In 1983, Stephen established Surgical Laser Technologies and Laser Centres of America (later LCA-Vision Inc.) in 1985. These companies supported hospitals? initial integration of lasers and minimally invasive surgeries across all specialties. He then expanded into laser eye surgery, and started one of the very first clinics in North America. The result was a public company boasting the largest number of clinics in North America, which offered laser vision corrective surgery. Stephen focused on ensuring the safe and effective use of the technology, the provision of less invasive surgery, and alternatives to spectacles and contact lenses.
Although he built a $1.2-billion company within 10 years, making money had never been his main driver; providing effective, better healthcare and quality patient care was. The financial rewards were reinvested in the foundation he established to support ? many anonymously ? various charities worldwide. Stephen and Sandra?s philanthropy follows the same principles they adopt in healthcare and business: There have to be measurable, deliverable outcomes.
Stephen Joffe has pioneered in medicine and academia, has excelled in business and is a true philanthropist. He has published 179 scientific and peer-reviewed articles, authored or edited nine books on lasers, and wrote one on Andreas Vesalius, a 16th Century pioneer of modern anatomy.
This is an abridged and edited version of the article written by Camilla Bath and published in the Wits Review, July 2010 edition