Tuesday, April 9, 2024

In early 2024, with the assistance of International Programs (IP), the University of Iowa (UI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in India.  We had the opportunity to sit down to discuss this MoU with Dr. Kanwal Matharu, assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the UI Carver College of Medicine.  

How did the partnership between the UI and Dr. Shroff's Charity Eye Hospital start?  

Last year, I did a global ophthalmology fellowship through Stanford University and the Himalayan Cataract Project. My mentor, Dr. Geoff Tabin, had previously collaborated with Dr. Virender Singh Sangwan, who is now based out of Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital.  Both are world-renowned surgeons, innovators, and global health pioneers.

Kanwal Matharu
Kanwal Matharu, MD

What are the next steps in this partnership?  

We have signed a MoU to facilitate the flow of trainees and faculty between institutions and enhance research collaborations. Thanks to Simran Sarin, cornea research fellow at the UI Carver College of Medicine, research has commenced. I am working on funding observerships for members of the Shroff team to visit Iowa.  Iowa Ophthalmology is world-renowned for the quality of education here, so they are excited to learn our best practices.

Currently, we are applying for Sarin to go to India. Members of the senior leadership team in our department are planning their trips to visit our partners in India.  

How does this partnership enrich the global experience of students and faculty in your department?  

Shroff’s has developed a multi-tiered system to deliver high-volume, high-quality subspecialty care to North India.  They have a cross-subsidy model, so in 2022, they performed 23,521 free surgeries, and 7,868 subsidized ones.  They also have a full molecular biology research institution on campus performing first-in-class basic science stem cell research, public health research, and everything in between.  

For our trainees to learn about these systems would be beneficial to reconceptualize how health care can be delivered to society and better understand and overcome the barriers our patients face.  

Can you tell us about the role that IP has played in this partnership?  

Dean Russ Ganim helped us with the MoU and coordinated our research collaboration with Nick Street, associate dean in the UI Tippe College of Business.  We hope IP will support the research associated with the project as it moves forward.


International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement.  IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.