Amy Gallant Sullivan is Executive Director and Co-Founder of TFOS™(www.tearfilm.org). Amy holds a Bachelor’s degree from Boston University in Mass Communication and Public Relations. She has lived in Boston, Rome, Buenos Aires and Barcelona and she is now based in Paris. Amy began her career in international business and branding with Fidelity Investments, where she developed public relations strategies US and South America markets. In January 2002, Amy helped launch and build the TFOS™, as it is today. Before starting TFOS, Amy worked with the technology and financial sectors. She consulted for dot.coms, providing public relations counsel. Prior to branding dot.coms, Amy managed the IBM Software International media relations account for Brodeur Worldwide. She was an agency representative and liason between IBM geographies. On the side of TFOS™, Amy is Co-Founder of the Italian & International Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.
GoINPHARMA™: Amy, what is TFOS™ and what has been the journey so far?
Amy Gallant Sullivan: TFOS™ is a world leader in eye health education. Dr. David A. Sullivan, of Schepens Eye Research Institute & Harvard Medical School, founded TFOS™ in Boston, a concept he envisioned while he was a graduate student at Dartmouth Medical School.
During the past several decades, a significant, international research effort has been directed towards understanding the composition and regulation of the preocular tear film. This effort has been motivated by the recognition that the tear film plays a critical role in maintaining corneal and conjunctival integrity, protecting against microbial challenge and preserving visual acuity. In addition, research has been stimulated by the knowledge that alteration or deficiency of the tear film, which occurs in innumerable individuals throughout the world, may lead to desiccation of the ocular surface, ulceration and perforation of the cornea, an increased incidence of infectious disease and potentially pronounced visual disability and blindness.
The dry eye disease, itself is an enormous unmet need that has indirect cost to US society of lost productivity estimated @ $55.8 billion. There are currently more than 120 clinical trials worldwide for dry eye treatments.
TFOS™ cross-pollinates biotech, life-sciences & tech by initiating entrepreneurialism with translational medicine to stimulate a global collaborative—forging bonds among basic scientists & clinicians, industry, inventors, investors and leaders. To promote further progress in this field of vision research, TFOS™ was created and incorporated as a non-profit organization. The purpose of this company is to:
Advance the research, literacy, and educational aspects of eye health and the scientific field of the tear film and ocular surface;
Organize and coordinate international conferences, meetings, workshops, seminars and events to promote better understanding of eye health;
Stimulate interactions among members, and attract new members with diverse disciplinary interests and expertise, including but not limited to basic scientists, academic clinicians, investors, inventors and industry representatives;
GoINPHARMA™: How is TFOS™ positioned within the scientific community and what are the main activities of the organization?
Amy Gallant Sullivan: The TFOS™ network includes basic scientists, academic clinicians and industry representatives, inventors, investors and patients originating from more than 90 countries. The society has published The TFOS International Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS™ 2007), The TFOS International Report on Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD 2011), The TFOS International Workshop on Contact Lens Discomfort (CLDW 2013) and the future sequel to The TFOS International Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS II™). TFOS™ also hosts international symposia & conferences and creates global campaigns to promote the importance of eye-health and the need for more innovative research. TFOS’ global collaboration among scientists, clinicians and industry professionals facilitates the action needed to help the world see better. More information about TFOS™ and these reports available at www.tearfilm.org
GoINPHARMA™: What is the mission of your organization and what does it mean being a member of the TFOS™
Amy Gallant Sullivan: TFOS’ main objective is to educate & disseminate information widely. We want everyone to be able to access and share TFOS knowledge, for free. Think ‘open source’ technology! All TFOS information is free.
TFOS’ global collaboration among scientists, clinicians and industry professionals seeks action needed to help the world see better.
TFOS membership is free of charge and includes:
Access to a global community
Connection with Members worldwide
Invitations to international symposia
Invitations to worldwide KOL events
Local & international networking
Members can be nominated for TFOS Workshops
Access to TFOS Reports:
The TFOS International Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS™ 2007), The TFOS International Report on Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD 2011), The TFOS International Workshop on Contact Lens Discomfort (CLDW 2013) and the future sequel to The TFOS International Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS II™).
Register to join TFOS : http://tearfilm.org/join.php
GoINPHARMA™: Now is the time to talk about the future… What are your projects and how do you envision the development of TFOS™
Amy Gallant Sullivan: For more than a decade, TFOS has played an important role in promoting the progress of vision research. In addition, TFOS activities have helped to promote increased international awareness of external eye diseases, enhance governmental funding for tear film and ocular surface research, stimulate the development of therapeutic drugs and diagnostic devices, and influence the design and conduct of clinical trials of novel treatments for ocular surface disorders. Looking at the present and future, TFOS aims to:
Educate, instruct and innovate by forging bonds & stimulating global collaborations among elite experts;
Inspire & Equip future leaders to identify, develop, and translate new discoveries into real world technologies used for patient care;
Empower experts to visualize and create the future of treatment and/or diagnosis of ocular surface disease.
One of our largest current initiatives, TFOS is planning the sequel to the original Dry Eye WorkShop (DEWS™): DEWS II™. DEWS II™ will update the definition, classification and diagnosis of dry eye disease and address its management and therapy.
This TFOS-organized Workshop will involve 110 experts from around the world. The Workshop participants will use an evidence-based approach and a process of open communication, dialogue, and transparency in order to achieve a global consensus concerning multiple aspects of dry eye disease. This TFOS report not only will redefine dry eye, but will significantly increase awareness of factors that may, and may not, contribute to the generation of the disease. Ideally TFOS will stimulate innovative research through its report in very important fields, such as Pathophysiology, Sex differences, Pain sensation, Epidemiology and tear film.
Sponsors of the TFOS DEWS II include Alcon, Shire, Allergan, Bausch & Lomb, Akorn, Dompé, Horus, Oculeve, TearLab and Laboratoires THEA.
This report will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and the TFOS DEWS II™ members will be authors. We anticipate that this evidence-based process may require more than 18 months to complete. The TFOS DEWS II™ will be, as with all TFOS™ Workshops, an international effort that will lead to a global consensus on dry eye disease. Preliminary Subcommittee summaries may be presented at the next TFOS™ Conference, which will occur from September 7 to 10, 2016, in Montpellier, France.
For further information
Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society
P.O. Box 130146
Boston, MA 02113 USA