Janet P. Szlyk, Ph.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Janet Szlyk is President and CEO of The Chicago Lighthouse, a 117-year-old not-for-profit helping people who are blind, visually impaired, disabled and Veterans build confidence and independence. Since joining The Lighthouse in 2008, Dr. Szlyk has led the organization through a period of tremendous growth, particularly through the development of a number of Social Business Enterprises, which provide employment opportunities for clients and generate revenues to support the organization’s 40 programs and services.

During her tenure, Dr. Szlyk has also expanded The Lighthouse’s social service programs providing education, comprehensive vision care, independent living, employment services and independent living skills training for clients of all ages. In addition, Dr. Szlyk has fostered a culture of innovation within The Lighthouse, which has led to projects such as serving as the data collection center for a clinical trial of the world’s first wireless Intracortical Visual Prosthesis (ICVP) and the development of The Foglia Residences, a 76-unit, income-qualifying residential building for people with disabilities and Veterans. (The Foglia Residences is the first building in the United States designed specifically for people with visual impairments to be financed through Low Income Housing Tax Credits.)

Prior to joining The Chicago Lighthouse, Dr. Szlyk served as Professor and Director of the Low Vision Research Laboratory in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She was also a Professor in the school’s Psychology and Bioengineering Departments and was a Research Career Scientist within the U.S. Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Service. She currently maintains an Adjunct Professor position in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at UIC.

A highly respected research and scientist in the field of low vision, Dr. Szlyk has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications covering topics ranging from brain imaging of macular degeneration to defining the vision requirements necessary for everyday tasks to subtyping inherited retinal disease with psychophysical methods. Dr. Szlyk earned a Bachelor of Arts at Brown University, a doctorate at Fordham University, and completed post-doctoral training at The New York Lighthouse and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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