Psychiatry as a discipline has always been an integral part of the Medical School curriculum and among the clinical services offered at AUBMC. From its inception and until the mid-1970s, the Division of Psychiatry at AUBMC directed and oversaw the clinical care of patients at the ‘Lebanon Hospital of the Insane’ located in Asfourieh. This teaching hospital accommodated AUB medical students and residents who were exposed to psychiatric practice under the supervision of some of the leading academics and clinicians in the Middle East. With the closure of Asfourieh during the Lebanese civil war, all activities shifted to the American University Hospital (now known as AUBMC), where it is still located.
In 1991, Dr. Munir Khani was appointed head of the Division of Psychiatry, going on to formally establish a Department of Psychiatry with its own independent structure and functions. In the following two decades, the Department focused on consolidating the clinical services and optimizing undergraduate education. It also launched pioneering training and research initiatives focused on children and adults for the region.
In 2008, the ten bedded dedicated inpatient psychiatry unit opened, targeting patients from Lebanon and the Arab region who need short to medium term hospital psychiatric care for a variety
In 2011, the Department instituted a residency-training program, a clinical psychology training program and a mood disorders research fellowship.
In 2018, psychiatric outpatient services relocated to the brand new Academic and Clinical center (ACC) at AUBMC.
This trend of expansion, consolidation and improvement continues to this day. Recruitment of faculty, staff and administrators of the highest caliber has ensured that the department is now able to provide the broadest range of services tailored to the need of the region. The Department of Psychiatry now offers specialized clinical programs in child and adolescent psychiatry, psychosis, mood disorders, neuromodulation, addiction disorders, educational difficulties, sleep disorders and psychometric assessment. Other programs are in development.
In 2019, a Mental Health Training Institute is being launched to provide educational activities for professionals, students and various stakeholders in the mental health field.