Arab-American Doctor at Beth Israel Brooklyn Earns Special Distinction

March 26, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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KINGS HIGHWAY — Even among the likes of New York City’s professional high achievers, Samir A. Farhat, MD, FCCP, a physician in Beth Israel Brooklyn, has attained a rare distinction in medicine.

Having been board-certified previously in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, critical care and sleep medicine, Farhat recently passed his fifth specialty board exam in neurocritical care. Most people would be proud to have one; some have two and at the most, three board certifications. Board specialty certification demonstrates exceptional expertise in a particular specialty or subspecialty.

“Board certification is the hallmark of an elite physician. It defines a licensed physician who passed a rigorous test designed by his peers and met a higher bar,” said Chaim Bernstein, MD, FCCP, chief medical Officer, Beth Israel Brooklyn, himself a triple-boarded pulmonary care specialist. “A physician who is board certified in five specialties is rare.”

The path to Farhat’s extraordinary achievement was hewn by ambition, perseverance and hard work. It required a lot of personal sacrifice, time and resources. He prepared for the rigorous exams on his own, while working full time at Beth Israel Brooklyn as an intensivist, a doctor who specializes in caring for some of the sickest patients in the hospital.

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“Professionally, board certification keeps one very sharp and updated,” said Farhat, who prepared for the neurocritical care exam just a month after taking the board certification for sleep medicine. Certifications are valid for a set period of time, after which a re-certification is necessary.

“Sleep medicine, which is a new field, and neurocritical care are very relevant in daily intensive care unit [ICU] practice,” the high-achieving doctor said. “Knowledge is power, and I hope to invest this power in direct patient care.”

Farhat received his medical degree from Brussels University School of Medicine in Belgium and completed his residency in internal medicine at The Brooklyn Hospital Center and fellowships in pulmonary medicine and critical care medicine at SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn.

Originally from Lebanon and now a U.S. citizen,  Farhat came to America with his businessman father, who immigrated in the 1960s. Two siblings, Leila and Hassan, are also physicians in Brooklyn. Farhat’s family currently lives in Lebanon, where his children are getting their education.

“Beth Israel Brooklyn is very proud to have such a unique physician who reflects the hospital’s highest standards of excellence,” said Bernstein.

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