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Sheila K. West Professorship in Ophthalmology

School of Medicine

Established in 2019 by the Johns Hopkins Hospital

SHEILA WEST, PhD, was the El-Maghraby Professor of Preventive Ophthalmology and Vice Chair for Research at the Wilmer Eye Institute, with a joint appointment in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research interests include trachoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and vision and function in older persons. She has published extensively on visual impairment in different populations, including on disparities in visual impairment and eye care seeking behaviors, and the risk factors for the major blinding eye diseases. She has authored the section on Eye Diseases and Smoking for the last two US Surgeon General Reports on Smoking. Dr. West’s research has informed all aspects of the present World Health Organization guidelines for trachoma control. Her research continues to have multiple avenues, including the natural history of progression of retinal dystrophies, surveillance methods for trachoma control, and interventions to improve outcomes of trichiasis surgery. She currently has over 400 publications, and has mentored over 40 students and young faculty in her career.

Dr. West has served on the Special Technical Advisory Group on Neglected Tropical Diseases for the Director General of World Health Organization, chaired many of the special advisory groups for WHO, served on the scientific review committee for Alcon Research Institute, and on the Scientific Advisory Panel for Research to Prevent Blindness. She currently serves as Scientific Advisor to the Research to Prevent Blindness Board of Trustees. Dr West served twice on the Technical Expert Committee of the International Trachoma Initiative. She was on the Board of Trustees and served as the first female President of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). ARVO has presented her with the JoAnn Angle award for her service and the 2019 Mildred Weisenfeld award for her clinical research career. She is the 2017 recipient of the American Academy of Ophthalmology International Blindness Prevention award, and the 2018 recipient of the Kuwait Federation for the Advancement of Science Health Sciences prize for her work in Africa.

Dr. West received her PhD in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She joined the Wilmer faculty in 1984, recruited by Dr. Alfred Sommer to join the Dana Center. She and her husband live in Baltimore city, where they enjoy the symphony, repertory theaters, and world-class museums.

Contact information

Wilmer Eye Institute, Woods rm 155
600 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21287
Phone: 410-955-2606
Fax: 410-955-0096

Held by Pradeep Ramulu

PRADEEP RAMULU, MD, PhD, MHS, graduated with Honors from Stanford University, and then joined the MD/PhD program at Johns Hopkins University, completing his PhD work on retinal biology with Jeremy Nathans. He subsequently completed his Ophthalmology residency at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute and a Glaucoma Fellowship at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. After his fellowship, he returned to Wilmer’s Glaucoma Division, where he began a program to study the functional consequences of visual impairment.

Using a variety of tools including patient reported outcomes, observation of task performance, and real-world behavioral monitoring, Dr. Ramulu has helped define when, how, and why visual impairment results in disability. His work has resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed publications, 10 book chapters, and 2 books. Because of his expertise, he has helped various agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation to set vision standards for work. He also holds leadership positions in various national and international ophthalmic societies, including the American Glaucoma Society and World Glaucoma Association.

In addition to his research, Dr. Ramulu is an active teacher, clinician and surgeon. He has mentored numerous medical students, MPH students, residents and fellows clinically and in research projects. He twice won the resident teaching award and, in a model that has now become the standard for Wilmer, reorganized glaucoma teaching by placing lectures on-line and using in-class time for interactive sessions using game-based learning and small-group interactive case review. On top of caring for his patients’ needs, he now serves as Director of the Wilmer Glaucoma service, consisting of 10 faculty and over 20 research, clinical, and administrative staff members.

Dr. Ramulu has received continuous NIH funding since 2007 and has received the Secretariat and Achievement Awards from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Pisart Award for Vision Science. His current work is focused on the possible protective role of physical activity against eye disease, developing methods to assess/prevent falls in older adults, particularly those with visual impairment, and the use of ocular imaging to identify persons at risk for cognitive impairment.

Dr. Ramulu credits any success to his extraordinary mentors and colleagues at Johns Hopkins, and also to his ever-supportive parents, Yammanuru and Aruna Ramulu, his 20 years of loving marriage to his wife and spiritual beacon, Vandana, and his two talented and inspiring children – his son Shreyas (a sophomore at River Hill High School) and daughter Priyanka (an 8th grader at Clarksville Middle School).