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ASHA grants the LAU Health Foundation $1.3 million in aid

USAID’s gift will go towards LAU Medical Center–Rizk Hospital’s state-of-the-art trauma care unit.

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Members of the ASHA delegation touring LAUMC-RH.

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The LAU Health Foundation (LAUHF) has received $1.3 million from USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program.  ASHA made the announcement on October 31, noting that it was part of a $3.5 million aid package for schools, universities and hospitals in Lebanon.  The gift to LAUHF will be directed to Lebanese American University Medical Center–Rizk Hospital (LAU Medical Center–Rizk Hospital), providing lifesaving supplies, rehabilitating a front-line primary trauma care facility, and training medical staff.  With the new supplies, facilities and training, the medical center — which serves the Lebanese capital and beyond — will be able to reach even more patients with vital lifesaving care.  

The donation announcement was made by the director of the ASHA program, Katherine Crawford, who toured LAU Medical Center–Rizk Hospital last Friday, accompanied by LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra together with an official LAU delegation. Crawford noted that, “through support from programs like ASHA and USAID’s University Scholarship Program, the United States is equipping Lebanon’s youth with a strong academic foundation to achieve personal and professional growth. These initiatives enable Lebanon to remain at the forefront of scientific progress and continue its tradition of excellence in education.”

For LAUHF administrator Bob Hollback, getting a federal grant gives the LAUHF new credibility. “More than that,” he says, “the grant itself is for trauma care equipment which is especially relevant for our hospital since LAU Medical Center–Rizk Hospital receives an inordinate number of trauma victims because of  its helipad. Having this equipment is going to help doctors and nurses at the hospital save lives that otherwise might not have been saved,” he adds. Referencing the example of injured soldiers recently received from battles in Tripoli, Hollback stresses that trauma care is a real and timely issue, and predicts that “the grant will help make a difference in healthcare in Lebanon.” 

According to John Rhoder, CEO of LAU Medical Center–Rizk Hospital, the hospital is currently embarking on a $15 million renovation project. “We will relocate our operating rooms, cardiac care unit, emergency room services and our intensive care unit. Several state-of-the-art “smart operating rooms” specifically designed for treating trauma will be installed,” he says, adding: “We are in the process of planning that right now, so this is a very well-timed gift. As this is a medical school teaching hospital, and trauma care is an essential, this will a key improvement for us.”

Hollback and Rhoder’s enthusiasm is clearly shared by the chairman and founding member of LAUHF, Dr. Sami Khoury. “Our application had to stand on its own merit and the proposal had to be very strong,” he explains. “We looked at LAU Medical Center–Rizk Hospital and we identified the needs according to the way the hospital serves the community and Lebanon.”

Thanking Crawford for the generous gift, Jabbra expressed LAU’s gratitude “to the institution, to the American Government, but above all to the American people, whose generosity is unparalleled in the history of humanity.”


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