“You’ll be drilled, fried, boiled here.” Dr. Prajna Venkatesh’s clear voice rings through Aravind’s conference room where the institute’s 2009 class of postgraduate students in ophthalmology are gathered. “But we’re interested in you. We care about you and about making you shapers of research, education, systems, and processes.”

In Aravind’s first decade as a government-recognized postgraduate institute (which began in 1982), the organization’s overwhelming focus was on eye care service delivery and outreach camps. Teaching was done in an ad hoc manner, squeezed in while attending to the urgency of service delivery. Since the turn of the millennium, however, Aravind has increasingly refined its teaching ...

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