Abu Dhabi, UAE, 18 May 2015: His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE’s Minister of Culture, Youth, and Community Development, inaugurated the groundbreaking event of the Bascom Palmer August Medical Eye Institute (BPAMEI) under his patronage on 18 May. UAE-based SOZA Group, in partnership with the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and August Medical, hosted a select group of guests at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, to mark the groundbreaking for the construction of BPAMEI. The partnership brings one of the world’s finest and most progressive centers for ophthalmic care, research and education to the UAE. At a cost of AED 200 million, the BPAMEI project is being funded by His Excellency Dr. Abdulrahim Jaffar Al Zarouni and Mr. Suhail Jaffar Al Zarouni through their organization, SOZA Group. This is the first time the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute has ventured outside of its home in South Florida.
His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, delivered the opening speech. Mr. Suhail Jaffar Al Zarouni, Founder and CEO of both August Medical, USA, and SOZA group, UAE, followed the opening address; Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt – Dean, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, USA; Dr. Eduardo C. Alfonso, Chairman, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, USA; Dr. Zain Kenderian – Chief Medical Officer, August Medical, USA and Frank Swaans, Vice President, Global Healthcare Services, Grisham Smith and Partners constituted the rest of the speakers line-up. A 3D film that captured the vision and scope of the project was also presented at the event.
Mr. Suhail Jaffar Al Zarouni – Founder and CEO of both August Medical, USA and SOZA group, UAE stated: “We intend The Bascom Palmer August Medical Eye Institute to be one of the finest medical institutions devoted to ophthalmology, not only in the region, but globally. Given the breadth and depth of our activities; from clinical care to residency and fellowship programs to research; it is my firm belief that we will be of great benefit to our patients, to future generations of doctors and of service to our new home, the UAE.”
Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Dean, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, USA commented: “This marks a very special milestone for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine – a new chapter in our global outreach initiative. The collaboration between the Institute and August Medical is the first time that our medical school will be permanently stationing full-time, academic physicians outside of the United States. I would like to thank the alliance that made this happen, in bringing premier eye care, teaching and research to UAE and the Gulf region and laud their visionary leadership, uncommon wisdom, and creative energy.”
Chairman Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D. Chairman, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, USA commented: “We are here to provide some of the world’s leading ophthalmologists to serve the people of UAE and to bring our medical education program to the community.”
”Dr. Zain Kenderian – Chief Medical Officer of August Medical commented: “This project will allow us to meet the healthcare needs and more specifically the eye care needs of this community and its future generations with state of the art clinical care. We believe that it is really important to have a facility that matches the quality of physicians that will work here. So we’ve come up with something unprecedented.”
Also gracing the groundbreaking ceremony were H.E. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State; H.E. Dr. Abdulrahim Jaffar, H.E. Shaima Al Zarooni, CEO, International Humanitarian City; Representatives of The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), along with other senior officials.
Located in Mohammed Bin Zayed City, the new facility – to be named The Bascom Palmer August Medical Eye Institute – will consist of 7,600 square meters spread over three floors in phase 1 and 4,000 square meters with an additional three floors in phase 2, totaling 11,600 square metres. It will have multiple pillar programs for eye disease prevention, early diagnoses and proper treatment including, but not limited to: diseases of the retina and cornea, refractive surgery, diabetic eye care, neuro-ophthalmology, Oculo-Surface Diseases (treatment of dry eye syndrome), and laser cataract surgery. The facility will also provide unparalleled clinical research, residency and fellowship programs. As part of its philanthropic mandate, BPAMEI will provide a free and open forum (in its auditorium) once a week to healthcare providers and administrators where lectures, seminars and other events will be held for the purpose of transferring knowledge of the latest technologies and techniques in the field.
The first phase of the Institute will open in the first quarter of 2017 with the fellowship program launching in the last quarter 2018. The BPAMEI will be comprised of 43 eye lanes and diagnostic rooms (including visual field, photo rooms and Ocular-Surface Disease diagnostics), 1 Lasik procedure room, 2 Electro-retinography diagnostic labs, 3 ambulatory operating suites, 1 laser surgery suite, 4 room sleep medicine labs in addition to a few specialized amenities such as a 50 seat auditorium dedicated to medical education, a pharmacy with the ability to offer specialized medicinal compounding, an optical shop, and VIP and executive services and facilities among others.
BPAMEI will make available in the UAE the latest techniques and technologies from Bascom Palmer in the US. It hopes to be the medical destination of choice for patients seeking eye care in the region.
In addition to winning several international awards, Bascom Palmer has been ranked the number one eye hospital in the U.S. for the eleventh consecutive year by US News & World Report. It represents an extension of Bascom Palmer’s and August Medical’s full complement of eye care specialty and subspecialties. Treating every identified ophthalmic disease, the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is one of the crown jewels of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, a non-profit institution.
According to the World Health Organization, 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, but 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured. In the UAE, figures from the International Diabetes Federation (November 14 2014) also suggest that 19% of the UAE population is living with diabetes with another 20% at high risk of becoming diabetic. Rapid degeneration of the nerves and blood vessels of the eye leading to visual impairment and blindness is directly related to undetected or even unmonitored and improperly managed diabetes. Annual eye check-ups are recommended especially for those who are diabetic.
A game changer in the UAE’s private healthcare sector, BPAMEI’s global faculty is comprised of 75 ophthalmologists who work in tandem with over 1,000 vision researchers, nurses, ophthalmic technicians and support staff at campuses spread throughout South Florida and now the UAE. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/  http://diabetesuae.ae/diabetes/diabetes-facts  http://m.gulfnews.com/news/uae/health/7-leading-eye-ailments-in-the-region-1.1378206