Equanimity Personified


On Aug. 4, 2020, a deadly explosion caused by stored ammonium nitrate at the Port of Beirut resulted in 218 deaths and more than 7,000 injuries. Close to 400 of the injured were immediately transported to the emergency department at American University of Beirut Medical Center, where Eveline Hitti ’02 is chair of emergency medicine. The number of patients that flooded the ED increased to more than 700 by the end of the week.

“I survived the mass casualty response because of my training at Hopkins,” says Hitti. “A big part of what I learned was the ability to push through the hardest night, the hardest challenge, the hardest situation — and focus on the care that I needed to deliver.”

Possessing an evenness of temper in difficult situations is a trait that Hitti developed during her journey from Lebanese refugee to Johns Hopkins medical student to emergency physician. She and her family fled the Middle East in 1982 during the Israeli invasion when she was 5. The experience shaped her career goal of helping people in need. “When you’re forced out of your own country as a refugee, you always have it in your mind that you want to go back to help the people there,” says Hitti.

After attending grade school in Cleveland and high school in Dubai, Hitti relocated to Baltimore to attend Johns Hopkins, then stayed for medical school and her internship and residency in emergency medicine (2002–05). She earned an M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins’ Carey Business School in 2010 and soon after fulfilled her lifelong ambition of returning to Beirut.

As chair of the first academic emergency medicine department in Lebanon, Hitti oversees 40 clinicians and an additional 40 employees in education, research, quality and administration. She is also an attending physician, researcher, faculty member and a consulting physician surveyor for the Joint Commission International.

Since her appointment in 2012, Hitti has expanded the small emergency medicine and acute care clinical operation by adding ACGME International-accredited training programs and the only toxicology service in Lebanon. “Our university has trained more residents in this specialty than any other institution in the region,” says Hitti, who was honored with a 2023 Samuel P. Asper Award for Achievement in Advancing International Medical Education by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Alumni Association.