Meeting: “New Medical Schools in Lebanon and the Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities”

Selina Korban Auditorium, Byblos campus

Nearly 24 new medical schools have recently opened or might open across the United States, the first major expansion of medical schools in the U.S. in over 20 years. In the Middle East, a similar trend for establishing medical schools is also under way; in Lebanon, three new medical schools were established in the past decade. The principal driver behind the creation of new medical schools globally is the increasing demand of the healthcare market. In the Gulf region alone, the demands for healthcare over the next two decades will drive a market of over $70 billion.

The chair and keynote speaker of the half-day meeting at LAU is Dr. George Thibault, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, a leading academic and grant-awarding foundation that has helped shape medical education in the Unites States since 1930. In 2008, foundation sponsored a conference entitled “Revisiting the Medical School Education Mission at a Time of Expansion,” followed by the publication of a detailed document (PDF, 804KB) of case studies and conclusions on each of the medical schools being created or expanded at that time in the USA. You can download this valuable document.

The overarching conclusion of the vibrant debate spurred by these initiatives is that new medical schools should not be “more of the same” but should aim at innovations in almost every aspect of medical school operations, from the structure of departments and services to curriculum and governance, in order to meet the dynamic challenges of healthcare demands in the 21st century. 

9:00 – Welcome address: Joseph Jabbra, Ph.D., President, LAU.

9:10 – Opening remarks by Kamal F. Badr, M.D., Founding Dean, School of Medicine, LAU.

9:20 – Presentation: “Challenges and Opportunities for New Medical Schools: Lessons Learned (So Far) from the United States Experience” by George E Thibault, M.D., President, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation; and member of the LAU Board of Trustees.

10:00 – Presentation: “The Weill Cornell Medical College at Qatar (WCMC–Q) — Accomplishments, Challenges, and Future Direction” by Javaid Sheikh, M.D., Dean, WCMC–Q.

10:20 – Presentation: “Globalization of Healthcare: Challenges of Developing a Qualified Workforce” by Robert Crone, M.D., Chairman, Governing Board, United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE); Member, Board of Directors, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) in the United States; and Managing Director, Global Healthcare Practice, Huron Consulting Group.

11:00 – Roundtable discussion with invited speakers and deans of medical schools. Deans are invited to prepare brief (5 min) talks in which issues of relevance to their programs will be presented for discussion. The panel will address three issues of general importance, namely:

  1. Human resources and facilities for clinical training years: Is there room for national and regional cooperation?
  2. Accreditation of regional medical schools and post-graduate training programs: Which boards count?
  3. The challenge of multiculturalism in regional medical education: American, British, French, Irish, Australian medical education institutions in the Arab world: Increasing the chaos?

12:30 – Tour of new LAU Medical School and meeting the students.

Event organizer: LAU School of Medicine