BLOOMINGTON, Ind: Indiana University’s Schools of Optometry and Medicine are creating a new academic exchange program – the Indo-US Exchange Program for Optometry and Ophthalmology – with four eye institutes and hospitals in India.
The two-year pilot program will provide the opportunity for IU School of Optometry residents to enhance postgraduate training with a month long trip to eye institutes and hospitals in Chennai, Mumbai and Hyderabad (India). In turn, eye care professionals from participating institutions in India will spend one month in the US visiting the IU School of Optometry in Bloomington and the Glick Eye Institute at the IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis.
The new exchange program builds on IU’s growing academic relationship with educational and research institutions in India. Last month, IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs announced a new partnership with the Administrative Staff College of India, and IU President Michael A. McRobbie, after leading an IU delegation to India in September-October last year, spoke on research collaboration between the two countries during the U.S. State Department’s US-India Higher Education Dialogue in Washington, D.C.
Partnerships already exist between Jindal Global University and SPEA, the Kelley School of Business and the IU Maurer School of Law, and IU also houses the Madhusudan and Kiran C. Dhar India Studies Program, which promotes original research and innovative teaching on all aspects of the Indian subcontinent.
Through IU’s participation in the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum-supported Khorana Program for Scholars, named after India-born, Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Hargobind Khorana, six Indian students are undertaking research at IU for 10 weeks this summer.
IU School of Optometry Dean Joseph A. Bonanno added that this type of exchange program is unique to optometric residencies and therefore is expected to attract individuals looking for a diverse experience.
Eight eye care professionals from India and eight IU optometry residents will participate in the exchange program during the first two years, at which point additional optometry and ophthalmology institutions within the US will be invited to join the IU program.
Participating institutions in India are Sankara Nethralaya, a nonprofit eye institute in Chennai, LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, and Hinduja Hospital and Shroff Eye Hospital, both in Mumbai.
Principal investigators for IU are Drs. Sarita Soni, Jeffrey Perotti (IU Optometry) and Louis Cantor (Glick Eye Institute).
Sarita Soni, professor of optometry and vice provost for research at IU Bloomington, said that the “future goals include the development of a long-term relationship facilitating the exchange of ideas on clinical care and the development of collaborative research in vision.”
IU and its Indian partners will provide about 70 percent of the estimated $410,000 cost of the two-year pilot program, with the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum providing the remaining support.
The Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, established under an agreement between the U.S. and India governments, is a not-for-profit society promoting collaborations in science, technology, engineering and biomedical research through interaction among government, academia and industry.