​​aa.PNG

Dear friends and colleagues in the AUB community, 

Recognition of AUBMC global excellence 

Many of you are doubtless already aware that the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) recently received renewed certification from the world’s most comprehensive and respected medical accreditation organization, the Joint Commission International (JCI). This is a moment not just for congratulations to the AUBMC faculty, staff, and leadership for this triennial hospital-wide confirmation by the most rigorous accrediting agency, but it is also a moment to celebrate the outstandingly high standards of patient care and safety implemented under a culture that is setting new levels of quality in healthcare provision. There are compelling reasons why the Joint Commission is recognized as the global gold standard setter. Every three years, it publishes an updated edition of hundreds of measurable standards that need to be met to keep pace with key advances in health practice. These range from high-level administration to individual machines and laboratories to one-to-one discussions with nurses and patients. The Fifth Edition, under which AUBMC was evaluated in early April, contained some 200 new or modified elements out of a total of 1,300 criteria; meanwhile the Sixth Edition, published last month and the basis of the coming JCI survey in 2020, raises the bar even higher. AUBMC is the only academic medical center hospital program to be JCI-accredited in Lebanon and one of a handful in the Arab world, which is a further distinction as academic centers are set an ever higher bar to clear than normal hospitals. 

As I indicated, it is the culture of excellence of patient care fostered at AUBMC that we should be most proud of. In partnership with trusted, independent organizations such as the Joint Commission, Medical Center staff, from the Executive Vice President to the most junior employee, constantly and as a priority, always look for new ways to improve quality and safety on behalf of patients. This involves a major commitment to self-evaluation, internal review, forward planning, as well as setting processes, workflows and policies that ensure the highest standards of care and safety. At an institutional level, AUBMC is always looking to widen and deepen such partnerships. The current complement of accreditations covers nursing (Magnet), laboratories (CAP), graduate medical education (ACGME-I), and the bone marrow transplantation program (JACIE), with JCI as an overarching seal of excellence for AUBMC. The next targets being considered are to seek more specialty accreditations through the Joint Commission. As AUBMC plays such an important role in treating cancer in Lebanon, caring for some 25% of sufferers, initial preparations are to be focused on accreditation in the field of oncology. In the meantime, let us all thank EVP Mohamed Sayegh, Medical Center Director Dr. Hassan El Solh, and all the team of dedicated doctors, nurses and staff at AUBMC, with a special mention to Chief Quality and Compliance Officer Dr. Petra Khoury, who worked closely with the fivemember JCI team giving instant answers to all their questions during their intensive fiveday survey. While there is always room for improvement, this is a most impressive accomplishment, one that has earned all of the AUB community’s pride and thanks.

bb.PNG

​Towards the AUBMC 2020 vision, and heading towards Health 2025 

I cannot stress enough that JCI accreditation is not about the fresh golden rosette affixed to the AUBMC doorway, but about validating the standards of care and safety for those who matter most, our patients. This achievement should be cast in the light of the Medical Center’s strategic 2020 Vision, one of whose paths is to provide patients with the highest standards of patient-centered care. Seven years into this ambitious and challenging process, set in motion by EVP Sayegh and the Board of Trustees in 2010, it is clear that AUBM​C is seizing this unique opportunity to re-affirm its position as the leading academic medical center and healthcare institution in the MENA region, transforming medical education, research, and clinical care, while maintaining a sound business plan. On top of this, my objective outlined at my inauguration to establish the first world class, global Health Sciences Institute in the region is also taking shape through the Health 2025 Vision, with its focus on unifying health initiatives across AUB, aligning efforts and leveraging our strengths to realize our vision in health. 

cc.PNG

​In order to successfully integrate these ambitious plans, a major infrastructure project is being undertaken for the new AUBMC 2020 Medical Complex. Improvements, renovations and restructuring have already been carried out extensively to meet immediate and urgent needs, with the expansion of inpatient services and optimizing adjacencies. We are currently in the preparatory phase (known as CENSIRE) accommodating our immediate growth requirements and allowing for new clinical services and expansion of the medical center. Significant milestones have already been achieved along this path—with the inauguration of the Wassef and Souad Sawwaf Building, the 10-story Medical Administration Building, and renovation of the Diana Tamari Sabbagh Building (DTS)— while the new 14-story Halim and Aida Daniel Academic and Clinical Center (ACC) is taking its elegant shape at the corner of Maamari Street and Abdul Aziz Street. The ACC is due to start coming online later this year, and will boast centers of excellence, educational centers, outpatient clinics, and a same-day surgery program, distributed across nine levels, with five levels of underground parking. Looking ahead, our New Medical Center Expansion (NMCE) Project will soon be launched with a world-class new building with an additional 150 beds and with more provision in the key areas of cancer and pediatric care. 

There is no doubt, even in the dynamic and perpetually developing world of health and medical care, AUB is setting a furious pace based on vision, teamwork, and the empowerment of leaders at every tier of the organization. With the medical center component of this vision increasingly secure, there has also been tremendous progress in the accomplishment of major goals in nursing and public health. We will share more on those accomplishments and their central role in Health 2025 in an upcoming issue of President’s Perspective. 

dd.PNG

​The Middle East Medical Assembly 

​​One of the showpiece events in the AUB calendar, this year’s Middle East Medical Assembly (MEMA) has chosen to devote its platform to hosting the world’s first International Conflict Medicine Congress. Throughout this institution’s history, the Faculty of Medicine and Medical Center have played a pivotal role in the regional evolution of healthcare, especially in the context of conflict. During the Civil War, casualties were treated here regardless of their political or confessional background and over the years AUBMC developed a world-standard expertise in the management of war-related injuries. The distressing persistence today of wars in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, continues to place AUBMC at the center of regional medicine requirements, with a strong focus on the pathological, psychological and social manifestations of war wounds. 

ee.PNG

Despite the tragic ubiquity of these conflicts, their physical, psychological, and social wounds, and their long-term consequences are poorly understood by health professionals generally. Research still needed to identify and address the clinical and social impact on affected populations. Treatment is often partial or inadequate, occurring in locations that have been deliberately targeted or degraded and undersupplied. This impacts not only the nature of war wounds but also the ability of medical professionals to respond. That is why an interdisciplinary approach should be applied to understand the impact of contemporary conflicts on social determinants of illness and injury. A more global approach is needed based on sound biophysical, clinical, and social science. By taking such approaches, the four-day MEMA (May 11-14) is sure to contribute to the capacity for health provision in conflict and mitigate the degradation of public health infrastructure and services. In line with our Health 2025 Vision, conflict medicine is now a standing program within our Global Health Initiative (GHI), which will evolve into the first Global Health Institute in the Arab Region and only the third in the Global South. 

Best regards, 

Fadlo R. Khuri, MD
President