Sidra Medicine has appointed Prof Ziyad M Hijazi as its chief medical officer (CMO) and Dr Khalid Fakhro as its chief research officer (CRO).
Dr Barbro Friden, CEO at Sidra Medicine said, “Both leaders have an unwavering commitment to advancing healthcare and with the support of all of us at Sidra Medicine, I hope our organisation becomes the first choice for parents across the Middle East who are seeking personalised care for their children. I also hope that our precision medicine programme, will set the clinical research framework for advancing academic medicine in this region.”
Prof Hijazi has nearly 40 years of experience in congenital cardiology and has pioneered several ground-breaking interventional procedures in the field. He is an internationally recognised leader in the non-surgical repair of congenital and structural heart defects in children and adults and in the development of novel trans-catheter devices.
As CMO of Sidra Medicine, Prof Hijazi will be responsible for the overall management of the hospital’s medical operations, upholding its clinical excellence and patient safety programmes and ensuring that patients in Qatar receive the highest standard of medical care.
Prof Hijazi joined Sidra Medicine in 2014, during which time he established the hospital’s Department of Paediatrics and Heart Centre; staffed by some of the top paediatric specialists and healthcare professionals from across the globe. The Heart Centre provides treatment (medical, interventional, electrical and surgical) for patients with congenital or acquired heart disease.
Prof Hijazi also successfully set up Sidra Medicine’s International Medical Office which has facilitated international patients to access several specialist services, including cardiology, urology, plastics and neurosurgery among others.
As the CRO for Sidra Medicine, Dr Fakhro is responsible for designing and implementing the healthcare organisation’s ambitious research strategy to advance precision medicine in Qatar. The strategy aims to place Sidra Medicine among the top destinations for personalised care in the world; leveraging next-generation technologies to enhance disease diagnosis and implement advanced therapies for patients.
Prior to being appointed as the CRO, he led the Human Genetics Department at Sidra Medicine and was the inaugural director of precision medicine, heading an ambitious programme where research in genomics and personalised medicine become embedded in the heart of Sidra Medicine’s academic medical enterprise; with a focus on national priority conditions, such as genetic diseases, autism spectrum disorder, and diabetes. Dr Fakhro joined Sidra Medicine in 2014.
Under Dr Fakhro’s leadership, scientists in the Research Branch at Sidra Medicine, have made important strides to improve diagnosis of rare genetic conditions. They have also contributed towards Qatar’s efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, through the development of new testing methods and the publication of studies in conjunction with international collaborators.
In addition to his new role as the CRO, Dr Fakhro will continue to run his own laboratory, having won over $5mn in international grants, and published landmark studies on the genetic structure of Qatar, including the discovery of many novel disease-causing genes in the local population.
Dr Fakhro is also involved in capacity building and education via adjunct faculty appointments at Weill-Cornell Medicine-Qatar and at Hamad bin Khalifa University, where he teaches classes and mentors the next generation of Master's and PhD students in human genetics and genomic medicine.