The Department of Neurology was established at the American University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine and Medical center as an academic and clinical department in July 2011.
Neurology, however, has existed as a clinical field at AUBMC since its establishment in 1950 by the first American trained neurologist, Dr. Fuad Sabra; who trained under Houston Merrit and Raymond Adams at Columbia and Harvard Universities, respectively. Dr. Sabra established Neurology as a division of the department of Internal Medicine and the first Electroencephalography (EEG) facility in Lebanon and the East. In the early 1980’s the Division, which had grown to 7 neurologists, was led by Dr. Adel Afifi who also chaired the department of Anatomy (Neuro-Anatomy). In 1983, I had the chance to take over the leadership of the division of neurology in the department of Internal Medicine, and to establish the first Neurology training program in 1985 and to modernize the clinical neurophysiology laboratory with state of the art EEG and EMG equipment.
After sustaining major depletion of faculty members in the late 1980’s, as a result of the civil strife in Lebanon, the division of neurology experienced renewed growth over the past few years and played a major role in the establishment of the Abu-Haidar Neuroscience Institute at AUB, in collaboration with neuro-surgery, psychiatry and the basic neurosciences. The Institute was a catalyst of renewed growth and development of the field of Neurology at AUB, which resulted in the acquisition of major new facilities and the development of new multidisciplinary clinical and training programs; and culminating in the establishment of a new department in 2011.
The Department of Neurology currently has its own academic offices on the 5th floor of the Medical Center, a dedicated neurology/neurosurgery inpatient ward and a neuro-ICU on the 4th floor, a new multidisciplinary outpatient clinics, a multiple sclerosis center, an inpatient and an outpatient clinical neurophysiology laboratories, and a Comprehensive Epilepsy program with an adult and pediatric Epilepsy Monitoring Units. The department also witnessed the transition of its training programs from being a post-graduate fellowship to a hands-on residency program in neurology that was accredited by the ACGME-International in 2015, with subspecialty fellowships in Epilepsy, neuromuscular diseases and Multiple Sclerosis. The department is also seeking to establish more multidisciplinary programs in movement disorders, stroke, brain tumors and behavioral neurology.
The newly established Department of Neurology is poised to fulfill its mission of providing excellent medical care, teaching and research in neurological diseases; and in conjunction with our colleagues in the neurosciences.
Samir F. Atweh, MD
Professor and Chairman of Neurology