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Inventor-Optometrist Herbert Wertheim Joins Scripps Research Board of Directors

Wertheim has contributed greatly to public education, cultural arts and community healthcare to the southern Florida community for over 50 years in the service.

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Inventor, optometrist and philanthropist Herbert Wertheim has joined the Scripps Research Board of Directors. He is pictured here with chemist Peter Schultz, President and CEO of Scripps Research.
Inventor, optometrist and philanthropist Herbert Wertheim has joined the Scripps Research Board of Directors. He is pictured here with chemist Peter Schultz, President and CEO of Scripps Research.

(PRESS RELEASE) JUPITER, FL — Herbert Wertheim, OD, DSc, MD (hc), an accomplished scientist, clinician, engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, has been named to the Board of Directors at Scripps Research. Active in service to the southern Florida community for over 50 years, Wertheim has contributed greatly to public education, cultural arts and community healthcare.

“We are honored to have Herbie join our Board,” says Peter Schultz, PhD, President and CEO of Scripps Research. “He brings strong business acumen and a passion for improving people’s lives. His interest in preventative medicine and extending healthspan aligns with many of the biomedical research interests at our institute.”

As an advocate for wellness and preventive medicine, Wertheim says he’s pleased to join the Scripps Research Board of Directors.

“Scripps Research aligns with much of the work that my foundation is doing, which is to help people maintain their daily health and live long, prosperous lives,” he says. “Working together, I believe we can seek to impact even more lives, as prevention is the best medicine.”

Wertheim began his medical career in Florida with a successful clinical practice in optometry and visual neurology. A constant tinkerer and inventor, he discovered a way to tint plastic eyeglass lenses and later produced a dye that absorbed ultraviolet light, thus helping prevent the development of macular degeneration and cataracts in millions of people. His inventions led to the founding of Brain Power Incorporated, now the world’s largest manufacturer of ophthalmic instruments, eyeglass lens tints and diagnostic products for eye care professionals. Many of the specialty lenses can ease the symptoms of neurological disorders such as epilepsy. Wertheim became a distinguished lecturer in physiological optics and optometry at Florida’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, considered the top-ranked eye hospital in the nation, and he was an adjunct professor of physics in the graduate program at the University of Miami, Florida.

After steadily building a fortune through investments in the stock market, Wertheim created the Dr. Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Family Foundation and set out to enact its motto: Making Life on Earth Better. The foundation has since donated millions of dollars to educational, cultural and healthcare organizations in his home state of Florida and around the world.

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Wertheim has long supported Florida International University in multiple leadership roles and was a key driver of the initiative to establish a medical school at the university. Today, the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, which focuses on integrating education, research and clinical care while overseeing broad community outreach programs, is a leader in transforming the health of its surrounding communities. On the opposite coast, at the University of California, San Diego, a substantial gift in 2019 from the Wertheim Family Foundation established the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. This school also aims to reach into the surrounding communities, especially underserved ones, in an effort to eliminate disparities in quality healthcare. Last fall, the Wertheim School of Public Health commenced its first year, offering a menu of doctoral, master’s and undergraduate degree programs.

Early in his academic career, Wertheim studied electrical and computer engineering at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and later became one of the first NASA engineers at Cape Canaveral. In honor of those studies, his family foundation made a $50 million gift to the university, which then created the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. In 2018, Wertheim received an Honorary Doctorate of Technology Degree from the University of Florida “for his dedication to solving the world’s problems through discovery and innovation.”

Wertheim has received many additional honors over the years in recognition of both his accomplishments and his generosity, including the 2011 Horatio Alger Award from the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. He has served on numerous local and national charitable boards, and in 2015, he and his wife, Nicole, joined the Giving Pledge, the philanthropic movement launched by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, in continuation of their contributions to philanthropic causes.

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