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Alumni Profiles: A Century of Changing Lives
"AUB in 1948" - excerpts of President Stephen B. L. Penrose Jr.'s article for the Whitman Alumnus magazine
 

Summer 2007 Vol. V, No. 4

Alumni Profiles: A Century of Changing Lives

Jennifer Muller

Yusuf Hitti (MD '17)
Yusuf Hitti was a prominent internist, teacher, and hospital administrator who served his country and his profession throughout a long life. After receiving an MD from AUB in 1917, Hitti served as a physician in the Turkish Army during World War I and then returned to AUB to join the Faculty of Medicine. Soon after, Hitti went to Harvard Medical School on a Rockefeller Foundation grant to continue his studies in anatomy. After teaching and practicing for several years at AUB, Hitti was appointed director of the St. Charles Hospital, in which post he served from 1928 until his retirement in 1979. One of his many contributions to the field of medicine was publication of the first English-Arabic medical dictionary in 1967. Also active politically, Hitti was a deputy for Mount Lebanon from 1947-1951 and Minister of the Interior in 1957. Among other awards and honors, Hitti was presented with the Daniel Bliss Gold Medal from AUB and the Gold Merit Award of the Medical Alumni Chapter. Hitti passed away in 1989 at the age of 96.

Antranig Manugian (MD '35)

Professor Emeritus Antranig Manugian, more than anyone else, established the practice and teaching of psychiatry at AUB. Born in Turkey in 1910, Manugian graduated with an MD from AUB in 1935 and subsequently earned a diploma of psychiatry from the University of Edinburgh in 1939. After working as a psychiatrist with the British Middle East Forces during World War II, for which he was awarded the Order of the British Empire, Manugian returned to AUB as a clinical assistant in psychiatry in 1947. At AUB, Manugian introduced the teaching of psychiatry at all levels in the Faculty of Medicine. He also established the first residency training program for psychiatry in the region at the Lebanon Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases (Asfourieh), where he was superintendent physician from 1956 to 1975. A renowned expert, Manugian served on the Health Committee of the Lebanese Parliament and often gave testimony on psychiatric issues in the Lebanese courts. At the age of 93, Antranig Manugian passed away, leaving behind him a legacy of psychiatric training, public awareness, and patient care.

Ali Fakhro (MD '58)

It is often said that AUB produces many of the region's leaders and His Excellency Ali M. Fakhro is one of these. A member of AUB's International Advisory Board, Fakhro received his MD from AUB in 1958, continued his post-doctorate studies in gastroenterology and cardiology in the U.S., and later returned to his home country of Bahrain. By 1971, Fakhro had become the Minister of Health of Bahrain, in which post he served until 1982, when he became Minister of Education until 1995. Following this, Fakhro served as Bahrain's Ambassador to France, Belgium, and Spain. Later, Fakhro served as chairman of the Bahrain Center for Studies and Research. In addition to his illustrious governmental career, Fakhro has served on many boards, including the Executive Boards of UNESCO and the World Health Organization. Decorated with many prestigious awards, Fakhro was given the Gold Medal from AUB in 1982 for outstanding services in the field of health and presented with Bahrain's First Class Medal in 1996.

Fuad Sabra (MD '43)
Although Professor Emeritus Fuad Sabra passed away in 2005, his influence from almost 50 years of service to AUB can be seen in many areas. After graduating with

an MD in 1943, Sabra did post-doctorate training in neurology in the U.S. When he returned in 1948, he became the first specialized neurologist in Lebanon and was instrumental in establishing the study of neurology at the Faculty of Medicine. Sabra was appointed head of the Division of Neurology in 1963 and served in this capacity for almost 20 years. His contributions to neurological research, as well as education, garnered Sabra many awards, including the Lebanese Order of the Cedars, Knight Rank in 1962 and Officer Rank in 1984. But Sabra was revered for his attitude towards life and teaching as well as for his intellect and clinical abilities. In 1992, Sabra wrote the following about his alma mater: "AUB is a way of life, an attitude, a spiritual state of mind that determines our identity. We do not judge or condemn people but we try to understand them."

Samir Alam (MD '72)

Samir Alam has been head of the Department of Cardiology since 1982, except for a two-year sabbatical at the University of Michigan, and has been acting chair of Medicine since December 2006. After graduating from AUB with an MD in 1972, Alam spent several years in the U.S. When he returned to Lebanon, Alam helped introduce several transformative practices in cardiology that are now standards of care in the region but at the time were considered very daring; these included using medications for heart attack patients as well as utilizing balloons and metal stents to open arteries. Alam is also very proud of the work he and his colleagues have done in the community to raise awareness about preventive measures to avoid heart disease, such as healthy eating and the importance of not smoking. But Alam is quick to point out that his many accomplishments in the practice of cardiology and in the creation of new educational programs would not have been possible without the help of his peers and the "profound wisdom and commitment" of his predecessors.

Khalid Yunis (MD '80)
Khalid Yunis graduated with an MD in 1980 and then spent many years in the U.S. and Canada doing specialized training and research in pediatrics and neonatalogy as well as beginning his academic career. After returning to AUB in 1995, Yunis was instrumental in establishing a collaborative network of professionals from health care institutions across Lebanon with the objective of compiling accurate statistics on pregnant women, births, and newborn infants. The goal of the National Collaborative Perinatal Neonatal Network (NCPNN) is to improve the health of pregnant women and newborns through collection of data and research. As director of newborn services at AUBMC, Yunis is also proud of their new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which he says is now, "the best in the nation, if not the region." Having studied and lived at AUB during the civil war, Yunis says that the war was awful, but he appreciated the camaraderie that developed among his classmates and professors during that time. Yunis is also president of the Medical Alumni Chapter, and says that one of their chapter's aspirations is to have a worldwide updated directory of Medical School alumni.