The Neuromuscular Disease Network for Canada

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Dr. Mona Hnaini’s Blog

About Dr. Hnaini

Dr. Mona Hnaini completed her General Pediatrics training at Beirut Arab University in 2015. She performed her Pediatric Neurology clinical fellowship at the American University of Beirut between 2016 and 2019. In August 2020, she moved to Canada to sub-specialize in Pediatric Neuromuscular at Children’s Hospital London Health Science Centre under the supervision of Dr. Craig Campbell.

 

Dr. Hnaini's Blog

I was born and raised in Lebanon. From a young age, I knew medicine was my dream career. Thankfully I reached this goal by obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine and Surgery from the Beirut Arab University in 2011. Then in 2015, I completed my residency in General Pediatrics after which I started my practice in the private and government sectors. It was at this time that I became passionate about Pediatric Neurology. From 2016 through 2019, I pursued my studies in Pediatric Neurology at the American University of Beirut (AUBMC) under the supervision of Dr. Rose-Mary Boustany, Professor of Pediatrics and Neurobiology at AUMBC and Adjunct Professor at Duke University. Throughout the duration of my training, I was exposed to neuroinflammatory, neuromuscular, and epilepsy cases where I had the opportunity to enhance my knowledge in neonatal seizures management and take part in a study aiming to retrospectively assess the use of levetiracetam in newborns at AUBMC, a project that ran a period of 6 years.

After my fellowship, I worked for one year in my hometown at my private clinic. In 2020, I was offered to sub-specialize in Pediatric Neuromuscular Disease under the mentorship of Dr. Craig Campbell at the Children’s Hospital London Health Science Centre (LHSC). During the years of my practice, I witnessed a good number of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Spinal Muscular Atrophy cases. Unfortunately, patients’ chances to receive optimum care and management were limited due to the lack of resources and expertise. Nevertheless, I was eager to learn and get involved in the new era of managing those diseases by being exposed to the latest drugs being studied and to the standard of care that is constantly updated in Canada. Hopefully, one day I will be able to implement my training in Lebanon. Currently, I am a sub-investigator for the clinical trials run and supervised by Dr. Campbell, and I am working on some other projects including the landscape of home mechanical ventilation use in the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease population and an open label pharmacokinetic study in DMD patients on Deflazacort therapy. I look forward to being an added value to the Neuromuscular Disease Network for Canada.

I will take advantage of this opportunity to talk a little bit about starting my fellowship during the COVID-19 pandemic since it has been a new experience for society in general and health-care workers in particular. Upon arrival and with the help of Dr. Campbell, I quarantined at a hotel for 14 days, where I completed my clinical trial training. Then I moved to my apartment that is luckily just beside the hospital. In terms of beginning my fellowship and proceeding to patient medical care, it has been reassuring that patients and workers are abiding by the appropriate measures that protect us against COVID-19 and even young kids always make sure to follow these protective steps. Virtual clinic visits are not my favourite as it is definitely not easy to build a clinical sense virtually, but with time I am learning this skill. Nonetheless, we are still able to provide optimum care for our patients and professional meetings have been easier and more accessible. Being alone in a new country during the COVID-19 pandemic and a lockdown for 6 months has been difficult, yet the warm hardworking atmosphere at LHSC has made it easier and smoother and hopefully the pandemic will end soon so that I can further explore life in Canada.

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