40th Annual Middle East Medical Assembly
The 40th Annual Middle East Medical Assembly (MEMA) opened on May 11
with a diverse scientific program that included presentations and workshops
on trauma, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, avian flu, and medical ethics.
Jointly sponsored by the American University of Beirut and the Cleveland
Clinic Foundation for Continuing Education, the four-day medical congress
also featured an exhibition, showcasing the latest in medical equipment
and healthcare support systems.
The congress was held under the patronage of President Emile Lahoud, who
was represented by Health Minister Mohammed Khalifeh. House Speaker Nabih
Berri was represented by Parliamentarian Atef Majdalani, and Acting Governor
of Beirut Nassif Qaloush represented Prime Minister Fuad Siniora. Dr.
Ghassan Hamadeh, chairperson of the MEMA, welcomed the guests and participants,
and in particular commended "those who defied their country's travel
advisory" to come to Lebanon, saying that they were a prime example
of "people who give of themselves, expecting nothing in return."
He also equally commended all those who contributed to the success of
the congress. He added that despite the aggressions which Lebanon has
been suffering each spring, the MEMA continued to be held and will continue
to be held.
Dr. Fuad Jubran, representing the Cleveland Clinic, lauded the MEMA as
a world-class symposium, after having secured its Continuing Medical Education
(CME) accreditation with the help of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
When a medical congress has CME accreditation, this allows medical and
healthcare professionals to receive the equivalent of course credit for
Dr. Nadim Cortas, vice president for Medical Affairs and the Raja N. Khuri
dean of the Faculty of Medicine, highlighted the courage and determination
with which the Faculty of Medicine is heading into the future. He noted
the increased recruitment of faculty-around 90 new members in the last
ten years-the development of necessary infrastructure, and the introduction
of new interdisciplinary research programs. President of the Lebanese
Order of Physicians, Dr. Mario Aoun, praised the medical congress as "proof
of the educational and scientific standards which Lebanon and its physicians
AUB President John Waterbury, in welcoming the guests and participants,
spoke of the MEMA's role as a forum for exchange of research and medical
expertise. "Unfortunately, the region we live and practice in seems
to have more forces of destruction than forces of construction,"
"But here, we meet every spring as forces of construction. This is
indeed an annual reaffirmation of individual and institutional dedication
Health Minister Mohammed Khalifeh also welcomed the participants, particularly
those who came from the US and Europe. "We are confident that they,
along with their Lebanese colleagues, will consider the exchange of knowledge
and expertise... as a response to the confrontations among the societies
of the world." Dr. Khalifeh, who is also a surgeon at AUB, noted
that if Lebanon is to remain competitive in this ever-growing region,
it will have "to safeguard its high scientific and ethical standards
in the practice of medicine and healthcare."
(For more information on the MEMA, see http://mema.aub.edu.lb)