and their teenage children on Mercer Island. In his free time, he enjoys skiing and hiking in the Pacific Northwest.
Emeritus CAB Members
- Claire Angel
- Mark Bathum
- Barbara Bedell
- Joan Bergy
- Tina Bueche
- Kevin Callaghan
- Leigh Fenneman
- Dennis Evans
- Leigh Fenneman
- Catherine McCallum Hayner
- James Hayner
- Dan Hunter
- Irene Hunter
- James Premo
- Suzanne Ragen
To learn more about our community engagement and outreach opportunities, please contact Savannah Ledgerwood at 206.221.4769 or email@example.com.