Healthcare Beyond Borders
From left: Dr. Joe Chehade, associate professor of medicine at the University of Florida, Dr. Roula Husni Samaha, acting head of infectious diseases and infection control at UMC-RH, Dr. Ray Hachem, associate professor of medicine at the university of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Mahmoud Kreidieh, clinical professor of neurology at the University of California, and Nabil Semaan, chief operating officer at UMC-RH.
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July 4, 2012—
American physicians of Lebanese origin practicing in the United States arrived in Lebanon to participate in a two-day conference with local doctors on June 29-30 at University Medical Center-Rizk Hospital to share new advances in medicine and breakthroughs in treatment.
The conference, titled “Healthcare Beyond Borders” and jointly held by LAU, UMC-RH and the American Lebanese Medical Association (ALMA), was largely aimed at helping Lebanon progress medically and raising awareness about common health problems and methods of prevention. The conference was held under the patronage of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
“The distinguishing feature of conditions and diseases such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension, renal disease and cardiovascular disease, is the risk factors they have in common — among them the lack of physical activity, and smoking,” said Director General of the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Walid Ammar during the welcoming ceremony.
“This very fact puts raised awareness, clinical guidance and behavioral changes at the core of disease-prevention strategies,” he added.
The program was divided into sessions focusing on various medical topics and fields including obesity, strokes, infectious diseases, oncology, cardiology and dermatology. Organizers say the conference was intended for all health care professionals, including general and specialized physicians, nurses and pharmacists.
“What ALMA has been doing is connecting physicians in the West to their homeland in Lebanon,” said Issam Raad, president-elect of ALMA. “Part of what we want to achieve is the exchange of information — but we also want to be directly involved, because at the end of the day we are committed to the wellbeing of our country.”
LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra told an audience of conference participants that their presence represented two “shining realities” — the importance of roots and love of one’s country, on the one hand, and on the other the “passionate commitment” of Lebanese doctors worldwide to finding cures.
“They are committed to making sure that they tackle, tame and find cures to some of the most intractable diseases affecting not only Lebanese society, but society the world over,” Jabbra said.
During the event, ALMA presented $3,000 scholarships to five students selected on the basis of academic excellence and social need. All five recipients were second-year medical students, hailing from LAU, the American University of Beirut, the University of Balamand, the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik and Lebanese University.
The conference was the first of its kind to be jointly organized by LAU, UMC-RH and ALMA.
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