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Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences announces the winners of the 9th term 2015-2016 14 November 2016
Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences has announced the names of 15 winners in the 9th term 2015-2016, which is centered on Gastroenterology. The awards, with a total value of AED 2.8 million, include 3 categories; the International awards, the Arab World Awards, and the UAE awards. 
This announcement came within the press conference held today afternoon at the JW Marriot Marquis hotel, Dubai, with the attendance of the members of the award’s board of trustees and scientific committees, alongside with a galaxy of media people from the UAE.
Attended the press conference the representatives of the winning organizations and authorities, and the consuls and ambassadors for the countries of the winners including; Mr. Frederic Bellucci, Political Officer, the consulate of the USA, Dr. Naif Al Rashid, Deputy consul, the consulate of the KSA, and Mostafa Karam, a board member, the Emirates Airlines Foundation, UAE. Also, as representatives for Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Dr. Aref Al-Mulla, Chief of the Cardiac Sciences Institute, and Dr. Adbdul Majid al Zubaidi, the Medical Director, attended the event.
At the beginning of the press conference, Mr. Mirza al Sayegh, a member of the board of trustees of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Makotum Award for Medical Sciences, extended the greetings of the board members to the all attendees. He spoke about the reputation of the Award which has been growing gloriously for the past eighteen years. This is because the Award was at the forefront of efforts to acknowledge and celebrate the best scientific and humanitarian works on a global scale. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Award has reached a very high status as a major motivator to promote the best practices in healthcare provision in the region and all over the world.
“During this superb journey of persistent work, honoring innovative researchers and specialists was not the only way to support excellence in medical practice. As a matter of fact, the Award gave extensive support to continuous medical education and training, with special focus on scientific research, particularly in modern sciences, such as genomics, in order to promote professional performance in this vital field of medicine”, he said. 
“I would like to take this opportunity, to extend sincere appreciation and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and Minister of Finance for all that He has done along the way of establishing this Award and sustaining it, which has resulted in its current internationally-recognized distinction”, he added. 
“The process of selecting winners requires huge efforts exerted by members of numerous primary and secondary committees.  As you are aware, the focus of this term is on Gastroenterology and we have had excellent specialists in this field of medicine on board in order to achieve the highest level of professionalism throughout all rounds of selection for the awards”, Mirza al Sayegh said. 
“All these efforts and practices adopted by our committees make me truly proud, as I experienced the most objective modus operandi in this context with full attention to the rules and regulations established by the Award. Importantly, all this work was accompanied by admirable transparency and impartiality that are considered the main and solid elements in the fair selection of winners. Furthermore, scientific committees received all necessary support from the Award’s Board of Trustees, who were following the process of winners’ selection at every stage”, he mentioned.
Then Prof. Najib Al Khaja, Secretary Generl, Hamdan Medical Award, delivered a speech in which he extended his sincere appreciation to the Patron of the Award His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai & UAE Minister of Finance, for his continuous and comprehensive support to scientists and scholars.
Also, he emphasized the role played by the Award’s Board of Trustees, its scientific committees and various Centers, for shedding light on the unique discoveries and work of eminent scientists in this field. “The end result of course is promoting the provision of the best medical services and practices on local, regional and international levels”, he said.
Then, Prof. Najib al Khaja announced the names of the winners of the Award:
The International Awards:
Grand Hamdan Award, on Gastroenterology, is for Prof. Harvey J Alter, NIH Distinguished Investigator, Transfusion Medicine Department, NIH Clinical Center, USA
He was the principal investigator of studies that identified non-A, non-B hepatitis, now called hepatitis C, and co-discovered the Australia antigen, which is key to detecting hepatitis B virus.  His work was instrumental in providing the scientific basis for instituting blood donor screening programs.
The fundamental discoveries by Prof. Alter and colleagues have resulted in major medical advances through ongoing molecular biological and immunological studies aiming to uncover the determinants of viral clearance, persistence and disease pathogenesis.  These results were the starting point to find new therapies and vaccines. 
Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence, on the topic of Colon Disorders, is for Prof. Sanford Markowitz, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Cleveland Ohio, USA,
Prof. Sanford Markowitz is internationally recognized for his discovery of two key colon cancer tumor suppressor genes, TGF-beta RII and 15-PGDH.  
His work explained why individuals with Lynch syndrome develop familial colon cancer—they are born with a molecular defect that leads to rapid inactivation of a certain tumor suppressor gene. Additionally, he uncovered the reason as to why aspirin prevents colon cancers in some individuals but not others. 
Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence, on the topic of Pancreatic Diseases, is for Professor David Tuveson, Deputy Director of the Cold Spring Harbor, Laboratory Cancer Centre, USA.
His laboratory in Cambridge established a preclinical therapeutic initiative to evaluate potential chemoprevention and intervention strategies for pancreatic cancer. He unraveled a number of signaling pathways that play a major role in developing pancreatic cancer. These pathways, and their components, are considered excellent therapeutic targets.
Prof. Tuveson’s work resulted in the discovery of numerous cellular proteins that are linked to this type of cancer, and that these proteins can be used as biomarkers for early detection.
Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence, on the topic of Liver Disorders, is for Dr. Meritxell Huch, Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge - UK 
She has established a new culture system that maintains the self-renewal status of liver stem cells in vitro, while differentiation towards functional liver cells can be induced by modulating key signaling pathways. 
Dr. Huch and colleagues located the specific type of stem cells responsible for this regeneration. By isolating these cells and placing them in a culture medium, the researchers were able to grow organoids.
She is now moving onto testing it with human cells, which would not only be more relevant to research into human disease, but would also lead to the development of a patient's own liver tissue for transplantation.                   
The Hamdan Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services is for 3 winners:
Winner 1 : Médicins Sans Frontières, France.
The Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF) was founded in 1971 as an independent international medical humanitarian organization, endeavors to provide emergency medical care to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or lack of access to health care.  
MSF is present in 70 countries around the world.  Its work is funded mainly by donations from the public. This gives the team the independence to provide quality medical care to those who need it most.
Winner 2 : the Emirates Airline Foundation, UAE. The Emirates Airlines Foundation (EAF) was launched on 25th of February 2003 as a non-profit charity organization, which aims to improve the quality of life of children around the world, regardless of their geographical, political, or religious affiliations.
The foundation’s source of funding is donations made by passengers on board Emirates flights. Since its establishment in February 2003, EAF has funded and donated an estimated AED 32 million for various projects in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Maldives, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. 
Winner 3 : Dr. Graham Forward, Australia.
In 2004, in response to the emergency medical requirements resulting from the 2004 tsunami, Dr. Graham established an organization named Australian Doctors for Africa (ADFA) in 2005 to provide volunteering orthopaedic medical teams to furnish medical assistance and support to communities in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Tulear (Madagascar) and Hargeisa in Somaliland.
To this initial specialty service, gastroenterology, urology, paediatrics and cardiology services have now been added.  
The Arab World Awards:
Hamdan Award for Best Medical College, Institute, or Centre in the Arab World is for Lalla Salma Foundation for the Prevention and Treatment of Cancers, Morocco. 
The foundation was founded in 2005, inspired by the leadership of Princess Lalla Salma, wife of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, as a non-profit organization works together with the national health system to improve care of patients with cancer, promote the prevention of cancer and raise awareness throughout Morocco.
Every year more than 35,000 Moroccans develop cancer and Lalla Salma foundation aims to develop a comprehensive network of hospitals and centres, which provide free treatment for cancer patients who cannot afford it. Also, the foundation is working hard to provide a better treatment and quality of life for those who are suffering from these debilitating illnesses.
Hamdan Award for Honoring Distinguished Personalities from the Arab World is for Prof. Mohammed Al Faqih, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Prof. Al Faqih is one of the pioneers of pediatric cardiac surgery in the Arab world, and the first non-American surgeon to be given Professorship at Harvard University in USA.
Prof. Al Faqih accomplished over 6000 successful critical surgical operations. Furthermore, he has rendered significant contributions to the development of innovative surgical techniques in this specialty including stopping the circulatory system in the child under operation by cooling the body. 
He founded the Cardiac Surgery Department at the Military Hospital of Riyadh in 1979, which later became Prince Sultan Cardiac Center.                                
The UAE awards:
Hamdan Award for Outstanding Clinical Department in the Public Sector in UAE is for the Cardiac Sciences Institute, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi.
The Institute merits recognition as a Center of Excellence in this sphere of practice with contributions to teaching and training of Residents including the establishment of a Cardiology Fellowship, burgeoning clinical research programs and meticulous attention to KPIs, underpinned by Policies and Procedures in place.
A major achievement has been the performance of surgical procedures on 2,800 pediatric and adult patients with congenital heart disease.  Adult cardiac surgery has been carried out on 2,211 patients, additionally 1,429 heart rhythm devices have been implanted by the Electrophysiology service.
3 personalities are the winners of the Hamdan Award for Honoring Individuals Working in the Field of Medicine & Health:
Winner 1: Dr. Hussein Abbas Mahboobi.
Dr. Mahboobi is the first practicing dentist, not only in UAE, but also across the whole GCC Region. 
His first clinic in Bur Dubai, was the first modern dental clinic in Dubai and across the whole region. This clinic was equipped with the latest German medical technologies, through which Dr. Mahboobi was able to offer a number of professional dental services to his patients for the first time in the country and across the region. These involved using local anesthesia in dental care, and the use of silver dental amalgam for fillings, in addition to offering root canal treatments. 
Dr. Mahboobi started the first dental lab in Dubai in 1952, through which he was able to produce the first dental crowns and bridges in the region.
Winner 2: The late Dr. Tayseer Ibrahim Barakat
Dr. Barakat started his career as a General Manager at the UAE Ministry of Health (MOH) in 1975. He then became a consultant to MOH. 
During his time at MOH, Dr. Barakat conducted a detailed assessment of health services in UAE, and put together the first five-year plan for health services in the country, which tackled issues such as establishing new hospitals and medical centers, restructuring MOH administratively and technically, defining job descriptions and job responsibilities across all MOH departments, divisions, and for all members of staff working for MOH. 
Dr. Tayseer initiated the necessary procedures needed for the ratification of some healthcare laws, including the first law to regulate births and deaths registration.
Winner 3: Dr. Shawqi Mir Hashem Khouri
Dr. Khouri is the first UAE specialist in internal medicine, with sub-specialization in endoscopy. 
He obtained his PhD in gastroenterology from Germany in 1988. While working for Rashid Hospital in Dubai, Dr. Khouri launched the first independent center for endoscopy across the region.
Dr. Khouri established the first electronic record system for patient registration, in order to store important data such as details about the patient’s condition with visual data. This resulted in radical improvement in healthcare provision because it speeds and facilitates access to patient details. This initiative was the foundation on which Dubai Health Authority depended to build a registry of all patients’ data, using the modern “Electronic Medical Record- DHA EMR” system. 
The Hamdan Award for Original Research Paper Published in the Hamdan Medical Journal is for:
Winning Paper 1 :
 “Purification and biochemical characterization of a second type of neutral ceramidase from camel (Camelus dromedarius) brain”, by Sehamuddin Galadari, Cell signaling laboratory, Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine & Health Sciences, UAE University, Al Ain, UAE.
The paper has been published in Volume: 8 Issue: 1 (2015), Hamdan Medical Journal.
Winning paper 2:
 “Sensitization of murine macrophages and human hepatoma cells to lipopolysaccharide-induced oxidative and nitrosative stress by aspirin”, by Haider Raza, Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE.
The paper has been published in Volume: 7 Issue: 2 (2014), Hamdan Medical Journal.
Concluded the press conference, Prof. Najib AL Khaja spoke about honoring the winners during the Award Ceremony on the 14th of December 2016, at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center, with the attendance of the Patron of the award H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and President of Dubai Health Authority.
“In conjunction with the ceremony, the 9th Dubai International Conference for Medical Sciences will be held on gastroenterology, with a focus on the colon, liver and pancreatic diseases. The winners of the Grand Hamdan Award and Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence will be among the keynote speakers of the conference”, Prof. Najib al Khaja said.