Services for Teens At Risk


STAR-Center in Beirut
Helping Improve Young Lives in Beirut 
Kim Poling, LCSW, Zaynab El Ahmar, MS Fadi Maalouf, MD, David Brent, MD

Fadi Maalouf, MD was a faculty member at WPIC until he decided, for family reasons to return to Lebanon three years ago. During his years at WPIC, Dr. Maalouf worked with Dr. David Brent and staff, at the STAR Clinic, a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania supported program for the treatment and prevention of youth depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior. In addition to providing excellent clinical services, Dr. Maalouf developed an active program of research studying neurocognitive and emotion processing markers in major depressive disorder in adolescents. 

After his departure from Pittsburgh, Dr. Maalouf continued to collaborate with Dr. Brent (by Skype) on various research initiatives. In addition to developing research in Lebanon, Dr. Maalouf is also developing an outpatient program for depressed and anxious teens, and looked to the STAR Clinic as a model for developing a specialty treatment program for children and adolescents at risk at the American University of Beirut, where Dr. Maalouf is now a faculty member. During a June Skype call with Dr. Brent, Dr. Maalouf and Kim Poling, STAR Clinic’s Program Manager, the seeds of an eastern STAR were planted, beginning with a plan to provide training for Dr. Maalouf’s psychotherapist, Zaynab El Ahmar. 

Ms. El Ahmar traveled to Pittsburgh and spent the week of July 2 with us! Her training agenda included KSADS didactic assessment and suicide risk assessment as well as observing assessments, strategies for safety planning and group programming. Additionally, Ms. El Ahmar had the opportunity to join Dr. David Brent for an afternoon pharmacotherapy clinic. She and Kim worked together to begin developing plans for a similar assessment and treatment program in Beirut, Lebanon. 

Ms. El Ahmar also had the opportunity to observe at the Southside Adolescent OCD Program. Josh Hefferen, Program Manager, accompanied Ms. El Ahmar for a morning with the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) program staff and faculty where she was able to observe children being treated with various techniques, including exposure response prevention. Since OCD is prevalent amongst children in Beirut, Dr. Maalouf and Ms. Zaynab El Ahmar also plan to develop an OCD program there. 

We look forward to this important ongoing opportunity and our future collaborative endeavors!