Abeer Saqer devotes her time to medical consulting and medical tourism. She first excelled in managing treatment plans and healthcare in America, where she nabbed the 2017 award from International Women Entrepreneur Challenge Foundation (IWEC) as Best Entrepreneur. Read through our interview with the self-made Arab female medical consultant:
- How did you start your career?
Over the past 25 years, I have built a bridge between Houston’s thriving medical community to the Middle East and beyond, making the city’s advancements in medicine accessible to people around the globe.
I began my career at MD Anderson Cancer Center, where I established the first International Patient Center for service with focus on the Middle East. I promoted and organized MD Anderson's first oncology conference in Kuwait after the sandstorm with 22 top Oncologist on board. With the support of Mayor Lee Brown, Abu Dhabi became Houston’s first Middle Eastern Sister City. My successful partnership with UAE’s leadership resulted in a $150 million donation from the president of the United Arab Emirates - the largest donation ever given to an institution in the Texas Medical Center.
Today, located in Houston’s leading hospital network, I am the CEO of Memorial International Patient Care Network where we manage patient care from A-Z: connecting them to physicians and specialists, arranging plans of treatment, and ultimately organizing effective visits. My mission is to not only introduce patients to the best treatments, but guide them towards a healthy and happy future.
- You have a degree in science and clinical nutrition from the University of Jordan, how come you did not specialize in medicine?
My GPA was not enough to get to into medical school at the time but I am grateful that I have opted for this career and was able to help thousands of patients through my knowledge and experience in healthcare management.
- Why did you choose the United States to fulfill your dream?
Health sciences and healthcare advances lured me to this country. It feels like fate planned my career. There’s no greater ambition than to take patients’ hand and offer them everything that science has to offer to heal.
- You received in 2017 the IWEC award as Best Entrepreneur, what do you say to aspiring young Arab women?
I ask women not to lose to faith in themselves and give up. Failures turn to valuable experiences.
- Is the medical tourism sector in Houston affected by the pandemic?
It is rather difficult for healthcare to be affected because the need for disease treatments can’t be postponed by a pandemic, but travel difficulties like flight cancellations often stand in our way. We continue to support our patients through visual consultations and follow up with their treatment through their own medical staff to strive for accuracy in handling medical information.
- What services does the Memorial International Patient Care Network provide?
Our services are comprehensive of all aspects of modern medical tourism, as we provide treatment services that include reviewing reports before the patient's arrival, identifying doctors who specialize in the disease, arranging appointments and coordinating care among the consultants, providing an organized treatment management. We also provide translation services and facilitate access to medical reports. We also organize the patient’s stay from securing accommodation, transportation, to providing the patient and his family with lists of places, activities, restaurants and others.
- What is a medical case you clung to the most and felt close to?
Every person with cancer reminds me of my mother, she was strong and full of hope and optimism, and this helped her in fighting the disease. Now, after 40 years of progress in treatment methods with minimal side effects, cancer patients live for many years and complete recovery. This has become more frequent than in the past.
- Does the Memorial International Patient Care Network offer psychological tratements?
We realize that every patient has special needs for himself and his family, so we do provide psychological guidance if necessary. We look at each case separately to cover all aspects of treatment accurately, taking into consideration the customs and traditions of life.
- What kind of treatments do you facilitate?
I work on cancer treatment, cardiovascular surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, spine surgery, advanced robotic urology, plastic and reconstructive surgery.
- Some travel to the United States in specific to have plastic surgeries. Is it preferable for a person to travel with prior planning and a tight “patient management”? Do you work with doctors outside of Houston like Los Angeles?
Plastic surgery is one of them widest fields in demand, whether it is purely plastic or reconstructive surgery due to burns and accidents. But I personally advise intensive preps for such operations, as we provide advance video consultations with the specialist surgeon to examine the person and check what they want from the surgery, the recovery period, and cost. Houston and Los Angeles are both very rich in advanced surgeries and the results of these operations according to statistics are highly successful.