Dr. Klasko receives Visionary Award at Dining in Dark benefit

To read the St. Petersburg Times account of the event and watch the video, click here.

Dr. Stephen K. Klasko

Dr. Stephen Klasko, CEO for USF Health and dean of the College of Medicine, was one of two physicians honored at the Foundation Fighting Blindness’s first Tampa Bay Dining in the Dark event Tuesday evening, March 2.

Dr. Klasko and Dr. James Gills, director of the St. Luke’s Cataract & Laser Institute, received the Visionary Leader Awards for their commitment to the Foundation’s mission of making significant impact in vision research, eye health and the lives of those affected by retinal degenerative disease.

More than 200 people attended the event at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg, where they donned face masks covering their eyes and the lights were dimmed before they began their meal. It was a unique sensory awareness experience that took guests on a journey of taste, sound and touch … all in the dark.

Among the guests were Dr. Jay Wolfson, distinguished service professor of public health and medicine at USF Health, and his son Alan, a USF medical student. They sat at a table with Dr. Peter Pavan, chair of the USF Department of Ophthalmology.

“This was an ‘eye opening’ experience in a real and virtual way,” Dr. Wolfson said. “We felt and heard and saw the exceptional challenges that vision loss can create for any and all of us, the emerging treatments that offer real hope, and the exceptional leadership in our community in Dr. Gills and Dr. Klasko that is making the vision of breakthrough research and quality care possible.”