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University of Balamand > Spotlights > Jihad Hawi

Dr. Hawi: Known to Students as the Buddha of Anatomy

His students refer to him as the “Buddha of anatomy,” partly because of some resemblance to the Nepalese sage, but mostly because of his impressive knowledge of the subject. Assistant Professor Jihad Hawi is Director of Human Gross Anatomy and Human Embryology at the Faculty of Medicine and Medical Sciences, where he currently teaches the Human Gross Anatomy course to Medicine I students and the Anatomy course for nursing students.

He first joined the Faculty of Health Sciences at Balamand-Achrafieh as a part-timer in 1997 teaching the Introduction to Human Anatomy course.

In 2001, President Elie Salem offered him a full-time position as Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine. He joined Balamand in June 2001 where he participated in the organization and the formation of the Anatomy and Histology laboratories.

Jihad Hawi took on his first lab job when he joined the Human Morphology Department at AUB in 1980 as a technician, while continuing his BS and MS at that institution. He later became the supervisor of the anatomy lab where he was in charge of embalming and dissecting cadavers for teaching purposes. This is where, he says, he learned and trained to do the job expertly, earning himself a reputation among medical students and clinicians. “Anatomy has a humanitarian aspect,” he says, but “I was also scientifically motivated.” Now, at Balamand, he feels this is where he belongs.

In 2006, and in recognition of his commitment and services to the Faculty of Medicine, he was offered the opportunity to pursue his PhD in Medicine (cardiac surgery) at the University of Bristol, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. “President Salem and Dean Nassar agreed to fund my PhD as an appreciation of my work,” he says.

His dissertation dealt with the “Characteristics and Protection of Hearts and Myocytes Isolated from Mice Fed High-Fat Diet.” He completed his degree this year, and was promoted to Assistant Professor.

He has four publications under his name dealing with anatomical variations and six abstracts from his joint thesis project between Balamand and Bristol. He is currently preparing and writing an anatomy textbook specifically meant to address the concerns of his courses.

The textbook, explains Dr. Hawi, is being designed especially to help and guide Medicine I students to the essential material in preparation for their clinical years.

Dr. Hawi says he is proud of having lived the growth of the Faculty of Medicine at Balamand and adds that “anatomy is the heart of medicine and you cannot start a circulation without the heart.”

As students crowd up and wait for his class to begin, they can hear him greeting and laughing all through the building. “That voice,” says nursing student Suzanne Naffah, “is matched by an enormous smile which is now one of his defining traits.”

In class, even though his subject is difficult and feared by most, “Dr Hawi tackles it with the most fun possible,” says Med 3  student Jean Paul Nammour. “But that does not mean his exams are a joke!” added nursing student Yara Serhan. ​“​No hard work, no passing!”

The real Buddha would be proud​.​​​​​
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University of Balamand,
Balamand Al Kurah,

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