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Media Contact: Joy Bell 29 November 2007    
  (404) 778-3711   Print  | Email ]

Emory Eye Center Residents Give Back to a Community Devastated by Hurricanes
The Third Year Residency Class of Emory Eye Center recently volunteered its time and talents for a day of intense physical work at the recent American Academy of Ophthalmology conference in New Orleans.

In response to numerous requests for community service projects in New Orleans, the Academy launched EyeBuild, which partnered with the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity to build houses in the residential areas hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina. More than 600 of the Academy's 20,000 attendees participated in this project.

While many conference attendees think of their out-of-town meetings as a time to learn, to network and socialize or to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city they're visiting, these six ophthalmology residents put hammers to shingles and floor joists in order to help provide needed housing in New Orlean's Upper Ninth Ward, the well-known area particularly hard hit by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Emory's six residents served in the recently created Musicians' Village - a part of the Ninth Ward - conceived in 2005 by musicians Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis to provide needed housing for musicians who had to flee New Orleans after the flooding. When completed, the village will consist of 70 single-family, Habitat-constructed homes for those displaced New Orleans musicians and other qualifying Habitat partner families.

Emory Eye Center's Third Year class, whose members include Emily Graubart, Parul Khator, Phoebe Lenhart, Paul Pruett, Jeremy Wolfe and Maria Woodward, spent a day working on a Habitat home in the Village. In that area, there were 20- to-30 houses in various stages of completion, says Dr. Pruett. Drs. Wolfe and Pruett worked on shingling the roof, while Drs. Graubart, Khator, Lenhart and Woodward framed the flooring.

"We had a wonderful time working together on this project," says Dr. Pruett. It's rewarding to know that something we did will provide a needed home for someone." And being the ophthalmologist that he is, he promptly added, "And, we even wore eye protection!"

About Emory Eye Center

The Department of Ophthalmology and Emory Eye Center have a mission to conduct pioneering research into blinding eye diseases, to educate and train eye professionals, and to provide excellent patient care. The Department includes 23 ophthalmologists, five optometrists, nine basic scientists, 11 post-doctoral fellows, and nine researchers in other Emory departments who hold joint appointments in the Department of Ophthalmology.

Ophthalmology research is supported by $6 million in NIH funding. The Department has remained in the top rankings by U.S. News & World Report for the 11 years the magazine has held a ranking for Ophthalmology. Ophthalmology Times, a news publication written by and for physicians, regularly ranks the Department as one of the top 10 eye centers in the country in the categories of best overall programs, best residency programs, best clinical programs, and best research programs.

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