American Univesity of Beirut

GHI Academy collaboration on surgical training in hostile environments

​Office of Communications,

In response to the prolonged crises in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the Global Health Institute (GHI) Academy at AUB, in partnership with the David Nott Foundation, organized a workshop on surgical training in hostile environments. Over three days, more than 65 surgeons who travelled to AUB from Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and different regions in Lebanon were taught life-saving and timely surgical techniques by five faculty experts from the foundation, including founder, foundation leader, and renowned British surgeon David Nott who directed the course. The David Nott Foundation Hostile Environment Surgical Training (HEST) course is a satellite of the Surgical Training for the Austere Environment (STAE) course that Dr. Nott directs at the Royal College of Surgeons in the UK.

“It was a great pleasure to come to AUB to deliver the HEST course in collaboration with GHI. Having worked for 25 years in humanitarian surgery and as a full time UK government consultant, I feel that it is so important to leave a legacy for next generations of surgeons,” said Nott.

War surgery greatly differs from that practiced in peacetime. For instance, the care and management of weapon-wounded patients in situations of armed conflict or criminal violence is significantly more complex compared to those in the civilian context.

“Health services for weapon-wounded patients are limited or even lacking in many low and middle-income countries. Gearing up our Arab surgeons with the appropriate knowledge and expertise is a necessity facing the protracted crises in the MENA region,” said Dr. Shadi Saleh, founding director of the Global Health Institute.

The interactive three-day HEST course teaches essential surgical decision-making strategies and techniques to surgeons working in austere conditions. The training covered penetrating and crushing injuries as well as the management of trauma of the limbs, head, thorax, and torso. A further focus was on post-disaster and conflict procedures including skin flaps, grafts, and the management of orthopedic fractures using external fixation and traction.


The David Nott Foundation provides surgeons and medical professionals with the skills they need to provide relief and assistance in conflict and natural disaster zones around the world.  The Foundation aims to advance the best in surgical research, practice, and teaching as well as help vulnerable people in some of the most dangerous and disadvantaged places in the world.

The GHI Academy is the capacity-building arm of GHI which aims at promoting and fostering ‘local’ global health leadership and contextualizing knowledge and tools to address global health challenges. The GHI Academy serves as the capacity-building hub in the Global South for contextualized smart learning and capacity building.

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