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.

Awardee for this year....

Dr. David F Chang


Aravind, this year honored 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 the humanitarian work in eye care in the developing world. Dr. Chang has been named in 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. In appreciation of his contribution towards teaching, training and improving quality and outcomes of cataract care worldwide, Aravind Eye Care System chose him for the Dr. G Venkataswamy Memorial Award 2020.

The award ceremony and the subsequent oration by Dr. David Chang was conducted virtually and live streamed through Aravind’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9JEeob48zw). The award was presented by Mr G Srinivasan, President-GOVEL Trust and Dr P Namperumalsamy, Chairman Emeritus, Aravind Eye Care System in the presence of Dr R D Ravindran, Chairman of Aravind Eye Care System. Dr. Geoff Tabin, a mutual friend of Aravind and Dr. Chang, presented the trophy and citation on behalf of Aravind. Dr. Chang delivered the Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Oration on the topic, Lessons learnt from the world’s greatest team of cataract surgeons.

Awardees of previous year....

2019 – Dr. William 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 elivered 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. Gaullapalli N Rao 


The sixth Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Award was presented to Dr. Gaullapalli 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 SightSavers 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.