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February 1, 2013
Leonard Apt, MD, the founder of academic pediatric ophthalmology and Professor of Opthalmology at UCLA passed away on February 1, 2013, after a brief illness. Dr. Apt was born in Philadelphia on June 28, 1922. He entered college at the age of 14 at the University of Pennsylvania, completed medical school at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, then trained in pediatrics, pathology, and ophthalmology at Harvard, the University of Cincinnati, and the National Institutes of Health. He came to UCLA in 1961 and has resided in Los Angeles since then. He was a founder of the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA His illustrious career was devoted to preventing blindness in children. He was co-founder and co-director of the UCLA Center to Prevent Childhood Blindness, a preschool vision screening program. He invented diagnostic tests (the Apt test is used worldwide in newborns), surgical instruments, and identified new diseases. With his student and colleague, Dr. Sherwin Isenberg, he invented an inexpensive antiseptic eye drop that dramatically decreased the incidence of blindness in children in developing countries. Dr. Apt received hundreds of prestigious awards, including the American Academy of Pediatrics Lifetime Achievement Award, Distinguished Alumnus Award from Jefferson Medical College, UCLA Alumni Association Award for Excellence and the UCLA Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award. In his honor, the American Academy of Pediatrics created the annual "Leonard Apt Lecture." In 2010 he was selected National Physician of the Year by a vote among all USA physicians. He was also a philanthropist. He was a founder of the John Wooden UCLA Athletic Center, a member of the UCLA Coach's Round Table, and a true Bruin Fan. He endowed both a Chair and Fellowship at UCLA Opthalmology. He supported concerts at UCLA Royce Hall, and donated to the Hammer Museum of Graphic Arts, and to UCLA student scholarships. He was expert in fine food and wines. Dr. Apt's three sisters preceded him in death. He is survived by two nephews Kenneth Rappaport of San Diego and Robert Hersh of Thousand Oaks. He is also survived by hundreds of colleagues, students, friends and patients who benefited greatly from his wisdom, work, and humanism.
Services are on Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. at Hillside Memorial Park, 6001 West Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles 90045, phone number: (310) 641-0707. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Jules Stein Institute at UCLA, Pediatric Opthalmology.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Feb. 3 to Feb. 5, 2013