George Primbs, M.D., FACS, an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon who has conducted research on the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy and provides free eye examinations for people with diabetes and the medically underserved at the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute since 2005, has been presented the W.D. Sansum Award for distinguished service to the community.

The award is named for Dr. William D. Sansum who, in 1922, was the first physician in the United States to manufacture and administer lifesaving insulin to a patient with diabetes. Dr. Sansum went on to establish a nationally renowned clinic in Santa Barbara and created Sansum Diabetes Research Institute to carry on his legacy in diabetes research, education and care.

“Dr. Primbs exemplifies many remarkable qualities that Dr. Sansum possessed,” Executive Director Rem Laan said. “He is a brilliant physician and researcher, an expert in diagnosing diabetic retinopathy and is fully dedicated to his patients. He expresses great compassionate for those less fortunate and treats all patients with dignity and respect. He is an asset to Sansum Diabetes and the entire Santa Barbara community.”

Dr. Primbs received his medical degree at UCLA School of Medicine and completed his surgical internship at UCLA Hospital. He earned his ophthalmology degree at UCLA Hospital after serving as an eye surgeon and captain in the U.S. Air Force. He worked as an ophthalmologist in private practice in Santa Barbara from 1962 to 1995.

Dr. Primbs has been very active in nonprofit organizations and was a founding member of SEE International in 1974. He is a clinical professor of ophthalmology at Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA Medical Center and a researcher at the Neuroscience Institute at University of California. He has received many awards, including the Lions Sight and Hearing Award in 1994 and the Jules Stein Eye Institute Teaching Award at UCLA in 2003.

— Sarah Ettman-Sterner is the director of communications for the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute.