October is always a busy month at Aravind, and 2011 was no exception. This year, with the inauguration of the Dr. Venkataswamy Memorial Retreat Center on October 2, Gandhi birthday, the guest house in Madurai was bursting at the seams with well-wishers from across the globe. What a vivid reminder of how many people have been touched and changed by their encounters with Dr. V and with Aravind!
The visitor book at the guest house reads like a Who in international healthcare and business. Involving others in his life work was critical to Dr. V vision of eliminating needless blindness. A phrase frequently heard within the corridors of Aravind is build the competition. Sharing experience and best practices is core to the Aravind philosophy. There are no trade secrets. And, throughout the years, Aravind has created competitors in Egypt, Bangladesh, China, Rwanda, Nigeria, Paraguay, and now San Francisco, to name just a few.
For their book, Infinite Vision: How Aravind Became the World Greatest Business Case for Compassion, authors Pavithra Mehta and Suchitra Shenoy interviewed many of the people who have been touched by Aravind. We are pleased to have an interview with the authors in this month newsletter. You can also read an excerpt from the book, Click here. One hundred percent of the authors royalties are being gifted to Aravind sight-restoring work.
Enjoy and Happy Diwali!
The Board of Aravind Eye Foundation
Spotlight on Infinite Vision: How Aravind Became the World Greatest Business Case for Compassion. Interview with authors Pavithra Mehta and Suchitra Shenoy
Infinite Vision was a labour of love for authors Pavithra Mehta and Suchitra Shenoy. Here they share what inspired them to write the book and why it has relevance for us all.
What makes the story of Aravind and Dr. V relevant outside of India, outside of eye care?
In a world where health care costs are spiraling out of control, and social businesses are on the rise, Aravind's self-reliance,low cost, high quality focus, scale and selfless mission, turn heads. Simultaneously, the story of its founder -- the retired surgeon with crippled fingers who built the largest eye care system on the planet against the odds -- captures hearts.
Their story is perched at a crowded intersection straddling the fields of blindness prevention, social entrepreneurship, global health, emerging markets models, sustainable business, spirituality and family enterprise.
It is a story that broadly relevant because of all that it yokes together-- this model integrates innovation with compassion, business principles with service, and outer transformation with inner change. But thats not all.
One of our early reviewers was a professional editor who wrote in that after she read the draft manuscript she wanted to share it with her mother, her yoga teacher and her hairdresser. Not your typical target audience for a business book! But thats the power of Dr. V and Aravind story because ultimately its about the utterly magnificent possibilities we carry as individuals and as a collective. In that sense its a story that really belongs to everyone.
To read the complete interview, click here.
3-year matching grant received from board member
Thanks to the generosity of one of our board members, Aravind Eye Foundation has received a three-year matching grant of $100,000 a year. AEF will use the grant monies to extend LAICO healthcare management program to hospitals in the neediest areas. $15,000 a year will also be committed to the Ring of Hope, which provides treatment to children with retinoblastoma.
Dr. Marilyn Miller Receives Dr. G. Venkataswamy Endowment Oration Award
The third Dr. G. Venkataswamy Endowment Oration Award was presented to Dr. Marilyn T. Miller, Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Illinois, for her outstanding contributions in the field of pediatric ophthalmology. Dr. Miller was the first woman to serve as president of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and also the first woman board member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Miller has been involved with the Aravind Eye Care System for more than 20 years. She helped establish the Pediatric Eye Care services at Aravind-Madurai and mentored its chief, Dr. Vijayalakshmi (Viji). Most recently, Dr. Miller and Dr. Viji have been working on a study of infants with microphthalmia in an Indian rural community.
Updates on Aravind Initiatives in:
On September 15, Aravind inaugurated the rural vision center at Srivilliputtur, Tamil Nadu. A town of about 70,000 people, Srivilliputtur had no eye doctor. Now, two highly trained technicians provide vision screening and refractive services. A high speed Internet connection to the Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai allows patients to consult with an Aravind ophthalmologist.
The center was funded by Aravind Eye Foundation donor, The Liane Ginsberg Charitable Trust.
For more information on Aravind Community Outreach, please click here.
Capacity Building -- Healthcare Management
October Summit 2011 is the fifth annual series of workshops and consultations held in honor of Aravind founder, Dr. G. Venkataswamy. These events are held to deliberate the real issues relating to effective eye care programs and services and to find innovative solutions through sharing experiences and mutual consultation.
For more information on Aravind work in Healthcare Management, please click here.
Research and Education
Dr. Ravindran (CEO, Aravind), Dr. Jayanthi (Aravind-Pondicherry), and Mr. Thulasiraj (LAICO) were part of an international team investigating whether a deficiency in vitamin C can increase the risk of cataracts. The results of the study are reported in a leading medical journal, Ophthamology.
For more information on Aravind work in Research and Training, please click here.
Openings, Awards, and Achievements:
Opening of Nithyatha Retreat Center
On October 2, an international gathering of more than 800 inaugurated Nithyatha (which means perpetuity) a retreat center that celebrates the life and work of Dr.G.Venkataswamy
Chief architect Mr. Israel Gnanaraj has captured the essence of Dr. V in this magnificent architectural form. It is set in line with a Banyan tree planted by Dr. V. In the future the Banyan would hopefully grow and cover a larger circle than the building like the growing Aravind Eye care System. The center undoubtedly conveys the inner tranquility and irrepressible energy of Dr.V.
LAICO receives the FICCI Healthcare Award 2011.
The FICCI Healthcare Award 2011 was given to LAICO, in the category of Addressing Industry Issues at New Delhi. This award recognises LAICO innovative approach and the impact of addressing issues in the eye care industry such as lack of management capability and poor design of services through capacity building, focused training and research. Dr. Arun Sethi, Arunodhaya Charitable Trust, received the award on behalf of Aravind. This is the first award that LAICO receives in its mission of improving quality eye care services globally.