AUBMC Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute Dedication
|Theresa Basile (center) surrounded by representatives from AUBMC and NKBCI
April 24 saw the dedication at the American University of Beirut Medical Center of the Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute (BCI), a state-of-the-art adult cancer facility that provides comprehensive cancer treatment and research.
The institute was made possible through a generous contribution by the Naef K. Basile Foundation, established in 1995 following the death of Dr. Naef Basile, a Lebanese-American obstetrician-gynecologist whose lifelong wish was to give back to his country of birth. He wanted to establish an institute that would compare with the best cancer centers in the world.
The Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute outpatient unit takes up an entire floor of Building 56. Its inpatient unit is housed on the eighth floor of the American University Hospital. The BCI, including a pioneer group with multiple specialties for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, will also establish programs on health education for cancer prevention and early diagnosis. Through its partnership with the Naef Basile Foundation, AUBMC will be able to treat 50 percent of the newly diagnosed cases in Lebanon every year—two times its current capacity.
Director of the BCI, Fady Geara, MD, a radiation oncologist at AUBMC, inaugurated the dedication session with a PowerPoint presentation featuring the history behind the completion of the BCI. Dr. Geara said that the BCI hopes to “enlarge the clinical faculty group and sub-specialties,… improve patient access to our facility, enlarge our clinical laboratory… , and modernize our radiation facility.”
Dr. Geara also praised the late Dr. Naef K. Basile for his vision and perseverance, which led to the establishment of the BCI. “We pledge the pursuit of his [Naef K. Basile’s] dreams and professional excellence,” Geara said.
AUB President Peter F. Dorman, attending the ceremony, said, “The motto of the Basile Cancer Institute—’Where Body, Mind and Spirit Join in the Healing Process’— reflects its mission as a place where doctors will work with patients and their families to fight cancer, one of the most devastating diseases of our time. The men and women associated with the center will also contribute to the worldwide fight against cancer through research, education, and efforts such as the development of a national cancer registry for Lebanon.”
President Dorman added that it took around 40 years of fundraising and work to fulfill the late Basile’s 1971 dream of establishing a medical care facility in Lebanon.
Vice President for Medical Affairs and the Raja N. Khuri Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Nadim Cortas thanked the Naef K. Basile Foundation, Dr. Basile’s late wife Rebecca, who passed away in 2007, and his daughter Theresa, now president of the foundation, for making this dream a reality.
“It is not surprising that today this dream is transformed into reality through the generosity of an openhanded visionary, the late Dr. Naef K. Basile, who as a young physician left Lebanon 70 years ago to fulfill his hopes and ambitions in the United States. His dream and hard work made him an illustrious and accomplished obstetrician and gynecologist. His lifelong career was at the Cornell Medical Center in New York,” said Dean Cortas.
“Throughout his life, Dr. Basile’s generosity supported many worthy causes. While he was on the faculty at Cornell School of Medicine, he teamed up with a circle of friends from Lebanon led by the late Danny Thomas and was one of the founders of the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC), which established the famous and prestigious St. Jude’s Children’s Cancer Center. He was the only physician on the founding board. With ALSAC, he gave back to America for what it gave him, but he did not stop there,” he added.
“Towards the early 1990s, Dr. Basile, driven by his desire to give back to Lebanon, and fuelled by his passion, visited Lebanon and decided that it needed a cancer center,” he explained.
Theresa Basile thanked all those involved in supporting this endeavor, namely AUB’s Board of Trustees and its chair, Thomas Morris, MD, and recounted how dear the establishment of the BCI was to her father and mother. “The greatest thing about this institute is the thousands of lives it is going to save,” Basile said.
The dedication ceremony included talks given by representatives from the BCI’s partner institutions in the United States. Karen Fields, MD, and vice president for Global Oncology at the University of Texas at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, gave a lecture, “The MD Anderson Cancer Center Sister Institutions Network.”
Thomas Fahey, MD, director of the International Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, lectured on collaboration between AUB and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Last, Otis Brawley, MD, chief medical officer and executive vice president of Research and Cancer Control Center at the American Cancer Society, lectured on cancer screening and prevention.
The ceremony ended with a dedication and tour of the BCI outpatient facility.