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Ophthalmologist George O. Waring III reaches for the summit

Last spring, George O. Waring III traveled to the Inner Dolpo region of Nepal with a group of mountain climbers to scale the twenty-thousand-foot Khang Yaga, a previously unclimbed Himalayan peak. Trudging up a mountain can be monotonous work, and as Waring plodded his way to the summit, he occupied his mind by humming Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, one of his favorite pieces of music.

"I made a deal with myself," says Waring, a professor of ophthalmology and director of refractive surgery at Emory. "I said, You can sing all the parts, but you can't sing the Great Gates of Kiev finale until the summit. The summit ridge was just classic--a knife ridge of snow snaking its way up. You had to walk right along the edge, and if you fell on either side it was about three thousand feet down to the glacier below and into some crevasse. It was a sunny day with no wind; you couldn't have created a more idyllic and emotional scene. And when I went up this ridge to the summit, I let myself sing the finale, and I broke into tears."

Waring has consistently scaled new heights in his professional life, as well. Since 1980, Emory has been at the forefront of the research and development of refractive surgery (techniques used to reduce or eliminate nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism), and Waring has helped lead the way. According to Thomas Aaberg, professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, "I think Dr. Waring is really a catalyst in clinical research who brings together insight into corneal problems and then helps to direct the clinical research into ways we can medically and surgically correct those problems."

Waring's interest in refractive surgery began in the late 1970s before it was becoming popular among ophthalmologists. He says he was troubled, though, because many surgeons were more concerned with making money from the surgery than with examining the procedure scientifically. Waring's concerns led him to develop the Prospective Evaluation of Radial Keratotomy (PERK) study, which he directed from 1980 to last year. (Radial keratotomy is a procedure in which a surgeon uses a diamond knife to cut into the cornea and correct vision problems.) More than thirty papers were published out of the PERK study, and according to Waring, "It's a landmark study in ophthalmology, because it was the first scientific study of refractive surgery. It established radial keratotomy as a responsibly safe and effective method of correcting nearsightedness."

Waring's work in refractive surgery has not been limited to radial keratotomy. He is currently the principal investigator of the first noncommercially sponsored study of laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK). An advance over radial keratotomy, LASIK involves cutting a flap of the cornea, lifting the flap, and using a laser to sculpt the cornea's middle layer. The procedure allows doctors to correct considerably more severe cases of myopia.

Waring directed an excimer laser study at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center but had to continue his work in Saudi Arabia during 1993 and 1994 because Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations were slowing the pace. "I was becoming frustrated by not being able to take what we had learned in the lab and use it clinically in a way that would really advance the field," he says. "We had lasers to use on people, but we couldn't because the FDA was so restrictive."

In Saudi Arabia, Waring worked with other surgeons to refine and develop LASIK. He cautions, however, that their research was not random human experimentation. "I was able to set up a clinical research effort in Saudi Arabia to see how these new techniques worked on people," he says. "These were formal clinical trials done in a responsible clinical way, and we have now published a dozen papers from those trials."

When Waring returned to the United States, he applied to the FDA and received the first investigational device exemption to study LASIK in this country. Combining his experience in radial keratotomy with his research in LASIK and other refractive techniques, Waring recently joined with a number of colleagues to create the Emory Vision Correction Center, which is the largest refractive laser center in America.

While working in Saudi Arabia, Waring was also involved in what he believes will be the next major advancement in refractive surgery--intraocular lenses. These tiny lenses are similar to the lenses implanted in the eye after cataract surgery. Waring, who is already performing intraocular lens research, says these devices will be able to correct even greater degrees of nearsightedness, but their real benefit is that they are modifiable and reversible.

"If I do radial keratotomy or LASIK on your eye and the nearsightedness goes away, that's fine," he says. "But if it doesn't work quite right or your eye changes or something else happens, I can't go back and take it away. But I can with the intraocular lens implant. Let's say we put it in and it's not quite the right power or there's a complication or there's glare, I can go in and exchange it or I can take it out. But there's no eraser on the end of a scalpel."--J.D.T.

Honoring the law school's legacy

Administrators, faculty, students, and staff of the Emory School of Law gathered on September 25, 1996, to celebrate the school's eightieth anniversary. On the same date in 1916, twenty-seven students entered the law school for its first session. As the crowd enjoyed birthday cake and ice cream in the new Bacardi Plaza between Gambrell Hall and the MacMillan Law Library, Atlanta City Council member and Emory Trustee Marvin Arrington '60L (right, with law school Dean Howard O. Hunter), one of the first African-Americans admitted to the law school, read a proclamation declaring it Emory University Law School Day in Atlanta.

"Emory University law school has enhanced the overall strength and vitality of the City of Atlanta, and is, on this date, celebrating eighty years of having made positive contributions to the Atlanta community through its legacy of excellence," Arrington said.--A.O.A.

Cleland '68G takes over for Nunn '61C-'62L

Even though U.S. Senator Sam Nunn '61C-'62L recently retired from office, Emory's presence on Capitol Hill has not diminished. Nunn's seat in the Senate was captured in November by fellow alumnus Max Cleland '68G when the Georgia Democrat defeated Republican challenger Guy Millner in a close race.

Born in Atlanta in 1942, Cleland earned his bachelor's degree from Stetson University before going on to receive his master's in American history from Emory.

Seriously injured and permanently disabled in a grenade explosion while serving in Vietnam, Cleland became the youngest member of the Georgia Senate when he was elected in 1970. In 1977, he was named to head the U.S. Veterans Administration by then-President Jimmy Carter. Five years later, Cleland, whom Washington Post writer David Broder has called "an authentic American hero," was elected as the youngest secretary of state in Georgia history. He held that position until his run for the U.S. Senate.--J.D.T..


Carter Center program links faith and health

On a spring Sunday afternoon, inside the darkened circular sanctuary of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Doraville, thirty-five men and women line the aisles in solemn ceremony. Holding small, glowing candles, they receive their commission to return to their home churches and teach their congregations how to take better care of themselves.

These volunteers, who hail from twenty churches along the Buford Highway corridor, are central to Atlanta Interfaith Health. The effort is a project of the Interfaith Health Program (IHP) of The Carter Center, the nonpartisan public policy institute founded by former President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter that became a separately chartered, independently governed member of the Emory community in 1994.

Known as congregational health promoters, the volunteers have just completed twenty hours of training, and their task is to serve as a link between the faith and health communities--to organize smoking cessation clinics, blood pressure screenings, and other activities that encourage healthy lifestyles.

"You are being commissioned by your church and by us as a coalition of congregations to serve as health ministers in your congregations," said Tom Droege, director of Atlanta Interfaith Health, during the service.

Atlanta Interfaith Health, launched three years ago to serve as a model for other communities, is only one component of IHP's efforts. Founded in 1992, IHP helps congregations nationwide create and implement programs to promote wellness.

"The concern for healing, for physical wellness, for better quality of lives has been at the core of every faith tradition that has matured enough to have a written canon of scriptures," says Gary Gunderson, director of operations for IHP and a 1978 graduate of the Candler School of Theology's master of divinity program. "But the traditional health priority within religious groups has tended to be more medical--acute care, primary care, clinics, hospitals. The missing pieces are prevention and health promotion. About one hundred and fifty million people in the United States regularly show up at religious services. How can we get these people, who generally have some existing commitment to a better world, together with the understanding of how much suffering is really preventable? That's the root of what we do."

Addressing public health concerns related to disease, adolescence, care giving, homelessness, aging, violence prevention, substance abuse, and mental health, IHP works to cross faith, ethnic, and political boundaries. The program's professional staff of four has traveled to some twenty communities around the country helping to establish alliances. For example, in Los Angeles, IHP helped unite a church-based hospital, the county's public health department, a clergy group, and a major corporation to train and equip local congregations to foster healthy living. IHP also publishes working papers and a quarterly newsletter that offer resource listings and profiles of community health promotion models. An Internet forum, IHP-NET, provides a place for health-care professionals, clergy, public officials, and students to share information and ideas.

"We believe the critical task is to find where religious communities have built successful programs and help others adapt that model, maybe combine it with something that's worked somewhere else," Gunderson says.

IHP often draws upon Emory resources for information and support, and graduate and undergraduate interns are frequently assigned to its offices. The faculty of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing trains Atlanta Interfaith Health's congregational health promoters, and faculty from the Rollins School of Public Health and Candler have helped design and evaluate several IHP projects. According to Fred Smith, IHP's assistant director of operations and a doctoral student in the Graduate Division of Religion, "It would be very difficult for us to think about anything we do without first thinking about how it relates to one or several of the schools at Emory."--A.O.A.

The television is on for an average of six hours and forty-five minutes in each American home these days. . . . I ask parents this: Would you let anyone come into your home and say anything they wanted to say, show your child any picture they wanted to show them, if you could get an iron-clad guarantee they would never physically touch your child and never take a single thing from your home? Most parents look at me like something moving in a wastebasket. "Absolutely not!" they say. "Sounds like a horrible bargain." I've never talked to a single parent who wants to make it, and yet if we don't monitor what our children watch, we are making that deal.

--Robert Kegan, Educational Chair of the Institute for the Management of Lifelong Education at Harvard University, speaking at a lecture sponsored by the Emory University Center for Ethics in Public Policy and the Professions

`A great high point'

Last fall, retiring U.S. Senator Sam Nunn '61C-'62L was invited to the Ukraine to take part in demolishing a nuclear missile silo. The Georgia Democrat had helped write laws allocating some $2 billion to fund nuclear disarmament in the former Soviet republics. "I am thankful that I have stayed long enough in the Senate to watch the weapons of mass destruction being torn apart," Nunn told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "To have played a role in dismantling weapons of mass destruction is one of the great high points in my career in the Senate."


The Michael C. Carlos Museum goes high tech

A small brown ceramic flute in the shape of a bat rests under glass in the Ancient American Gallery of the Michael C. Carlos Museum. The instrument was crafted more than fifteen centuries ago, so picking it up and playing a tune is obviously out of the question. With the help of the museum's new interactive computer kiosks, however, museum-goers can now play the pipe without the risk of paying the piper if they damage it.

"We had a Mexican ethnomusicologist come and play the flute, and we recorded the sound," says Elizabeth Hornor, coordinator of educational programs at the museum who earned her bachelor's degree in art history from Emory in 1981. "Using the computer, one can actually flip the flute over and see the music-producing holes on the back of it, which could never be done with the actual instrument. You can also touch the computer screen and play the flute yourself."

The kiosks, which feature a multimedia program designed in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology, were funded by a $1.5 million grant the Carlos Museum received in 1993 from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Museum Collections Accessibility Initiative. Seven kiosks throughout the museum allow viewers to tour the Carlos' permanent collection via computer animation. When they find an item of particular interest, they can zoom in on it for an in-depth presentation.

"Museums have so much more information about their objects than they could ever put on a 150-word label," says Hornor. "Now, through audio, video, computer animation, photography, text, and narration, we can share all this information.

"An example that I love has to do with the history of this museum. There was a professor in 1920, William Arthur Shelton, who went to the Near East searching for objects to bring back. He kept very complete diaries of his trip and took photographs, and so by putting those diaries and photographs on the computer, one can trace his journey and find out about his trip through the Near East and how the collection was formed."

Another high-tech avenue the Carlos Museum is exploring is the World Wide Web. In 1994, using many of the materials that were being developed for the multi-media kiosks, it became one of the first museums to create a home page on the Internet. According to Hornor, the museum's Web site has been "immensely popular" and features a tour of the permanent collection (including numerous photographs), a look at special exhibits, and a calendar of programs and events.

Until recently, the museum has used its home page as an electronic billboard and a place to display traditional materials, such as a guidebook to the collections. Hornor says the next phase will be to develop educational programs specifically for the Internet. The first effort is Odyssey Online, a home page for kids designed in collaboration with the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester.

"It's aimed at sixth-grade kids who are studying ancient cultures," she says. "It's designed with hypertext links to other museums, and definitions--all kinds of stuff. We want to continue to evolve as an educational resource with things that are designed with the Web in mind, like Odyssey Online, which is really going to be fun." ---J.D.T.


New Halle Institute to promote interdisciplinary studies in international subjects

Emory has taken another step toward an increased presence in world affairs with the creation of the Halle Institute for Global Education. Made possible by a $5 million gift from retired Coca-Cola executive Claus M. Halle and his wife, Marianne, the interdisciplinary institute will promote the study of global subjects, especially foreign languages and history; the pursuit of international experiences and exchanges; and the development of an international culture at the University. The establishment of the institute follows closely the creation of another initiative that reflects Emory's growing international emphasis, the Asian Studies Program.

To direct the institute, Emory will name a scholar in international studies as the Claus M. Halle Professor for Global Education. Each of the University's nine divisions will participate in institute-supported studies and activities. Other programs will include a visiting professorship in global education, graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships for research and study abroad, and interdisciplinary conferences on international affairs.

"Universities must be part of the world community by supporting the exploration of international topics and training students to pursue a range of careers in the global economy," says University President William M. Chace. "Given Claus Halle's role as a major force behind The Coca-Cola Company's international expansion, and given also his commitment to building international understanding, the University is proud to see the institute bear his name."

Halle has been associated with Coca-Cola for more than forty-five years. He retired in 1989 as senior executive vice president and head of Coca-Cola International. Atlanta residents for twenty-four years but citizens of Germany, the Halles voice a concern for the gap in understanding among cultures.

"We had long seen the need for more global education here in the South as we believe that greater knowledge is the key to better understanding of other countries," Claus Halle says. "And that, in turn, leads to better relations, friendship, and peace."--A.O.A.

Business school's winning team

Four Goizueta Business School MBA students took first place among twenty-eight teams competing in the annual case competition of the National Black MBA Association Conference in New Orleans. The team, which consisted of (from left) Chip Gross, Melanie Burnham, Maisha Herron, and Jeff Murray, designed an alternative to the current car-buying process used at Chrysler. The four beat teams from schools including Wharton, New York University, Stanford, the University of Michigan, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "We are tremendously proud of their representation of the Goizueta Business School," said Dean Ronald Frank. "Their determination and ability to strategically incorporate academic knowledge into a real-world situation led them to victory over some very intense competition."--A.O.A.


Oxford alumnus and Atlanta playwright Steve Murray's work called "heartbreaking and hysterical"

The characters in Steve Murray's most recent play, This Passion Thing, navigate an intricate web of love, hate, hilarity, and fear. Jill, who is engaged to the sensitive Chris, can't seem to shake her lust for her former lover, Michael, who broke her heart. Chris, in turn, is pursued by the vampirish Lenore, a borderline psychotic. In one of Murray's earlier works, Mileage, a family responds to a devastating revelation by dismantling and scrutinizing the structure of lies that has held them together.

Connecting these two plays, as well as Murray's other works, is the playwright's fascination with the complexities of how people relate. "I'm interested in the intangibility and elusiveness of truth," says Murray, a 1983 Oxford College alumnus. "Each of us has a truth that we absolutely believe, but it may be totally contradicted by somebody else's idea of the truth."

Murray's wit and his eye for the tangled truth caught Theater Emory artistic director Vincent Murphy's attention when he saw a production of one of his earliest plays, Hungry to Bed, in 1991. "I find Steve's stuff both heartbreaking and hysterically funny," says Murphy, who has directed four of Murray's plays and staged readings of two more. "He is interested in the shades of gray--not the black and white--involved in this compact we know as human relationships. He's one of the few writers in the United States right now who I think assumes that the audience is going to be attentive and who doesn't condescend."

It was while he was a student at Oxford that Murray, a native of Rome, Georgia, recognized his passion for writing plays. "I used to love to act, and I've always written, so it was the natural conflation of the two," he says. "I was in a play at Oxford when I came to realize that the time I spent in rehearsal and performance I really wanted to spend writing."

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. degree in English, Murray returned to Atlanta in 1985 to become a staff writer for the now-defunct Atlanta weekly, Southline. In 1988, he joined the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a theater critic, but after two years he shifted into general arts, video, and film reportage.

"I kept writing plays, but I couldn't get them produced here because of the conflict of interest," he explains. "If one of my plays was produced at a theater, and I was kind to that theater in a review of a later production, people might say, Well, he works with them."

Murray's colleagues have praised his work. Southern Voice, a weekly Atlanta alternative newspaper, named Mileage "best new play of 1995." According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, This Passion Thing demonstrates Murray's "devastating wit and a shrewd understanding of what lovers mean (as opposed to what they say)."

Local public radio theater critic Michael Cape predicted, "Of all the playwright's works, [This Passion Thing] is the one that will have a big future beyond Atlanta." The play has been under consideration in regional and off-Broadway theaters for several months. "If This Passion Thing doesn't have a life outside this city, I'm going to be very discouraged," says Murray, adding with a laugh, "I get exceptional rejection letters. Each one is more and more encouraging."--A.O.A.

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