Mr. Thulasiraj Ravilla

Executive Director, LAICO – Aravind Eye Care System

Thulasiraj is a MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Kolkata. After eight years of a fairly successful stint in the business world, in 1981, he made a significant career switch to lead the administration in a small, start-up non-profit eye hospital. Since then he has been an active member of the leadership team at Aravind Eye Care System. Aravind is a self-sustaining organization that provides eye care to all strata of the society, regardless of their ability to pay. The Aravind Eye Hospitals now handle over four and half million outpatient visits and performs over half million surgeries and other interventions annually. Over half of these patients receive care either free or steeply subsidized rates, through internal financing. In 1992, he shifted his focus to capacity building and management training by setting up the Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology (LAICO) which has mentored and shared best practices with over 350 hospitals in India and 28 other countries. These hospitals on an average were able to double their performance within a period of two years. 

He has served as an Advisor on several national and international bodies: he was the South East Asia’s Regional Chair for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (2000-2005) and was the Founder President of Vision 2020 The Right to Sight: India. He has been a Technical Advisor to India’s National Programme for the Control of Blindness and to the World Health Organization. He is or has been on the Board of several organizations like Acumen Fund, Seva Foundation and Dhan Foundation.  

Mr. Thulasiraj has been actively involved in several research activities, both clinical and operations research. He has authored/co-authored over hundred articles in peer reviewed publications, written book chapters and presented papers in several National and International forums. 

Mr. Thulasiraj’s contribution to the field of eye care especially its management has been well recognized:  he was named a Social Entrepreneur in May 2005 by the Schwab Foundation and has been invited to attend the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland for several years. He was adjudged as the Administrator of the Year in 2008 in by Modern Medicare and GE Health. The Chinese Ophthalmological Society in recognition of the support to the prevention of blindness in China awarded him the International Gold Award for the year 2009. Was an invited speaker at the TED Conference, India in 2009. Listed amongst the 30 most influential people in public health globally and recognized as the ‘Most inspiring Healthcare Leader of the year’ by Times of India – both in 2014; received the Distinguished Alumnus Award, from Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata in Nov 2018.