The medical breakthroughs for which Dr. William Lippy is responsible are known throughout the world. It's exciting to be able, from time to time, to have cause to review the revolutionary health care advances that took place in the Mahoning Valley.
For example, women suffering from otosclerosis, a genetic disorder of the last small bone in the middle ear, were once offered sterilization or abortion because pregnancy would cause deafness. But at the Trilogical Society's annual meeting in 2005, Lippy provided research that proved hundreds of thousands of women with otosclerosis could safely give birth.
Nine years earlier, the first surgeon in the nation to put a cochlear implant in a child did so at St. Joseph Hospital in Warren after the surgeon was recruited by Lippy to work in his East Market Street office.
Years earlier Lippy developed an artificial, stainless steel prosthesis that replaces failed stapes bones that cause hearing loss and deafness. Lippy has performed tens of thousands of stapedectomies and thousands of revisional surgeries to correct failed stapedectomies. Lippy's middle ear bone prosthesis is one of the main reasons the Warren Otologic Group is a major international center for the treatment of hearing loss and deafness.
But now we learn that Lippy contributes more than medical triumphs to the world. Now we learn that he also helps build peace.
The Israeli Tennis Centers that Lippy and five colleagues founded in 1976 focus on allowing Middle Eastern children from all walks of life to experience a sport together, regardless of how tense are the relationships between their countries or their religions. ITC double teams pair one Jew with one Arab. Children who participate at ITC are taught coexistence. Children are accepted regarless of race, religion or ability to pay.
Lippy's ITC has expanded to 14 locations with more than 22,000 children enrolled. It has touched more than 350,000 families, which is 5 percent of Israel's population. It has produced some of the best tennis players in the world, including Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich, who won the 2006 Wimbledon mixed doubles championship.
One of the children was Nadine Fahoum, who entered the ITC program when she was 9 years old. Now 22, she recently graduated form Duke University and was hired into ITC's New York office. That makes Fahoum the first Muslim Arab woman working for a Jewish foundation.
''The peace starts with us on the ground and not the politicians,'' Fahoum said.
One of those ground-level breakthroughs occurred right here in Warren 17 years ago. That's when Lippy performed a stapedectomy on Abdul Haliem Majali, a retired brigadier general in the Army of Jordan, in Trumbull Memorial Hospital.
A few months before the surgery, Majali's brother, then-Jordanian Prime Minister Abdul Salam al-Majali, signed a peace treaty with Israel, but anxiety between the two nations was still volatile.
Majali, resting in his hospital bed and gown, said Lippy would be welcome back in his country, and that doctors there would be eager to assist Lippy. Majali said medical, commercial and other contacts between Jordan and Israel would cement the peace and gradually improve relations between the two former enemies.
A year later the two nations signed a trade agreement. That agreement included Israel's assistance in building a modern medical center in Amman, Jordan.
Dr. Lippy's influence on the world through work done afar and right here in Warren should be a source of pride for everybody in the Mahoning Valley.