LAU’s Science Advocates Step Up on the National Stage

Medical trainees and professionals from the school of medicine participated in the first national research day, securing the most awards for their projects and posters.

By Sara Makarem

Students, graduates, residents and fellows from the Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine participate in the First National Research Day held at AUB.

At the Gilbert Marie-Chagoury School of Medicine, students are immersed in a rich research culture from the early stages of their education.

Since day one, they are encouraged to engage in scientific inquiry and innovation through a comprehensive curriculum that includes computational health informatics and clinical research methodology, collaborations with physicians or external entities on clinical studies and opportunities to present their own research.

This strong commitment to research naturally led students, graduates, residents and fellows from the school to participate in the First National Research Day, a collaborative effort between eight medical schools in Lebanon, including LAU, held at the American University of Beirut on April 27, 2024.

The event aimed at leveraging shared resources and expertise, enhancing capacity building through collaboration and facilitating networking and mentorship in the country.

“Our curriculum meticulously guides our students through every step of formulating a research question and building a robust study framework, along with invaluable coaching from our dedicated faculty,” remarked Dean Sola Aoun Bahous.

“This comprehensive approach ensures that they are not only well-prepared to excel in competitive environments but also equipped to contribute meaningfully to the broader scientific community,” she added.

Out of 49 abstracts submitted by the school to an external reviewer for consideration, nine oral presentations and 21 posters were accepted.

“I am pleased to see our students and residents participating in such a high-caliber, well-organized national event,” said Dr. Andre Megarbane, assistant dean for research at the school. “It is a rewarding experience for both the winners and their mentors.”

In addition to the 500 participants, who included faculty members from various universities, mentors, medical students and staff, the event was attended by Caretaker Minister of Public Health Firass Abiad and Minister of Education and Higher Education Abbas Halabi.

LAU won seven awards in total, the highest number received by any university among the eight participating medical schools:

• Best Oral Presentation for LAU, three winners:

First prize: Myriam Boueri, fourth-year medical student, mentored by Dr. Aniella Abi Gerges, associate professor and director of medical year II, and Dr. Michele Cherfane, associate professor in epidemiology and the coordinator of the population health discipline, for her research on the impact of the Lebanese economic crisis on health-seeking behaviors in patients with diabetes and hypertension.

Second prize: Ali Sobh, fourth-year medical student, mentored by Associate Professor of Genetics Dr. Eliane Chouery, for his research on consanguineous marriages in the Lebanese population: practice, attitude, and knowledge.

Third prize: Emile Haikal, resident, mentored by Clinical Professor and Clerkship Director of Orthopedic Surgery and Trauma Dr. Kaissar Yammine, for his research on the analysis of systemic risk factors between diabetic/vascular patients having primary lower limb amputations and re-amputations.

• Best Poster for LAU:

Christopher Al-Hadi, resident, mentored by Dr. Rindala Saliba, for his research on machine learning for COVID-19 patient management: predictive analytics and decision support.

• Best Oral Presentation With Best Collaboration Overall:

Patrick Nasrallah, resident, mentored by Clinical Professor of Infectious Diseases Dr. Roula Husni and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine Dr. Mariana Helou, for his research on the epidemiology of pathogens causing acute diarrhea in patients presenting to the emergency departments of four hospitals in Lebanon.

• Third Prize for Best Oral Presentation Overall:

Shared by Rana Attieh and Ahmad Berjawi, both residents mentored by Dr. Rima Moghnieh, clinical professor of internal medicine, and Dr. Zeina Tannous, tenured professor and chair of dermatology, respectively, for their research on “Mapping of infection prevention and control education and training in some countries of the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean Region: current situation and future needs” and “Mohs micrographic surgery for non-melanoma skin cancer: A single center retrospective cohort study.”