The American University of Beirut Medical School was founded in 1867. It recently became a sister institution to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. As Houston Public Radio’s Rod Rice reports, M.D. Anderson has a link to the very beginning of the Middle Eastern school.
“I’m a fourth generation graduate.”
Dr. Issam Raad is chair of the Department of Infectious Diseases at M.D. Anderson.
“My great grandfather was the first graduate in 1870 and was one of a group of five people.”
Dr. Raad says AUB is a leading cancer institute in the Middle East in terns of treatment and research and will be a good collaborative partner with M.D. Anderson for those and other reasons.
“American University of Beirut, although in the Middle East, has always been a bridge binding the east and the west. Being an American University by background and culture and so forth, it’s a satellite for what this country represents. It brings American medicine to practice in the Middle East, but, not only this. The American University has also been a catalyst for what I call healing and peach in the Middle East.”
Dr. Raad, says AUB was founded as an institution that is open to everyone regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or gender.
“I think the two institutions are not only simply institutions of excellence in medicine that are getting together based on promoting better diagnosis and prevention and treatment of cancer but they have also the core values, the same approach and the same guiding principles.”
Issam Raad says he feels like a son of both institutions. He graduated from medical school in 1987 at the height of the civil war in Lebanon. A very difficult time, but also a time that helped to shape the kind of doctor he would become.
“We understood the meaning of commitment to patient care in the midst of war. As interns we had weeks where we could not go home because of the large number of wounded. We deepened our commitment to our patients and the whole idea of medicine being a higher calling in the midst of a civil war.”
For Dr Raad and the other AUB graduates working at M.D. Anderson, the ties that bind the two institutions are both professional and personal.