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Dr. Mona Obaid Becomes First Female Medical Director in Saudi Arabia’s Pharmaceutical Industry

Lilly Saudi Arabia announced the recent appointment Dr. Mona Obaid as its new medical director, marking a landmark achievement for women in the Kingdom as Dr. Obaid becomes the first woman to hold such a senior leadership role in the nation’s pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Obaid joins Lilly Saudi Arabia – also known as Eli Lilly and Company – as the latest member of its leadership team based in the nation’s capital city, Riyadh. 

Lilly is a U.S-based pharmaceutical company founded in 1876, and has branches in 18 countries, including Saudi Arabia. Its founder, Colonel Eli Lilly, was known for his motto, "Take what you find here and make it better and better.” In 2020, Lilly has been working on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and its global impact by offering clinical trials and publishing vital information for patients. Indeed, the U.S. government has purchased 650,000 additional doses of neutralizing antibody bamlanivimab from Lilly recently for its ongoing fight against the pandemic.

Renowned for her works in neurology, Dr. Obaid brings to her new role at Lilly decades of experience and knowledge. Prior to her appointment at Lilly, she worked for eight years at King Fahad Medical City (KFMC) in various fields and leadership roles, such as director for its movement disorders program at KFMC, neurologist, movement disorders specialist, and a movement disorders consultant. In addition, she is an active board member of the Saudi Neurology Board, Saudi Neurology Society, and Saudi Alzheimer's Association. 

Dr. Obaid studied at King Saud University, graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS). She then attended Security Forces Hospital, and after that University of Alberta, graduating a FRCPC in the Neurology Residency Program and also in medication, neurology, and movement disorders. She also attended the University of Joseph Fourier in France and SCFHS and Healthcare Leadership Academy. 

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has been pushing to create jobs and leadership roles for female empowerment in the private sector, while nurturing an environment that is friendly and more accessible to female employees. Eli Lilly and Company is among the companies in the private sector contributing to these efforts. The kingdom had witnessed an increase in female employees in its industries by 120 percent, 17,000 employees in total, by the first quarter of 2020. 

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