Medicus Revived

Spring 2023
Jaafar Hadi (BS ’20) may have too much to do like all third-year medical students, but that hasn’t stopped him from mulling over life’s biggest questions.

“I am fascinated by the great Russian writers and their lasting impact on subsequent generations, ” he says, “and even being overwhelmed, I ask what I can do to leave a lasting impact at AUB after I graduate. ”

While at dinner in Beirut with fellow med students Majd Mzeihem and Mona Moukaddem (BS ’20), Hadi felt an idea coming into focus. “I’m not as strong and brave as Dostoevsky, ” he said, noting the writer had grown up in an apartment with a free clinic, where his father treated the homeless and poor. The young Dostoevsky had talked with patients about their pain and loss to better understand the complex factors that influenced human nature.

Hadi and his companions mulled Dostoevsky’s noble quest as they walked home. “I wondered if we could just concentrate on a journal by and about the Faculty of Medicine, ” he says. “I can’t reach Dostoevsky’s level in terms of writing, but maybe on the humanitarian level we can be brave, look for truth, and have an impact in our sphere. ”

The group brought their dream to Dr. Kamal Badr, professor of medicine, who told them about Medicus, a student-produced publication in the Faculty of Medicine that was active from 1962 to 1984. All the issues have since been uploaded digitally. The group grew excited. “You could always revive what was once a great publication, ” Badr suggested.

The group grasped the possibilities. Almost forty years after Medicus ended because of the war, they could read for themselves what had changed and what was astonishingly similar about the medical school experience. The interviews, essays, debates over thorny issues, and humor could live again.


The new Medicus team with Editor-in-Chief Jaafar Hadi and Co-directors Mona Moukaddem and Majd Mzeihem.


“The early editors included philosophical articles and also humor to make their points, ” Badr smiles at the memory. “They had advertisements, detailed scientific discoveries and innovations, and commentary on the times. ” He notes that many of the editors went on to become prominent figures in medicine. “They were an enterprising type. When Feyrouz came to deliver her baby at AUB, two of the student editors managed to interview her. ”

Exploring the digital issues of Medicus, one gets immersed in the juxtaposition of idealistic young doctors crashing into the realities of their patients’ lives, the commercial promises of the pharmaceutical companies, pressures of the outside world, and the relentless exhaustion of the work. The first issue in 1962 showcased an article on the sexual behavior of medical students next to an ad for cold tablets, followed by an abstract titled “The Role of the Nurse Today. ”

Toward the end of its run, in 1982, Medicus published a weary med student’s lament. It began, “A daily surprise of exploding bombs with their harvest of innocent people killed or mutilated despite all ethics.

” Hadi and managing co-directors Mzeihem and Moukaddem revived Medicus online in March 2023. “Such an institution in the Middle East with its prestigious past, ” says Hadi, “demanded this kind of platform to broadcast the singularity of this medical school and this faculty. ”