CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center Announces Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, World Renowned Eye Care Specialist, as Founding Director of the Southern California Eyecare and Vision Research Institute

New institute will develop innovative treatments to manage vision-related diseases through research and evidence-based eye care to diverse communities in Southern California


LOS ANGELES–CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (CHA HPMC), a subsidiary of CHA Health Systems, a global leader in bio-technology and healthcare, and Dr. Rohit Varma have partnered to form the new Southern California Eyecare and Vision Research Institute (SCEVRI) to provide specialized and comprehensive eye care and cutting edge therapies to the diverse communities in Southern California, and to conduct world class research in collaboration with CHA Health Systems’s leading edge stem cell research platform.

According to the most recent research, Southern California has a high incidence of eye disease which is underdiagnosed and undertreated. The number of individuals with visual impairment (VI) and blindness is increasing in California and the United States as a result of shifting demographics, aging populations, and high incidence of diabetes. Research published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) projected African American individuals experience the highest prevalence of visual impairment and blindness. By 2050, the highest prevalence of VI among minorities will shift from African American individuals (15.2% in 2015 to 16.3% in 2050) to Hispanic individuals (9.9% in 2015 to 20.3% in 2050). Multiracial Americans and Hispanic whites in California will remain the largest demographic group with visual impairment between the years 2015-2060.

The new research institute for eye care will lead vision research in diverse communities and vulnerable populations — using big data and artificial intelligence to develop novel therapies, stem cell and regenerative therapies both in the U.S. and overseas — to ultimately improve patients’ eye health.

“Our eye institute will make rapid advances in science and technology — from stem cells to novel glaucoma devices to artificial retinas,” said Dr. Rohit Varma. “As a team, we’ll take bold steps forward to better understand, prevent, and create innovative treatments to manage diseases that lead to vision loss and blindness, making hope visible for our patients through innovative research and evidence-based eye care. Our innovative research and eye care will focus on developing new ways to change the lives of our patients by ending vision loss and blindness.”

An accomplished physician-scientist, Varma is recognized worldwide as a visionary leader in glaucoma and 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.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Varma join the team,” said Robert Allen, CHA HPMC president and chief executive officer. “Our corporate, CHA Health Systems have pioneered the stem cell research and are renowned for CHA Stem Cell Institute Research — SCEVRI will fulfill the commitment to provide the highest quality eye care to the communities.”

About CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center

CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (CHA HPMC) is a nationally recognized acute care facility that has cared for Hollywood and its surrounding communities since 1924. Today, CHA HPMC offers comprehensive health care services with a 434-bed acute care facility, including 89 skilled nursing beds. The hospital has a medical staff of more than 500 physicians and specialists, representing 69 specialties and 75 different countries. CHA HPMC embraces the area’s diverse, multicultural patient populations by providing all who walk through its doors quality care in a compassionate manner. It is a member of CHA Health Systems, a dynamic global healthcare organization that owns acute care hospitals, fertility clinics and medical research facilities throughout Korea, Armenia, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, Hawaii, and as well as CHA Fertility Centers in Los Angeles and Buena Park, Calif.

CHA HPMC has been nationally recognized with the following quality awards from Healthgrades: Patient Safety, Labor and Delivery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Back Surgery, Hip Fracture Treatment, and Treatment of Heart Failure. For more information, visit

About CHA Health Systems

CHA Health Systems (, headquartered in Pan-gyo, Korea, is a global leader in the biotechnology industry, consisting of 25 hospitals & clinics, 27 research & 7 education institutions, and 28 bio/pharmaceutical/healthcare companies. CHA Health Systems, delivers world-class care in all facets of medicine — famous particularly for its research and clinical work in the fields of fertility and cutting edge therapies using cord blood stem cells and immune cells.

About Dr. Rohit Varma

Prior to founding SCEVRI, Varma was professor of ophthalmology and preventive medicine and the Grace and Emery Beardsley Chair in Ophthalmology at Keck School of Medicine of USC. Previously he served as dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and president and chairman of the Board of Directors of USC Care. He was also chair of the USC Department of Ophthalmology and founding director of the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute and served as associate dean for strategic planning and community network development.

An accomplished world-renowned physician-scientist, Varma is recognized as a visionary leader in glaucoma and 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 principal investigator of several National Institute of Health-funded studies, including 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. His epidemiological studies have significantly impacted health care policy and have allowed for a deeper understanding of how disease affects different populations. He also served as principal investigator for studies on blindness and vision impairment for the World Health Organization. Most recently, Varma has been involved in the use of large databases and artificial intelligence in the detection and monitoring of disease and the development of novel implantable intraocular pressure sensors and drainage devices.

Previously, Dr. Varma also served as professor and chair of the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he held the Charles I. Young Endowed Chair of Ocular Research and served as associate dean for strategic planning.

A native of India, Dr. Varma earned his medical degree at the University of Delhi. He then completed his residency in ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and obtained a masters of public health degree from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Varma completed two glaucoma fellowships, one at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia and the other at USC.

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