Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award has been instituted in memory of Dr. G. Venkataswamy, Founder, Aravind Eye Hospitals, who made enduring contributions to the world of ophthalmology. The award recognizes and honors individuals, who through their work have significantly contributed towards the goal of eliminating needless blindness in the community.

Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award 2023

Prof. Astrid E. Fletcher

The fifteenth Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was conferred on Prof. Astrid E. Fletcher, an active researcher, has facilitated holistic and systematic changes within the healthcare systems in the UK, Europe, and India through her research findings. Her contributions in various capacities and roles have fostered improvements in global health.

Throughout her extensive research career, Astrid focused on studying the older population, screening for common disabilities and conditions, with a particular emphasis on hypertension treatment and ophthalmic epidemiology, primarily cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Her studies have encompassed both the aetiology and health service utilisation related to these conditions across the UK, Europe, and India.

Astrid has contributed her expertise to the World Health Organization as an expert advisor, notably in areas related to cardiovascular diseases and the prevention of blindness. She was also actively involved in various societies, editorial boards of scientific journals and data monitoring committees for clinical trials

Awardees of previous years....

2022 - Mr. Nagarajan

The fourteenth Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was conferred on Mr. Nagarajan is an honorary advisor to many eye care organisations. Trained as an engineer, he started his professional career with the Indian Railways. He was the Regional Director in India for the international charity, Sightsavers International for more than a decade and has been serving on the board of directors of Seva Foundation, USA for more than two decades. He took ardent efforts to mentor eye hospitals across the world to build sustainable eye care programmes. His prudence and wisdom have guided thousands of eye care professionals in their fight against blindness.

2021- Dr. Narsing A Rao

Aravind Eye Care System honored Dr. Narsing A Rao, Grace and Emery Beardsley Professor of Ophthalmology and Co-Director, Roski Eye Institute, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles with the Dr.G.Venkataswamy Memorial Award 2021on October 1. The award was given in recognition of his contribution towards teaching, training and improving the quality and outcomes of uveitis care in Aravind and worldwide. Dr. Rao delivered the Dr.G.Venkataswamy Memorial Oration on ‘Role of RPE in the modulation of intraocular inflammation, infection and lymphomas – Clinical implications.’

At the function held virtually, Dr.R.D.Ravindran, Chairman, Aravind Eye Care System (AECS) delivered the welcome address. Dr.P.Namperumalsamy, Chairman Emeritus, AECS presented the award to Dr. Rao in the presence of Dr.G.Natchiar, Director Emeritus,  AECS; Dr.R.D.Ravindran; Mr. Thulasiraj Ravilla, Director-Operations, AECS And Dr.S.R.Rathinam, Chief, Uveitis Services, Aravind-Madurai. Dr.G.Natchiar presented the citation.  Dr. J. Martin Heur, Chair, Ophthalmology Department, USC-Roski Eye Institute handed over the award and citation to Dr. Rao.

2020 - Dr. David F Chang

The twelveth Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was conferred on Dr David F Chang, a world-renowned cataract surgeon and clinical professor at University of California, San Francisco. He has imparted fine surgical skills to ophthalmologists around the world. He has been very supportive of humanitarian work in eye care in the developing world. Dr. Chang has been named in a very biennial list of the TOP 100 most influential people in ophthalmology, as voted by the international readership of The Ophthalmologist. He has authored several text books which have helped the current generation of ophthalmologists to significantly refine their surgical techniques. A key opinion leader in ophthalmology, Dr. Chang rallied with regulatory authorities and ophthalmic societies to include flash sterilization to reduce waste and improve operating room efficiency based on Aravind’s practices and outcomes.  At the award ceremony held on October 1, Dr. Chang delivered the oration titled “Lessons learnt from the world’s greatest team of cataract surgeons”.

2019 - Dr. William B Stewart

The eleventh Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was conferred on Dr. William B Stewart, a renowned Oculoplastic Surgeon and former Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, California Pacific Medical Center on October 1, 2019. Inspired by Aravind, at the peak of his career as an ophthalmologist, he decided to leave surgery and started exploring the establishment of an integrative medical programme. He ended up co-founding the Institute for Health and Healing (IHH) at California Pacific Medical Center, San Farncisco which combined the benefits of modern medicine with an integrative approach. At the award ceremony held on October 1, Dr. Stewart delivered the oration titled, “More than meets the eye: The Legacy of Dr. V.”

2018 - Prof Fred C Munson

 The tenth Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was conferred on Prof Fred C Munson, a retired Professor of Hospital Management, University of Michigan on October 1, 2018. Fred first came to Aravind in June 1981 as a volunteer with his wife Mary Munson. Since then, the couple visited Aravind literally every year, sometimes more than once. Fred’s insights have helped Aravind develop its strategic approaches which are now being shared extensively with partner institutions. He can be credited with initiating several breakthrough discussions that have led to radical developments at Aravind. He played an instrumental role in developing India’s first Master’s Course in Hospital Management (MHM) which was offered by the Madurai Kamaraj University. In the oration that Fred titled as Exploring the Edges, he fcosued on the future of Aravind’s growth.

2017 - Dr. Alfred Sommer

The nineth Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was conferred on Dr.Alfred Sommer on October 1, 2017 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the prevention of needless blindness in the developing world.  Dr.Sommer is an inaugural Johns Hopkins University Gilman scholar, a Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Service Professor, and Dean Emeritus of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr.Sommer’s research interests include outcomes assessment; blindness prevention strategies; child survival; and the growing interface between medicine and public health. He delivered the Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Oration titled, An ophthalmic-public health journey.

2016 – Dr. Suzanne S Gilbert

The eighth Dr.G.Venkataswamy Memorial Award was presented to Dr.Suzanne S Gilbert on October 1, 2016. Dr.Suzanne Gilbert is a leading international expert in the field of eye care and blindness prevention. A public health specialist with over four decades of experience, Dr. Gilbert has spent her career designing and implementing eye care service delivery systems for some of the world’s poorest communities in Asia, Africa and Latin America.  Dr.Suzanne delivered the Dr.G.Venkataswamy Memorial Oration titled, Compassion in action: Living a life of service.

2015 – Prof Allen Foster

The seventh Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was presented to Prof Allen Foster on October 1, 2015. Prof Allen Foster is a renowned name in the realm of global eye care for more than thirty years. His contributions mainly focused on prevention and treatment of blindness and providing easy access to health services for persons with disabilities. Dr. Foster in his Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Oration titled Leadership: Relevance to Eye Health, beautifully took the audience through the life of Dr. V as he explained the essentials of leadership.

2014 – Dr. Gullapalli N Rao

The sixth Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was presented to Dr. Gullapalli N Rao on October 1, 2014. Dr. Rao’s interests largely centred on the study of corneal endothelium, neurobiology of cornea, keratoprosthesis and cornea transplantation. He founded the L V Prasad Eye Hospital in Hyderabad, considered to be among the top eye care institutes in the world. Dr. Rao delivered the Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Oration titled, Venkataswamy’s vision – Conquer blindness.

2013 – Dr. Ramachandra Pararajaegaram

The fifth Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was conferred on Dr. Ramachandra Pararajasegaram on October 1, 2013 in recognition of his enduring contribution towards the prevention of global blindness. Dr. Para is a founder member of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness along with Sir John Wilson and served as its President from 1994 to 1999, when VISION 2020: The Right to Sight was launched jointly with the WHO. He volunteered with Sight Savers in many countries and his association with the organisation resulted in implementation of several sight restoring projects, averting the personal tragedy of blindness to many. Dr. Pararajasegaram gave oration titled, A saga for sight: My experiences in international eye health.

2012 – Dr. Alan Lee Robin

The fourth Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was presented to Dr. Alan Lee Robin on October 1, 2012 in appreciation of his outstanding and dedicated contribution to the cause of ophthalmology and prevention of blindness in the developing world in general and India in particular. Dr.Robin is one of the reputed glaucoma specialists renowned the world over. His thinking has had significant impact the way glaucoma has been practised in the last three decades. He delivered the Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Oration titled, Combating glaucoma in resource-poor communities: The way ahead.

2011 – Dr. Marilyn J Miller

The third Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was presented to Dr. Marilyn J Miller on October 1, 2011. Dr. Miller has a longstanding participation in international ophthalmology especially in educational activities in India and Nigeria and also a number of countries in Asia and South America. Dr. Miller’s Dr. Venkataswamy Memorial Oration was titled International collaboration, mentoring and teaching–a personal view.

2011 – Dr. John P Whitcher

The second Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was conferred on Dr. John P Whitcher on January 8, 2011 for his outstanding and ground-breaking work in the field of corneal disorders. Dr. Whitcher’s main interests are in epidemiology and public health approach to prevention of corneal blindness. He delivered the Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Oration on the topic, A tribute to Dr. G. Venkataswamy and Aravind Eye Hospital: A beacon of sight for 35 years.

2010 – Dr. Morton F Goldberg

The inaugural Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was presented to Dr. Morton F Goldberg on January 9, 2010 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to vision sciences and his selfless efforts towards eliminating needless blindness in the community. Dr. Goldberg has contributed significantly to our understanding of sickle cell retinopathy, ocular manifestations of sickle cell haemoglobinopathy, retinal vascular diseases, vascular occlusions, diabetic retinopathy and genetics of eye diseases. Dr. Goldberg delivered the Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Oration on the topic, Persistent fetal vasculature.