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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Committee

The Department of Ophthalmology at Indiana University School of Medicine is committed to representation of all members of our department. We strive to ensure diversity in all forms is reflected in our daily activities. We will influence our environment with thoughts, words and actions that promote inclusion and justice.


We are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in our department. We will develop innovative and varied strategies to accomplish our goals.

Our commitment to our core values include the following strategies:

Transparency and active response outcomes

Commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) will acknowledge diversity amongst all, which include race, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, national origin, citizenship, disabilities (visible and invisible), neurodiversity, age, political views, family status and sexual orientation. We will designate methods and procedures for reporting and communicating DEIJ-related issues to all department members. 

Awareness through education

We recognize that equity comes by being cognizant of our environment and we will strive to create awareness and initiate education of our community members. We will implement DEIJ educational and skill-building programs to promote a safe and nurturing environment within the department so that our members can prosper. 

Inclusivity in teaching, training and practice

We aim to be inclusive in our teaching, research, training and practice of our leaders, learners and departmental members. Our goal will be to ensure inclusivity within our clinical practices, research perspectives and education. We will identify resources and tools to ensure representation from every clinic space, laboratory environment and staff unit. We will increase educational efforts within the department to support an environment that decreases bias, teaches cultural competence and promotes inclusion.  

Promote diverse recruitment and retention

We will accomplish recruitment and retention of underrepresented in medicine (URiM) trainees, faculty and staff by increasing the number of underrepresented members within our department so as to reflect our communities and patient populations. To accomplish this, we will promote diversity by active outreach to candidates, developing a sustainable pipeline for underrepresented individuals from medical school to residency to faculty and from faculty in leadership through numerous programs for recruitment and retention.

Venue for voice

We will create an environment that will ensure the well-being of our community members and give them a venue for voice to support and encourage expression of individual opinions. We will provide systematic methods for reporting concerns that are free of judgment or retaliation.

Proactive outreach

We pledge to disseminate our data and progress with fairness. We will continue to develop a sustainable and effective outreach and education program within the department

a chart shows the values of the deij committee cycling into each other.

Committee Leadership

52014-Sharma, Tasneem

Tasneem P. Sharma, PhD

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology

Tasneem P. Sharma, PhD, is an assistant professor and director of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within the Department of Ophthalmology. She is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion within the department. Her ideology is creating inclusive clinical and research environments where all members of the department can thrive and bring their unique perspectives to medical fields. Drawing on her diverse background, she understands the challenges underrepresented scholars face in academia and their important scientific perspectives that are crucial for research advancement. As a director she has integrated priorities and initiatives that can bridge the gap of systemic equity and ensure the establishment of diverse, equitable and inclusive lab and clinical settings.

Read Bio Tasneem P. Sharma, PhD

Committee Members

23264-Boente, Charline

Charline S. Boente, MD

Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology

Charline S. Boente, MD, MS, is a pediatric ophthalmologist and serves as the residency program director for the Department of Ophthalmology. She believes that promoting DEIJ begins with acknowledging our current environment, in addition to educating ourselves on DEIJ topics through departmental talks that include identifying healthcare disparities in our patient populations. Dr. Boente strives to create an inclusive environment for the residents and has a strong dedication to outreach and recruitment of diverse applicants to the residency program.

Read Bio Charline S. Boente, MD

44611-Lind, John

John T. Lind, MD

Chair, Department of Ophthalmology

John T. Lind, MD serves as vice chair for adult clinical ophthalmology, associate director of medical student education and glaucoma fellowship director for the Department of Ophthalmology. He proudly serves on the DEIJ Committee led by Tasneem Sharma since 2021. He has served as Diversity Advocate since 2020 including being a part of all clinical faculty search committees within the department. Nationally, he serves as a mentor in the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring Program.

Read Bio John T. Lind, MD

portrait of keisha porch

Keisha R. Porch

Certified Ophthalmic Assistant

Keisha R. Porch is a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant and has been a part of IU Health for over 11 years. For the last five years, she has been with the ophthalmology department. She initially started as a registration specialist and became a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant in 2019. She is passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion and justice and a critical member of the DEIJ committee assisting with issues and initiatives associated with diversity.

47602-Soundararajan, Avinash

Avinash Soundararajan, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow in Ophthalmology

Avinash Soundararajan, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow within Dr. Pattabiraman’s lab in the Department of Ophthalmology. Guided by a profound belief in equality, he passionately endeavors to foster an inclusive and equitable work environment for all. Driven by his unwavering commitment, Avinash strives to create a harmonious atmosphere where individuals are offered equal opportunities, regardless of their gender, race or position. Throughout his doctoral and postdoctoral journeys, he has mentored students from diverse communities, empowering them to reach their fullest potential. Notably, Avinash serves as a valuable and actively contributing to the DEIJ committee since 2023.

Read Bio Avinash Soundararajan, PhD

62155-Strand, Eliisa

Eliisa M. Strand, MD

Ophthalmology, PGY 2
Central Michigan College of Medicine

Eliisa Strand, MD, is a first-year ophthalmology resident at IU School of Medicine. She has been a member of the DEIJ committee since Fall 2022. She is particularly passionate about helping with development of programs addressing cultural competency and humility among her peers, increasing representational diversity among the department, and fostering an inclusive working and learning environment. She has worked alongside the Center for Inclusive Excellence in resident recruitment, serving as a mentor and encouraging medical students underrepresented in medicine to consider ophthalmology as their specialty of choice. She is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion within the department.

Read Bio Eliisa M. Strand, MD

About IU School of Medicine

As the nation’s largest medical school, IU School of Medicine is committed to being an institution that not only reflects the diversity of the learners we teach and the patient populations we serve, but also pursues the values of diversity, equity and inclusion that inform academic excellence. We desire candidates who enhance our representational diversity, as well as those whose work contributes to equitable and inclusive learning and working environments for our students, staff and faculty. IU School of Medicine strives to take an anti-racist stance, regularly evaluating and updating its policies, procedures and practices to confer equitable opportunities for contribution and advancement for all members of our community. We invite individuals who will join us in our mission to advance racial equity to transform health and wellbeing for all throughout the state of Indiana.