Up Close With: GMAC’s Rajeev Garg

June 15, 2023

Rajeev Garg

Rajeev Garg, Global Head of Myopia Management Strategy for CooperVision

This year’s new chair of the Membership Committee for the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC) is Rajeev Garg, Global Head of Myopia Management Strategy for CooperVision.

To find out how he and GMAC are expanding membership to stakeholders in a variety of professions, John Sailer, Editor-in-Chief of Review of Myopia Management interviewed him in this next installment of a series of interviews with the organization’s new leadership, which started with Johnson & Johnson Vision’s Lisa McAlister, the new GMAC Board Chair; continued with the new co-chairs of the Marketing Committee, Layna Mendlinger, Global Head of Marketing for Visioneering Technologies, and Nitin Jain, Chief Commercial Officer at Euclid; and also included founder and Advisory Board Committee Chair Kovin Naidoo, the global head of advocacy and partnerships for the OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation and former CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute.

Find out what Membership Committee Chair Rajeev Garg had to say — read the interview below or listen to it here:

John Sailer, Editor-in-Chief, Review of Myopia Management: Hello and welcome to Review of Myopia Management‘s continuing interview series with the new committee Chairs of GMAC, the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition. I am John Sailer, Editor-in-Chief of Review of Myopia Management, and we are here today with the chair of the GMAC Membership Committee, Rajeev Garg, the Global Head of Myopia Management Strategy for CooperVision. Thank you for being here.

Rajeev Garg, Membership Committee Chair, Global Myopia Awareness Coalition: Thank you, John, really appreciate the opportunity to share some background on GMAC.

RMM/Sailer: It’s a pleasure to have you here. Let’s get right into it with the first question. As the new Membership Committee Chair of GMAC, can you describe what your role is with the organization?

GMAC/Garg: GMAC is a very unique organization where all industry, the professional societies as well as the nonprofits, are coming together to drive this common goal of awareness of myopia as a disease. As you know, GMAC has been in existence since 2019, and the board decided that we need to have a membership committee to promote all the good work that GMAC has been doing, as well as bringing in new members and also to help existing members be able to see within their own organization how much value GMAC is adding. 

So, my role as the Chair of the Membership Committee is twofold. One, to synthesize this value proposition of GMAC and help existing members to be able to promote GMAC and continue the excitement of all the good work GMAC is doing, as well as to seek out new membership to join the GMAC organization.

RMM/Sailer: Okay, great, and so far what accomplishments have you already achieved with GMAC, and what are your goals for going forward during your leadership of this committee?

GMAC/Garg: First of all, we are very happy that we as a board for GMAC recognized the need and formed this committee. For any membership committee, the good thing is that we first of all sustain all the current members. We are very pleased to share that all the members from last year except one have continued their membership in GMAC, and even that even one member is really in a unique situation. They’re very bought into the GMAC concept, but they could not renew their membership.

We are also very thrilled to have the World Society of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus join GMAC this year. We’ve been working on having WSPOS join the GMAC membership, and this will be our first ophthalmology society that is joining GMAC. As you know, ophthalmologists and pediatric ophthalmologists are among the key stakeholders in this journey of pediatric eye care.

With the new myopia consensus statement that WSPOS has recently published for their key membership, educating and teaching them about myopia progression, the leadership of that society has been phenomenal. So we are really excited to work along with WSPOS and have them as part of the GMAC membership. 

We are at the same time looking, and we’ve focused targets on expanding GMAC to all parts of the ecosystem of myopia care. There are not only the product companies and societies, but also pediatricians and diagnostic companies are bringing some really good work in helping drive myopia awareness. So, our goal is to try to broaden the reach of GMAC to these different stakeholders in myopia management.

RMM/Sailer: Great news! Good to see you expanding in lots of different directions, including ophthalmology. So, as far as new members, are you actively seeking new members? And if so, what kind of new members are you looking for and how can others get involved?

GMAC/Garg: Building something like this category and then driving the education and awareness, that’s a momentous task, and we need everyone to come together. Whether it’s industry, whether it’s professional societies, whether it’s nonprofits, we want everyone to join and come together. So, we are looking for industry organizations, whether they provide products or they don’t provide products; services or diagnostics or any aspect of the entire consumer journey; professional societies, they could be optometric societies or ophthalmology societies; pediatricians who have such a critical role in the care of children; and even the nonprofits to join GMAC. This really helps us in our mission to raise awareness of childhood myopia. 

There are different types of membership in GMAC. So, industry or paid membership is the first one, and there are three tiers of those memberships.

There are level one, level two, level three, and we can definitely share the benefits associated with each of those levels of membership. So, an industry organization or any paid organization can join as that member. 

We also have something called in-kind membership. So, organizations such as Review of Myopia Management or Eyes on Eyecare, these are all the trade media. What they bring to GMAC is helping us amplify our message and reach much more audience than GMAC itself can do with their funding. That’s what we call an in-kind member. All those organizations can join GMAC as an in-kind member. Then, thirdly, we have professional societies. These could be optometric societies, ophthalmology societies, pediatric societies that can join as professional society members. We have some of the leading organizations like WCO, we talked about WSPOS, and other organizations that are members of GMAC. So, yes, we are looking for members to join from any of these categories because the task is just humongous.

RMM/Sailer: Okay, perfect, lots of areas where a variety of organizations could join. Maybe it’s as simple as going to the “Join GMAC” button, which I saw on the website at www.myopiaawareness.org. If someone goes to the “Join GMAC” button and signs up there, what happens?

GMAC/Garg: First, thanks John for mentioning the GMAC website. It is a wonderful resource and one of the things that GMAC has done for parents and ECPs to go and learn about this myopia disease and what actions they can take. Tons of resources are available on that myopiaawareness.org website. There is a button, “Join GMAC,” and if you are interested, if your organization is interested, please fill in your contact information. That form provides us your contact, and myself or someone from the GMAC board or committee will reach out to share with you a lot more detail. We look forward to you reaching out to us through that join button or reach out to any one of us, myself, and we will be happy to share the background, the details, and how you can be involved with GMAC.

RMM/Sailer: Okay, perfect. Hopefully some of our listeners and readers will take that step and press the “Join GMAC” button. So, my last questions: What’s it like being a member, what are the benefits of being a member of GMAC, and what accomplishments have the members been able to achieve?

GMAC/Garg: GMAC, in its short three years, has accomplished a lot. It’s really a coalition of companies that comes together, and our key mission is to drive public awareness about the growing prevalence and consequences of myopia and encourage parents to ask the ECP about the latest solutions available. One of the key things GMAC does is understanding the journey, understanding the current state of myopia in key markets. Some of the research has allowed GMAC to drive the insights that come out of it. For example, 58% of the patients are aware of myopia, but only half of them correctly define myopia. So that shows the educational needs and the key ways for us to educate the parents and the consumers in this space.

These market research results are very insightful and helpful for the member companies, but they also form the basis of GMAC’s marketing campaigns. Over the years, GMAC has launched six different campaigns, and the results of those campaigns has been just phenomenal. We measure those results not only with the impressions, which have been humongous, but also through how much action has been taken by those campaigns. We reach through mostly influencers in the social media channel, whether it’s LinkedIn or whether it’s Facebook or any other social channels. We leverage the influencer parents, influencer ECPs, and the views collectively have been like two almost three million views of those social media videos. 

So, in this short duration, GMAC has accomplished a lot helping drive this awareness, and this brings a lot of benefits to all the member companies and the society as a whole from that perspective. We are right now in the midst of reaching out our new campaign, which has just rolled out during Myopia Awareness Week. GMAC, as you know, is global. Our focus initially started with the U.S., and now we have expanded last year into the U.K. and Canada, and we look forward to continuing this expansion even into more countries as well.

RMM/Sailer: Okay, very impressive. Impressive number of impressions with those campaigns. Good work. Is there anything else you want to add about GMAC in general or about the Membership Committee?

GMAC/Garg: GMAC is just a unique organization. My message is: Reach out. It’s a huge task. We look forward for everyone to join GMAC to help us in this mission. Our message is simple. The task of pediatric myopia is going to take everyone, and we look forward for all the organizations and societies to come forward and join GMAC and support our mission.

RMM/Sailer: Okay. Great. Thank you very much, Dr. Rajeev Garg, GMAC Membership Committee Chair and Global Head of Myopia Management Strategy for CooperVision. And thank you all for listening to Review of Myopia Management‘s continuing interview series with the new committee chairs of GMAC, the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition.

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