Since its establishment in 1902, the American University of Beirut Medical Center’s (AUBMC) commitment has centered on providing the highest quality of patient care while training its medical body to be the best in serving patients, and in maintaining integrity and empathy to the benefit of all its patients, staff, and community members. Stemming out of this pledge, AUBMC has launched its 2020 Vision in 2010, which is an ambitious and comprehensive initiative that aims to affirm AUBMC’s position as the leading medical center and healthcare institution in Lebanon and the region. The AUBMC 2020 Vision is to transform medical education, research, practice, and most importantly, medical care by bringing them to new and advanced levels of excellence. It consists of setting the ground for major new medical (clinical and academic) facilities, the establishment of clinical and research centers of excellence, investment in state-of-the-art equipment, recruitment of talented physicians and nurses, in addition to partnering with regional and international healthcare providers.
AUBMC’s 2020 Vision envisages the institution’s growth along six main paths: Providing patients with the highest standards of patient-centered care; recruiting top-caliber, highly specialized, and accomplished faculty; academic innovation through the creation of clinical and research centers of excellence and the provision of outstanding medical education; establishing strategic partnerships and collaborations locally, regionally, and internationally; investing in and expanding our facilities to meet the needs of the people of Lebanon and the region and supporting the health of local and regional patients in need by ensuring their access to care.
Six years after the launching of the vision, and after extensive and relentless work, AUBMC achieved almost 80 percent of this unique and health transforming vision. Throughout the past years, the medical center witnessed the establishment of state-of-the-art buildings including Souad and Wassef Sawwaf Building, Medical Administration Building (MAB), the Halim and Aida Daniel Academic and Clinical Center (ACC) which is the first facility in the region to focus on patient care, education and research which is expected to welcome patients in 2017. In addition, the facility has expanded to include several centers of excellence in oncology, neuroscience, multiple sclerosis, and cancer in children, as well as new clinical programs, services, and units. The Faculty of Medicine has also been acclaimed for the recruitment of over 150 top-caliber, highly specialized and accomplished physicians and scientists, thus, reversing brain drain.
In its quest to raise the level of healthcare in Lebanon and the region, AUBMC has been in the process of evaluating, assessing and establishing new partnerships, affiliations, associations, and vital linkages with other public and private healthcare institutions and programs that share its vision and values, in Lebanon, as well as in the region and worldwide. In 2011, and for the first time in Lebanon, AUBMC signed an affiliation agreement with Keserwan Medical Center to tie a Lebanese private hospital with a regional leading academic center. On February 3, 2015 AUBMC signed another affiliation and cooperation agreement with Medrar Medical Center, a collaboration that will change healthcare delivery in the south of Lebanon.
Another main pillar of the 2020 Vision is research, and AUBMC serves as a regional hub for research initiatives with the goal of providing intricate information about disease trends and risk factors, outcomes of treatment or public health interventions, functional abilities, and patterns of care. Consistent with this goal and stemming from its steadfast dedication to enhancing human health, the AUBMC 2020 Vision has pioneered in establishing numerous first-of-their-kind research and academic centers, the latest and most ground-breaking of which is the Pillar Genomics Institute of Precision Medicine. This institute will revolutionize the way diseases are treated, linking advanced research and next-generation sequencing in the laboratory to the patient’s bedside. Using precision medicine will translate research breakthroughs into the most advanced therapies for patients.
Everyone has the right to the highest attainable standard of healthcare. Based on that, AUBMC has been dedicated to improving the health of its entire regional community, particularly those that need it most, regardless of their socio-economic status. That includes patients with limited financial resources, as well as those that have been most affected by the turmoil that has plagued the region over the past few years. As a result, AUBMC has been working extensively towards raising funds to help hundreds of needy patients, who very often have exhausted all options and are in need of financial assistance to secure their medical treatments. Several funds such as the Brave Heart Fund, Neonate Fund, Openminds, the Displaced Needy Patients Funds, Social Services Department, the Mamdouha Bobst Mammography Fund and CCCL were established at AUBMC to guarantee the support of underprivileged patients. These funds have spent over 10 million dollars in the year 2015 to ensure sufficient healthcare for needy patients and extend a helping hand to all the people in need, irrespective of gender, race, nationality or religious affiliation.
As to future plans, AUBMC is in the process of planning the New Medical Center (NMC) which will house a cancer hospital, pediatric floors, emergency and surgery rooms, and an additional 250 beds. The new medical center will position AUBMC as a leading cancer center in the region and will offer comprehensive and specialized care with optimum patient flow to ensure the best patient experience. It will also provide cutting-edge research and training and education for healthcare professionals in the region.
Over the years, AUBMC has established itself as the most renowned trusted and respected healthcare provider in Lebanon and the region, by pioneering medical services and providing exceptional standards of quality healthcare. Being the only institution in the Middle East to have earned four international accreditations of JCI, Magnet, CAP and ACGME-I, the American University of Beirut Medical Center is now a central destination for patients in Lebanon and the region who continuously seek the highest standards of patient-centered care, quality and safety, partnered with service excellence.
Dr. Mohamed H. Sayegh is Executive Vice President for Medicine and Global Strategy at AUBMC.