Member Spotlight: Rami Mahfouz
- What is your name?
Rami Mahfouz MD, MPH, IFCAP
- What is your professional title?
Professor and Director of Molecular Diagnostics and Head of Clinical Pathology at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine of the American University of Beirut Medical Center. I am also the Vice Chair of the Biomedical Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Director of the Residency training program.
- How did you decide to enter the field/What (or who) brought you into the field?
During my residency training, I was very much interested in Genetics and Molecular Biology in general. My elective training in St Jude Children’s Research Hospital (Memphis, Tennessee) was a cornerstone in setting the trajectory of my academic path for my future career. I also had unlimited moral support and advice from my own Chairman with ongoing plans to have a national children cancer center that needed a molecular laboratory to provide a reasonable and state-of-the-art operation.
- What do you do? How would you describe your role?
I am involved in all sorts of activities in the section ranging from routine daily work supervision to confirmation of validation of new assays up to setting strategies for the future of the section in collaboration and in line with the vision and mission of our stakeholders. The latter includes patients, transplant centers and referring physicians from all disciplines and specialties.
- How does your work help patients?
We are providing a wide range of molecular assays ranging from diagnostic to prognostic to therapy-monitoring. We do our best to keep high-quality testing in the setting of a CAP-accredited laboratory since 2004. By keeping up with state-of-the-art technical expertise through highly trained and professional staff members and advanced technology, we are sure we are providing our patients with the nest Molecular Pathology services available today.
- What degree(s) and/or training did you receive to achieve your position?
After my MD degree, I did a residency training in Clinical Pathology then a fellowship in Molecular Diagnostics at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. I am also a holder of a Master’s degree in Public Health Management which added a lot to my daily administrative and cumulative experience in taking care of my section, workload and staff.
- What is the greatest challenge you face in your work?
Turnaround time remains one of the most challenging aspects of our daily work. We would like to keep racing against time which flies quickly during the regular shifts in order to keep our patients safe with a molecular test result available in their medical charts at the earliest possible convenience. This is only achievable through a formidable teamwork spirit with a wonderful team I am privileged to work with.
- What is the best part of your work as you see it? (most interesting, fun…)
The most interesting and funny thing to report to you is the way I have to tell my staff about a new test to be validated and introduced (which happens very frequently by the way since we have been growing fast over the last few years!).
- What AMP resources/courses have helped you advance your career?
The annual AMP meeting is a great learning, connecting, updating, and breath-taking event that really supports the educational needs of every member, be it a junior of a senior one. The outreach and Board preparatory courses are excellent and highly recommended at all times.
- In your opinion, what are the most valuable aspects of AMP membership?
Being an AMP member is not just joining a society and getting the privileges of sponsorship. It is a way of life by itself! You can shape your whole career by simply being connected to wonderful mentors and senior colleagues who strive to pass the torch of their expertise from one generation to another. This you only find by being an AMP member.