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King Saud UniversityHonored last April during the 9th annual Middle East Update in the Otolarygology Conference and Exhibition in Dubai, King Saud University’s Dr. Abdulrahman Hagr is not likely to rest on his laurels.

The recipient of the Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair Award, bearing the names of its co-founders, the award honors programs or physicians for unyielding contributions to helping the Middle East’s deaf community, but Dr. Hagr appears committed to contributing for more in the future than he has to date as chairman of the Prince Sultan Research Chair of Hearing Disabilities and Implantable Devices (RCHD).

The Ingeborg and Erwin Hochair Award is the most recent of more than 50 honors bestowed upon Dr. Hagr.

“I know that Saudis are always ready to fight whatever challenge life brings us,” the Riyadh native said demonstrating his professional commitment during a recent address. “We fight a good fight, and more often than not, we win.”

King Saud UniversitySince the program was established in 2009, the RCHD surgical staff – which along with Dr. Hagr includes Abdulrahman Al Sanosi and assistant surgeons Dr. Hassan Al-Shehri and Rabeeb Al-Joufi -- has been a major winner, but the program has made particularly significant strides over the last 12 months.

As of 430 cochlear transplants conducted since the first in 2009, more than 200 have been conducted from last October through this month, several securing KSU and the RCHD international attention. In one case, Dr. Hagr and his surgical team combined a cochlear implant with an auditory brainstem on a 17-year-old Syrian girl, the first such procedure in the Middle East and only the third worldwide.

The RCHD staff is based at King Abdulaziz University Hospital (KAUH), a King Saud University affiliate.

Dr. Hagr has vowed a stronger partnership involving KSU, the RCHD and the community, but the program has reached out far beyond the Saudi border in its brief history and could reach further under Dr. Hagr’s leadership.

Another of the major projects being spearheaded by Dr. Hagr is the proposed King Abdullah Ear Specialized Center, although no specific details are presently available. Plans are underway to conduct a Cochlear and BAHA Surgical Workshop next March when European Cochlear Academy trainers will fly in from Mechelen, Belgium to help teach potential participants.

Education is also being given major consideration by Dr. Hagr and his colleagues, one of the major intentions being to emphasize early detection to minimize the burden of hearing impairment. One of the major plans to address education will be the KSU Cochlear and Bone-Anchored and Hearing Aid Surgical Workshop, an event which is expected to attract a large group of experts and representatives from non-governmental organizations.

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The Riyadh appearance is one of two lectures presently on the calendar of Dr. Hagr, a popular speaker on conference and workshop circuits. The other is a visit to Egypt in late December where he will be a featured speaker at “Otology on the Nile.” He is also a part of the organizing committee of the 10th GCC Otorhinolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery Conference on January 15-17 in Dubai.

Dr. Hagr’s attendance in Dubai on April 21-23, 2013 for the 10th Annual Middle East Update in Otolarygology Conference and Exhibition will be a particularly special event in that the Saudi Otorhinolaryngology Society (SS-ORL), for which he is President, which will be this year’s honored society.

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