Published: 21 July 2023 at 14:30
Professor Shahina Pardhan receives honorary degree from the University of Bradford
Renowned vision expert and Director of the Vision and Eye Research Institute at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), Professor Shahina Pardhan, was honoured by her alma mater, the University of Bradford, at a graduation ceremony yesterday (Thursday, 20 July).
Professor Pardhan received the award of Honorary Doctor of Health in recognition of her significant impact as a world class researcher in the field of optometry and her commitment to the promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion. The award was bestowed by University of Bradford’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Shirley Congdon, during a graduation ceremony in the Yorkshire city.
Professor Pardhan was appointed as the first female Professor of Optometry in the UK in 2001. She graduated with first-class honours and was awarded the Best Student Prize from the University of Bradford, and was supported by a PhD scholarship from the College of Optometrists.
Professor Pardhan has published more than 180 research papers on diabetic retinopathy, low vision, dual sensory loss, auditory cues in vision impairment, ageing and visual short-term memory and COVID-19. She has won grants from the EU (Horizon 2020, Marie Curie), NIHR, NHS, College of Optometrists, Global Challenge Research Fund, Newton Fund, and various national and international charities Including Lions Club International and Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
Professor Pardhan has received numerous accolades and awards throughout her career. She received the Asian Women of Achievement Award in 2001, and four years later she received the Asian Jewel Award in the healthcare and education category. In 2019, Professor Pardhan was named in the Ophthalmologist Power list as a champion of change. Last year, she was named in the top 2% of scientists in the world by Stanford University. She also received the Arthur Bennett Prize from the College of Optometrists for outstanding international research for her work on the global impact of diabetic retinopathy in eye health and vision.
Professor Pardhan’s research has benefitted over 110,000 people in the UK, India, China, Nepal and Thailand, and her work has now expanded to Bangladesh, Mexico and Pakistan.
Professor Pardhan, who has been Director of the Vision and Eye Research Institute at ARU since 2009, said:
“I am where I am today because of the strong foundation I received from the University of Bradford nearly 40 years ago, not just in training me to be an optometrist, but also in preparing me for the challenges of life.
“To everyone graduating alongside me. I congratulate you on your hard work, resilience and now this… ultimate success.”
“This is an important day for our honorary graduate Professor Shahina Pardhan, who is awarded Doctor of Health in recognition of her significant impact as a world class researcher in the field of optometry and her commitment to promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion. She is a proud alumna of the University of Bradford, and we are proud of her too.”