Elie Karam: Pioneering Mental Health Care and Research in Lebanon

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In a recent article published in the Lancet, Dr. Elie Karam reminisces on his long journey in the world of Mental Health research in Lebanon and how it led to founding IDRAAC, the first non-profit institute for mental health research, education and community treatment in Lebanon in 1982.

In his interview with Udani Samarasekera, he stated: “I wanted Lebanon to be on the map. The whole Middle East had no data on the prevalence of Mental Health disorders and their correlates. It was a once in a lifetime chance that I thought we should not miss. We cannot progress without solid data.”

You can find below a short extract from the article and a link to the full article:

“During the Lebanon wars in the 1980s, you were supposed to be ready to run from your apartment at any time, take your ID and some money because you didn't know what's going to happen”, recalls Dr. Elie Karam. For Karam, however, another essential item was a carrier bag of computer diskettes containing his research data. He recollects a missile hitting his apartment one time, and escaping, carrier bag in tow. He took the diskettes with him on his Fulbright Scholarship to the USA 4 weeks later and analysed his data in safety. It is with this mixture of war and upheaval that Karam started his research, a key focus of which has been the mental health effects of war on Lebanon's population. Karam is the founder and Head of the Institute for Development, Research, Advocacy and Applied Care (IDRAAC) and the Medical Institute for Neuropsychological Disorders, and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology at Saint George Hospital University Medical Center (SGHUMC), University of Balamand, Beirut, Lebanon.

Read the full article on the following link.

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