Zohair Al-Halees, a senior cardiac surgeon at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSHRC) in Riyadh, was recently elected president of the World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery (WSPCHS).
Al-Halees joined the King Saud Medical School in Riyadh, and was among the first batch of doctors to graduate in 1977. He was appointed surgical resident at the KFSHRC, from where he was sent on a scholarship to the US and Canada.
Al-Halees underwent general surgery, cardiovascular and thoracic training programs in Houston in the US and Ottawa in Canada. In 1983, he obtained a general surgery fellowship certification from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. A year later, he received a fellowship in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery.
Al-Halees was the first Saudi physician to obtain this certification from Canada. He then spent a year of fellowship in pediatric and congenital cardiac surgery in Denver in the US.
He returned to Saudi Arabia in 1985 and joined the staff at the KFSHRC, where he continues to work. He has performed operations in many countries, helping and educating local teams in many cardiac surgical procedures, some of which he either developed or refined.
Al-Halees is frequently invited to lecture in many local and international meetings. He has delivered some 500 presentations and lectures, and has published 421 articles and book chapters, as well as 145 abstracts.
Al-Halees has received many recognitions and awards, including the King Abdul Aziz First Degree Medal of Honor, awarded to him by the late King Abdullah himself.