Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, has been named dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, effective immediately. Varma also will hold the May S. and John Hooval Dean’s Chair in Medicine.
USC Provost Michael Quick, PhD, announced the appointment Nov. 9 on behalf of USC President C. L. Max Nikias, PhD.
“I am truly honored and privileged to serve as the dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, particularly at such an exciting and transformational period for USC and the field of medicine in general,” Varma said. “Our academic medical center is at the forefront of delivering precision health care with compassion, conducting groundbreaking research through interdisciplinary collaboration and providing an enriching and holistic educational experience. Our charge is to revolutionize the traditional approach to medicine through creativity, collaboration and compassion. I look forward to partnering with our outstanding leadership team, world-renowned faculty and dedicated staff to build upon the school’s legacy and advance President Nikias’ vision for our university.”
Added Quick: “While we interviewed a number of top candidates for this position, the standout to lead the Keck School of Medicine of USC was Rohit Varma. We are lucky to have had him here, leading the way as interim dean. We are proud of the outstanding quality and talent of the Keck faculty and staff, current students and graduates. We know that (the school) will continue to soar in the future under the leadership of Dean Varma.”
Varma was appointed interim dean of the Keck School on March 24. He is the holder of the Grace and Emery Beardsley Chair in Ophthalmology at the school, and is a professor of Ophthalmology and Preventive Medicine. His most recent service to USC includes serving as the chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, director of the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute and president of USC Care Medical Group.
“I am pleased to congratulate Dr. Varma on his appointment as dean of the Keck School of Medicine,” said Tom Jackiewicz, senior vice president and CEO of Keck Medicine of USC. “In addition to being an exceptional researcher and clinician, Dr. Varma is an excellent leader and academic administrator. Since he stepped into the role of interim dean, Dr. Varma has been a great partner and collaborator in building on the success of the Keck School of Medicine and Keck Medicine of USC. I look forward to our continued partnership as we work towards becoming one of the nation’s elite academic medical centers.”
An accomplished physician and scientist, Varma is recognized worldwide as a visionary leader in the epidemiology of eye diseases. He is an expert on changes in the optic nerve in glaucoma, and is also studying new imaging techniques in the early diagnosis of glaucomatous optic nerve damage. His primary research focuses on epidemiologic studies of eye disease in children and aging populations.
He is the principal investigator of the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study, the Chinese American Eye Study, the Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Diseases Study and the African American Eye Disease Study. More recently, Varma has been involved in the development of novel implantable intraocular pressure sensors and drainage devices. He has over 247 publications in various peer reviewed ophthalmic journals, and has co-authored two ophthalmic books.
Varma obtained his medical degree at the University of Delhi, India. He completed his residency in ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, as well as earning a master of public health degree from Johns Hopkins University. He completed two glaucoma fellowships, one at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia and the other at USC.