As a plastic surgeon, Manaf Alazzawi has witnessed both life’s tragedies and miracles. He was recently a key member of the medical team at King Fahad National Guard Hospital in Saudi Arabia that successfully separated conjoined twins.
Dr. Alazzawi, who in 1997 completed eight years of residency and fellowship training in plastic surgery at U of T, fondly remembers his time in Canada. To commemorate his teachers and assist future specialists, he has donated $275,000 to endow the Alazzawi Fund in Plastic Surgery in the Department of Surgery, which will support research, post-doctoral fellowships and faculty recruitment.
“In Arabic we have a proverb that roughly means: I am forever a servant for any person that teaches me how to write if only one letter of the alphabet. It reflects the classical Arabic culture of appreciation of teachers,” says Dr. Alazzawi. “I will always feel indebted to the university.”
Dr. Richard Reznick, chair of the Department of Surgery, says U of T owes a debt of gratitude to its former student, too. ” Dr. Alazzawi’s generous gift will provide funds to support our current academic priorities,” he says.
Since leaving U of T, Dr. Alazzawi has applied what he learned in Canada to his work in the Saudi Kingdom. He is currently head of plastic surgery at King Abdulaziz Medical City. “In Canada, I learned what medical care should be like,” he explains. “I came back to Saudi Arabia well equipped to deal with any medical challenge.”
His pledge is the beginning of a long relationship with U of T, he says. “I hope to increase my gift over time. It pleases me that I have established something permanent for my beloved department.”