Wednesday, August 10, 2011
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic announced today a $10 million gift from Tarek Obaid in honor of his parents, Essam and Dalal Obaid, to support reconstructive transplantation at Mayo Clinic. The gift will be used to establish the Essam and Dalal Obaid Center for Reconstructive Transplant Surgery, which includes an honored scholar position named after his grandfather, Ahmad Obaid, an endowed program fund, and an operating fund, also named in honor of the Obaid family.
VIDEO ALERT: Additional audio and video resources, including excerpts from interviews with Mayo Clinic reconstructive transplant surgery physicians, are available on the Mayo Clinic News Blog.
"We are honored to be able to help Mayo Clinic establish this center," says Mr. Obaid. "We know it can have a profound impact on patients and it is our pleasure to support these programs."
Reconstructive transplantation at Mayo Clinic currently includes hand transplantation. In the future, Mayo Clinic plans to expand to include face transplantation, which will complement Mayo Clinic's existing facial reconstructive surgery program for complex deformities of the face caused by congenital issues, trauma and illness. "Many of these patients will do very well with advanced reconstructive techniques," says Samir Mardini, M.D., a facial reconstructive surgeon at Mayo Clinic, "and some who might be candidates for a face transplant would be considered for this procedure in the future."
Mayo opened the first clinical hand transplant program in the U.S., that gives patients a reconstructive transplantation surgery option without needing to enroll in experimental trials. Mayo Clinic is currently screening patients for bilateral and unilateral hand transplantation, which includes all aspects of needed care: microsurgery, rehabilitation, rejection monitoring, social services, and psychiatric support. A physician referral is not required.
Brooks Edwards, M.D., leads the Mayo Clinic Transplant Center, which houses the interdisciplinary reconstructive transplantation team led by surgical co-directors, Steven Moran, M.D., and Dr. Mardini, and medical director, Hatem Amer, M.D. The medical and surgical staff also includes Brian Carlsen, M.D., Sheila Jowsey, M.D., Keith Bengtson, M.D., Mary Jurisson, M.D., and Thomas Schwab, M.D.
Tarek Obaid and Dr. Mardini were childhood friends. Mr. Obaid's generosity was inspired by his experience as a Mayo patient, his friendship with Dr. Mardini, and his compassion for victims of war and trauma. The gift was made in honor of the Obaid family's values — particularly hope — which they consider the most powerful emotion, providing the fortitude to persevere and the well from which people draw strength.
"Tarek and the Obaid family are dear to my heart, and knowing them and how much they enjoy helping others in need is a tremendous inspiration," says Dr. Mardini. "Their gift will transform lives and provide hope, even for those who have lost hope. Through their gift, we will advance scientific discoveries and provide clinical care to so many, who now will have the chance to live normal lives."
Mr. Obaid, 35, lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and is a co-founder and CEO of PetroSaudi, a privately held oil exploration and production company.
Journalists can become a member of the Mayo Clinic News Network for the latest health, science and research news and access to video, audio, text and graphic elements that can be downloaded or embedded.
Learn more about becoming a patient at Mayo Clinic in the Patient & Visitor Guide.