to use audio-visual aids in teaching. More importantly,
he is remembered as a mentor to generations of medical students and residents.
His research was internationally recognized, especially the book he wrote
on Hydatid Disease. He was also active in the community, serving as president
of the Cancer Society and the Educational Committee of the Gulbenkian
Foundation. Among other awards and decorations, Jidejian was presented
with the Gold Merit Award from the Medical Alumni Chapter in 1974.
Adma Abu Shdeed (MD 31): AUBs First Female
Against tremendous odds, Adma Abu Shdeed became the first woman to graduate
with an MD from AUB in 1931, leading the way for generations of female
students to follow. Abu Shdeed continued her post-doctoral training in
pediatrics and gynecology in London and later in the United States. After
spending ten years in Iraq as a teacher and medical consultant, she returned
to AUB in 1948 to join the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and
to practice in her private clinic.
Abu Shdeed was a champion of womens reproductive rights and health,
helping to found the Lebanon Family Planning Association in 1969 and serving
as its first president until 1975, as well as establishing free clinics
She was honored with many decorations, including the Order of Merit, Officer
Rank, for her exemplary humanitarian career in pediatrics. Abu Shdeed
eventually retired in 1985 and passed away in 1992, but her influence
can still be felt at AUB and throughout the region.
Antranig Manugian (MD 35) and the Teaching of Psychiatry
Manugian introduced the teaching of psychiatry at all levels in the Faculty
of Medicine and established the first residency training program for psychiatry
in the region at the Lebanon Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases.
Fuad Sabra (MD 43) Brings Neurology to FM
Fuad Sabra was instrumental in establishing the study of neurology at
the Faculty of Medicine. 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."
Jamal Karam Harfouche (MD 41): Early Authority on Maternal and
Professor Emeritus Jamal Karam Harfouche was the only female student in
her class throughout medical school and said of this experience, I
learnt to depend on myself and cultivated a strong sense of determination.
This strength of character served her well in a long and distinguished
career. Harfouche received her MDfrom AUB in 1941 and later got a PhD
in Public Health from Harvard University in 1965. Harfouche spent almost
40 years teaching at AUB in the Faculty of Medicine, the School of Public
Health, and the Faculty of Health Sciences.
Author of over 40 articles and four books, Harfouche was one of the preeminent
authorities on maternal and child health, especially pertaining to Lebanon
and the Middle East. Her expert advice was sought by many international
organizations and she was an active member of numerous prestigious boards
and executive committees. She was also a committed public health advocate
and established a string of community health centers in Lebanon. Harfouche
was presented with many awards and, upon her death in 2000, President
John Waterbury said, AUB is proud to count her among its illustrious
sons and daughters.
Ibrahim Dagher (MD 51): El Muallem
Professor Emeritus Ibrahim Dagher graduated in 1951 and retired in 1996.
Known to generations of medical students as El Muallem, Dagher
still frequents the halls of AUBMC and delights people with his distinctive
humor and stories from his long career as a renowned surgeon and respected
teacher. Of his many achievements in the field of thoracic and cardiovascular
surgery, Dagher is most well-known for performing the first open-heart
surgery in the region (1959) and the first total cardiopulmonary bypass
in Lebanon (1960).
Seeing the need for more complex and better forms of cardiac surgery and
driven by the desire to bring the highest level of patient care to Lebanon,
Dagher found creative solutions to the lack of specialized equipment needed
for open-heart surgery. In order to perform the first total cardiopulmonary
bypass, Dagher worked with technicians in the medical machine shop to
build an oxygenator machine from scratch. This was used without complication
for six surgeries until it was replaced with a newly purchased heart-lung
machine. In recognition of his valuable contributions to the practice
and study of medicine, Ibrahim Dagher was awarded the Lebanese Order of
the Cedars, Commander Rank, in 2004.
Karam Karam (MD 67): Modernizing Health Care in
Karam Karam is deeply committed to the causes of health and peace
in the world, and this is evidenced by his years of indefatigable
service to the University and to Lebanon. Karam graduated with an MD in
1967 and went on to do postdoctoral training at UCLA, Harvard Medical
School, and Johns Hopkins University. After returning to AUB, he was eventually
appointed chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1987
and served in this post for twelve years. In 1988, he reestablished the
Middle East Medical Assembly and was its chairman for five years.
Along with his medical practice and teaching responsibilities, Karam has
authored numerous articles and is a frequent presenter at local and international
conferences. As Lebanons Minister of Health (1998-2000) Karam worked
to reform the health care system and to modernize and rehabilitate the
countrys health care facilities. Since then, he has served as Minister
of Tourism, Minister of Culture, and Minister of State.
A member of many international boards, Karam served on the Executive Committee
of the World Health Organization and has twice been a finalist for the
position of WHO director general. Among numerous honors, Karam was presented
with the Order of the Cedars, Commander Rank, in 2004.
Samir Alam (MD 72) and Department of Cardiology
Samir Alam has been head of the Department of Cardiology since 1982, and
helped introduce several transformative practices in cardiology that are
now standards of care in the region.
Camille Nassar (PhD 76): Connecting AUBMC and the University
Camille Nassar graduated from AUB in 1976 with a PhD in medical sciences
and subsequently spent 25 years in the Department of Physiology, where
he was professor and chair until leaving AUB in 2002 to become dean of
the newly established Faculty of Medicine at the University of Balamand.
Dean Nassar says that this young medical school is his new baby
and that one of the things he did as dean was to sign a collaboration
agreement with AUBMC.
Having been at AUB during the worst times of the civil war, Nassar says
that he is proud that they were able to keep the school and AUBMC running
and continue doing research, even as they worked behind sandbags in the
windows because of the shelling.
Nassar is still very much connected with AUB in that he continues to collaborate
with a multi-disciplinary group of medical scientists on research having
to do with how the gastrointestinal tract is regulated by the nervous
system. Nassar credits AUB for much of his success and, per the AUB motto,
he says, I think I had life more abundantly because of AUB.
Ghassan Hamadeh (MD 84): Director of University
Ghassan Hamadeh has worn many hats at AUB, including medical student,
family medicine practitioner, researcher, teacher, and administrator.
After graduating in 1984, Hamadeh spent several years in the United States
and eventually came back to join the Department of Family Medicine, where
he has been a full professor since 2003 and chair since 2005. On the academic
side, Hamadeh has been involved in the move towards problem-based learning
and evidence-based teaching in the Faculty of Medicine and gives lectures
on medical ethics besides his regular teaching duties.
Outside AUB, Hamadeh is an advisor to the Minister of Public Health of
Lebanon and has done several projects with the World Health Organization.
Since 1995, Hamadeh has also been director of University Health Services
and was instrumental in developing electronic medical records and quality
indicators that have been in place since 1997. This administrative work
takes much of his time, but Hamadeh says that times spent with patients
are usually the most peaceful, predictable, and enjoyable times.
Ghassan Abou-Alfa (MD 92): Pioneering Cancer Specialist
Ghassan Abou-Alfa is currently making his mark as a cancer specialist
in the United States where he is assistant professor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Cancer Center and Weill College of Medicine at Cornell University in New
York. Abou-Alfas specialty is gastrointestinal oncology and he has
been principal investigator of key studies that led to the development
of new targeted therapies for primary liver cancer. Before moving to this
prestigious cancer institute, Abou-Alfa completed his residency training
in internal medicine and fellowship training in medical oncology and hematology
at Yale University.
While at AUB, Abou-Alfa was already heavily involved in research and knew
he wanted, to do both: to do the research and care for patients.
Abou-Alfa is still very much connected with AUB and returns at least once
a year. In the spirit of giving back to the school, he and his two brothers,
also graduates of AUB (Dr. Ali Abu-Alfa, MD 85 and Dr. Amer Abu-Alfa,
MD 89) established a scholarship endowment in the name of their
grandfather, Dr. Kassem Faress, to support medical students with financial
Lara El-Zahabi (MD 05): Integrating Bioethics and
Lara El-Zahabi graduated with an MD in 2005 and subsequently began a post-doctorate
research fellowship at AUB in gastroenterology and hematology/oncology.
As president of the Lebanese Medical Students International Committee,
El-Zahabi attended regional conferences as a representative of the International
Federation of Medical Associations.
It was at one of these conferences that El-Zahabi happened to learn about
a scholarship offered through the World Health Organization to get a masters
degree in bioethics. Seizing this opportunity, El-Zahabi recently graduated
with a MHSc from the University of Toronto and hopes to continue on to
a PhD. Ultimately, she would like to bring her expertise in this field
back to Lebanon in order to work towards integrating bioethics into the
medical curricula and raising awareness of bioethical principles among
researchers and physicians in the region. As she said in an interview
with Lina Badih of the Toronto Executive Committee, Our country
needs us more than ever
students, especially in the medical school,
have the capacity to make big changes. As El-Zahabi makes abundantly
clear, there are many ways for AUBs medical graduates to make a
I think I had life more abundantly because of AUB.
Camille Nassar (PhD 76), Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of