Message from the CEO

Browse a collection of messages from Chicago Lighthouse President and CEO Dr. Janet Szlyk on what is happening around The Lighthouse.

Innovation is in The Lighthouse’s DNA

Summer 2024

Our ability to innovate to meet our community’s ever-changing needs is how we have thrived for 118 years and counting. It is also why so many people and organizations have looked to us as a model for their own programs and services.

It was innovative for us to provide jobs for people who were blind in the 1920s, and even more so when those jobs were assembling complex telephone switchboards—the height of technological innovation at the time. Advancements in care for premature babies led to increased postnatal conditions like retinopathy of prematurity; in response, The Lighthouse launched an in-home early education program to help these children learn to live in a world built for the sighted—long before there was a state-funded early intervention program.

More recently, our innovative spirit has focused on technology, both in the ways it can provide our clients with more confidence and independence and how it can help us better serve our clients. We consistently seek out partnerships with companies that use artificial intelligence to power assistive technology devices that help people with visual impairments live with confidence and independence. Our innovative spirit also fuels our low vision research, including working with pioneering engineers on the world’s first wireless brain implant that has provided rudimentary light perception to a participant who is totally blind.

Soon, we will unveil our latest innovation, The Foglia Residences. In addition to answering our community’s needs for accessible, affordable housing. this 76-unit building will include some of the latest technology and devices to help residents live in safe, secure homes.

Our innovative spirit is the reason The Chicago Lighthouse has been able to shine as a beacon of hope and possibility for 118 years, and why it will continue to shine for years to come. In that spirit, this issue of the Beam highlights some of the individuals and programs that embody our spirit of innovation and discovery and their limitless potential.

Janet P. Szlyk, Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer

Low Vision Research Laboratory

Research & Publications by Dr. Szlyk

Interviews with Dr. Szlyk

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