Grateful Patients Endow Khouri Fund

Published in Radiology Update - 2021

After over four decades of service, Nagi F. Khouri, the former Carol Ann Flanagan Associate Professor of Breast Imaging and an esteemed colleague and mentor to hundreds of radiologists, retired in December 2020. Beyond the heartfelt words of kindness and appreciation that accompany the retirement of a beloved doctor, more than 40 of Khouri’s dearest patients made the ultimate display of respect by permanently endowing the Nagi F. Khouri, M.D. Fund for Education and Research.

“We are deeply grateful to the many donors who honored Dr. Khouri in such a meaningful way. Such funding will set the stage for the type of truly pioneering research that is not typically funded by traditional sources. We could not pursue such goals without the generous support of the many contributors to the Khouri Fund,” says Karen M. Horton, director of radiology and radiological science.

The Nagi F. Khouri, M.D. Fund for Education and Research will provide necessary resources to advance the education and research of junior breast imaging faculty members. Khouri is keen to mentor early-career physician-scientists who he views as the future and the prime source of innovations in breast imaging. The fund will provide important seed research funding for promising new radiological approaches and will support the exploration and development of innovations in patient-centered care that are not often supported.

For generations of residents, fellows and junior faculty members who served with and learned from him, Khouri was an exceptional role model and mentor. As a leader in breast imaging, he was a key figure in helping advance the science from a subspecialty to a true specialty.

“Dr. Khouri was incredibly committed to his patients and had a remarkable bedside manner that put patients at ease during what is a very scary time for them. He was very comforting, and I learned a lot from him about the importance of putting the patient first,” says Emily Ambinder, an assistant professor who was a resident under Khouri.

A native of Lebanon, Khouri received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 1971 and completed his residency in diagnostic radiology at AUB and Johns Hopkins, where he joined the faculty in 1975. He was soon appointed to lead chest services, serving as director until 1986. As a researcher, he led a seminal study using needle aspiration biopsy to examine pulmonary lesions for cancer, which established the accuracy of the technique and proved invasive surgery was unnecessary.

In 1986, Khouri shifted focus to improving the care and early detection of breast cancer. Khouri introduced the concept of a dedicated breast specialization and established mammography as a standard practice. He was a key figure in the creation of the pioneering Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Breast Center. Twice he was named to Medical Imaging Magazine’s list of Top 10 Women’s Imagers.

Khouri was similarly committed to underserved people in Baltimore, extending breast screening and diagnostic services to low-income and elder populations through the East Baltimore Medical Center and the Department of Aging of Baltimore County. Internationally, he worked with federal and private organizations to improve breast cancer awareness and screening programs, and helped to design and build comprehensive multidisciplinary centers to deliver breast care. Khouri worked in Abu Dhabi, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, multiple countries in South America and more.

As a researcher, he led key studies in new radiology techniques and published extensively, including several book chapters and 49 peer-reviewed articles. In addition to his influence in clinical care and research, Khouri was a reformer in education. He initiated and led the development of the e-Radiology Learning program, which delivered high-quality didactic education to underdeveloped countries around the world.