Lebanese American University


LAU offers weeklong course on biomedical informatics

Participants gathered from throughout the Arab world to learn about the latest technologies used to improve the quality of medical treatment and health services.

Participants gathered from throughout the Arab world to take part in the weeklong Summer School on Biomedical Informatics at LAU.

The summer school was officially launched on July 5.

Academics, graduate students and health professionals from throughout the Arab world gathered at LAU Beirut for an intensive course on biomedical informatics designed to introduce participants to the latest technologies used to improve the quality of medical treatment and health services, from July 5-10.

The Summer School on “Biomedical Informatics: Foundations and Research Directions” covered computational techniques and information technologies used for medical diagnosis, clinical decision making, personalized medicine, molecular biology, and health care systems.

It was co-organized by LAU’s School of Arts and Sciences and the Software Institute, under the patronage of Dr. Mohammad Khalife, Lebanese Minister of Public Health.

“The aim of this course is to lead participants to transform and implement this new information they are learning [concerning biomedical informatics] in the health sector, and to motivate participants to conduct research in this field,” said Dr. Nashat Mansour, LAU computer science professor, who is the director of the Software Institute and assistant dean of the School of Arts and Sciences in Beirut, during the launching ceremony on July 5.

Mansour added that one of the objectives of this summer school is to establish a network of researchers, from a number of universities, who will address challenging problems in biomedical informatics.

The course sessions were led by four world-class experts in the field: Dr. Bruce Bray, professor of biomedical informatics from University of Utah’s School of Medicine; Dr. Thomas Payne, medical director of IT Services at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine; Dr. Peter Tonellato, director of the Laboratory for Personalized Medicine at the Center for Biomedical Informatics of the Harvard Medical School; and Dr. Sami Khuri, computer science professor at San José State University.

The course attracted 45 participants, 35 from Lebanon and 10 from other countries in the region.

During the opening ceremony, LAU President Dr. Joseph Jabbra called on participants to “stay ahead of the curve” by “thinking outside the box.”

“The 21st century belongs not only to educated people, but to innovators as well,” Jabbra said. “All of us need to think outside the box … and this class is an attempt to do that.”

Minister Khalife also addressed the course participants during the opening ceremony, where he talked about recent and ongoing efforts inside the ministry to stay up-to-speed with information technologies.

“We cannot manage a health department without having an information system,” he said, adding that the ministry has incorporated a developed statistical system, but that includes some limitations.

Khalife also mentioned that the ministry was recently awarded the E-Government Web Award for its innovative website by The Arab Administrative Development Organization, which is affiliated with the League of Arab States.

The summer school at LAU was co-sponsored by the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research, Philips Middle East, the Arab Computer Society, and Software Design.


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