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The American University of Beirut (AUB) held a momentous Faculty of Medicine (FM) Dean's Excellence Awards Ceremony to celebrate and honor 12 distinguished faculty members for their exceptional contributions. The event took place at the Issam Fares Lecture Hall and brought together esteemed guests, including President Khuri, Provost Dawy, Medical Center Director Otayek, as well as colleagues and friends of the university. The awards ceremony served as a platform to recognize the remarkable dedication and expertise by individuals, who have made significant contributions in the fields of research, teaching, and clinical care.
Dr. Raymond Sawaya, vice president for medical affairs and dean, reflected on the challenges that AUB faced in recent years, particularly amidst the economic collapse and the departure of talented faculty and staff. Despite these obstacles, Dr. Sawaya acknowledged the willpower that persevered within the community. He remarked, "And yet, I could sense through this haze, a fighting spirit and a determination to not give up."
“The inaugural FM Dean's Awards Ceremony is a special occasion to recognize four outstanding faculty members in each of the three categories of Research, Education, and Clinical Care. These awards were established to express our gratitude to a group of faculty members who, consistently, and despite the most trying conditions, conduct their research, teach, or care for their patients, with unwavering excellence, professionalism, and dedication. They, together, represent our collective pride." Dr. Sawaya expressed.
The FM Dean's Excellence Award for Research was awarded to Dr. Fouad Zouein, who was commended for his exceptional research skills and mentorship capabilities; Dr. Marget Shirinian, whose pioneering efforts have made a significant impact within the scientific community at AUB; Dr. Ghada El-Hajj Fuleihan, whose work stood out for its ability to translate evidence into innovative care pathways and global health policies; and Dr. Shady Awwad, whose remarkable integration of computer science, data analytics, and principles of physics and optics has led to notable advancements in clinical and surgical outcomes.
As a recognition of their teaching excellence, Dr. Ali Khalil was applauded for his outstanding teaching abilities, known for creating a comfortable and supportive atmosphere that promotes active class participation; Dr. Carine Zeeni for her exceptional contributions through innovative teaching approaches; Dr. Elias Rahal, who nurtures critical thinking skills while being a beloved mentor and advisor to students; and Dr. Nathalie Khoueiry, with her well-structured and engaging courses that embrace curricular innovations.
In the field of clinical care, Dr. Imad Bou Akl, Dr. Albert El Hajj, Dr. Kassem Barada, and Dr. Leyla Akoury Dirani were awarded for their exceptional dedication, expertise, and compassionate approach to patient care. Dr. Imad Bou Akl's profoundly humane approach and compassionate demeanor have earned him immense respect from colleagues and patients; Dr. Albert's groundbreaking contributions in robotic surgery have established him as an innovator and pioneer in the field; Dr. Kassem Barada's modesty, humility, and compassionate care have greatly impacted his patients; and Dr. Leyla Akoury Dirani, who is described as a servant leader and a role model for her patients and colleagues.
The selection committees, led by Dr. Souha Kanj Sharara for research, Dr. Ghassan Matar for education, and Dr. Samir Alam for clinical care, were appreciated by the dean for their professionalism and integrity in overseeing the awards process.
To commemorate the awardees and their significant achievements, VP/Dean Sawaya announced the dedication of a wall of honor at the entrance of the Saab Medical Library building. This commemorative wall will serve as a lasting tribute, engraving the names of all current and future awardees.
The awardees' contributions have positively impacted the AUB community and beyond, inspiring future generations of students, trainees, and healthcare professionals. With four exceptional awardees in each category, the ceremony successfully recognized the outstanding efforts of faculty members, inspiring and uplifting the AUB community. The event was followed by a vibrant reception.