News Releases

Aug. 29, 2012

Emory Eye Center faculty member appointed to CGRN Executive Committee

Media contact:  Joy Bell, 404-778-3711, jbell@emory.edu

(ATLANTA) Allen Beck, MD, director of the glaucoma service at Emory Eye Center, has been appointed a permanent member of the Executive Committee of the Childhood Glaucoma Research Network (CGRN), an international group of clinicians and scientists who specialize in treating children with glaucoma. The CGRN connects doctors around the globe to leverage each member’s unique expertise and understanding of pediatric eye disease and glaucoma in order to promote education, advance research, and improve outcomes in the care of childhood glaucoma.

Started in 2011 by Alana Grajewski, MD, at the University of Minnesota Eye Clinic, the CGRN has brought together thought leaders in pediatric glaucoma at leading eye centers around the world. Membership currently includes more than 85 pediatric ophthalmologists and glaucoma specialists from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.

The Executive Committee is tasked with making decisions about the overall operation of the network and collaborative research and educational projects to be conducted. When a project has been approved, the Executive Committee will be responsible for selecting a steering committee to oversee the conduct of the particular study or project. 

As a result of the collaborative efforts of the CGRN over the past 12 months, and under the leadership of Beck, the CGRN has finalized a proposal for an international classification system for childhood glaucoma.  The new classification system will be presented at the World Congress of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus meeting, as well as at the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting later this year.  The classification system provides a common foundation on which to design clinical research and to study outcomes across different types of childhood glaucoma. 

“It is exciting to be a part of this new international organization,” says Beck. “It has been nearly impossible to perform prospective trials for the treatment of childhood glaucoma due to the rarity of the disease, the absence of standardized definitions and classification, and without a centralized organization to guide and monitor study outcomes. CGRN provides the means for collaborative studies to begin in the very near future, along with the development of a new website with information on childhood glaucoma for parents and other eye care providers.”

“The CGRN is a unique organization and we’re very proud that Dr. Allen Beck, who has been a pillar of pediatric ophthalmology care in Atlanta and in Georgia, has been selected for this prestigious position,” says Timothy W. Olsen, director of Emory Eye Center.  “I’m also very proud of my former institution, the University of Minnesota and Dr. Alana Grajewski MD for spearheading this important initiative. The Lions contribute in so many ways, and this is just another example of their wonderful support of progress in vision initiatives. Dr. Beck is the ultimate team player,” he adds. “We congratulate him and his recognition as a leader in the CGRN.”

Beck has served at Emory since 1994. He received his medical degree (cum laude), his residency in ophthalmology and his fellowship in glaucoma from Emory University School of Medicine. He has received numerous awards over his career including induction into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Society, the American Society of Ophthalmology’s Achievement Award, a “Top Doctors” listing in Atlanta magazine’s special issue for four years, as well as having received the “Clinical Teaching Award” presented by Eye Center residents in 1999 and 2002. He serves on numerous medical ophthalmology and glaucoma associations and is on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

Support for the CGRN is made possible through a grant from The Minnesota Lions Fund to Prevent Blindness in Infants and Children, a fund recently established at the University of Minnesota. The support will provide for delivery of high quality eye care for infants and children, support research to identify newer and better ways to prevent and treat vision-threatening disease, and ensure that greater information and education will become available to eye care givers and the community.  

A website for parents and caregivers of children with glaucoma:
www.gl-foundation.org

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