LAU lays cornerstone of Chagoury School of Medicine

The Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine has entered its construction phase and LAU marked the occasion with a glamorous celebration in mid-July, including the laying of a time capsule into the foundations of the new building.

Around 200 benefactors, LAU community members, and other prominent figures watched on big screens as President Joseph G. Jabbra, Ambassador and Mrs. Chagoury, Minister of Public Health Mohammad Khalife, and Founding Dean Kamal Badr proceeded to the school’s construction site, shovels in hand, to lay the cornerstone containing contemporary documents and photographs.

Unique in the Middle East, the $18 million complex is envisioned as a technologically advanced 12,500-square-meter structure built in line with the school’s innovative character and forward-looking curriculum.

The program is being developed in collaboration with Harvard Medical International, to offer students an American-style medical education. At the same time, the school is expected to enhance world-class basic, clinical, and translational research targeting regional health needs through clinical affiliations with the Clemenceau Medical Center and Rafik Hariri University Hospital.

In his speech, Dean Badr said that the School of Medicine would have its emphasis on patients, not diseases. It is “being conceived and designed to create a new physician, one who is superbly trained in the skills of 21st-century medicine, but who believes deeply that a physician is, above all, a merciful healer,” he said.

LAUMS is the seventh licensed medical school in Lebanon. It is to be completed by 2010, and is named in honor of businessman and philanthropist Gilbert Chagoury—St. Lucia’s Ambassador, Permanent Delegate to UNESCO and Ambassador to the Holy See—and his wife Rose-Marie. They pledged $10 million to fund the medical school, and an additional $3.5 million for the construction of the Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing, named after Chagoury’s mother.

“I am proud to be associated with the establishment of one of the finest schools of medicine to be found anywhere,” said Ambassador Chagoury, who is also an LAU trustee.

Badr—an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins’ School of Medicine who left his position as professor and chairman of the AUB Department of Internal Medicine in 2006 to take on his current role—said the school would house “clinical and research centers of excellence … to address the most urgent health needs of the Lebanese family,” including women’s health; adolescent, pediatric, and geriatric medicine; as well as genetics, neuroscience, and psychiatry.

The school will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including a skill assessment center; a mock-up lab; a surgical procedure simulation room; video streaming, videoconferencing, and multidisciplinary laboratories; an electronic library; and a 24/7 cyber café.

Pre-medical students have been enrolling in the program since 2006, and the first class will be admitted in fall 2009.

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