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Omani cardiothoracic surgeon wins prestigious US fellowship

28 Feb 2021

A cardiothoracic surgeon from Oman has received the Michael J Davidson Structural Heart Fellowship awarded by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the Thoracic Surgery Foundation in the United States. 

Dr Qasim bin Saleh al Abri – a cardiothoracic surgeon from Sultan Qaboos University Hospital and a minimally invasive cardiac surgery fellow at Houston Methodist Hospital in the US state of Texas – received the highly prestigious and sought-after fellowship which is awarded to deserving young surgeons or trainees committed to the vision of innovative and collaborative cardiovascular care that Dr Davidson helped pioneer. 

Dr Davidson was a compassionate heart surgeon, who was fatally shot by the son of a patient outside an examination room in Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in January 2015. Davidson died hours later.

The fellowship offers support to cardiothoracic surgeons and trainees who are seeking to enhance their skills in both transcatheter valve techniques and open valve surgery. 

It provides the awardees with direct experience utilising novel and less invasive solutions for complex structural heart patients, for a six-month or one-year period.

Dr Davidson graduated from Yale School of Medicine in 1996 and completed residencies at Duke University Medical Center and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. 

Following completion of his cardiac surgery training, he completed an additional year of training divided between the cardiac catheterisation lab and the operating theatre, mastering sophisticated catheter skills and building a bridge to the hybrid future which he envisioned and helped to create.

Dr Abri said the award in memory of the noted heart surgeon is given annually, and doctors are nominated after being recommended by their hospitals to apply and compete for the fellowship. 

“All the candidates present a clear plan and visualisation of how they will benefit from the award. A specialised committee hears the plan and decides the winner.”

He added that the fellowship will be devoted to scientific research and surgical innovation during his study of minimally invasive cardiac surgery as well as practical practice in the hospital. 

He stressed that the fellowship will open new horizons for cardiac surgeons in the sultanate and the quality of their training.

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