August 19, 2015

Welcoming Nizar Zein, MD, as New Medical Director of Global Patient Services

Furthering commitment to the international patient



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Nizar Zein, MD, has been appointed as Chairman and Medical Director of Global Patient Services. Dr. Zein succeeds William Ruschhaupt, MD, who passed away unexpectedly in 2014 and Mario Skugor, MD, who served as Acting Medical Director of Global Patient Services for nine months.

Nizar Zein_inset

Dr. Zein has been an active supporter of Cleveland Clinic’s international operations throughout his 13 years on staff. He formerly served as Medical Director of Liver Transplantation in the Digestive Disease Institute and currently holds the Mikati Foundation Endowed Chair in Liver Disease and Transplantation.

A lifelong compassion for the international patient

Dr. Zein received his medical degree in 1986 at the University of Tishreen School of Medicine in Syria. Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic, he completed postgraduate training with internships, residencies and fellowships at Case Western Reserve University, the Medical College of Ohio and the Mayo Clinic Foundation. He served as a Staff Physician and Clinical Investigator at the Mayo Clinic until he joined the Cleveland Clinic in 2002.

During his youth, Dr. Zein lived in Greece and spent extended periods of time in England and the United States and can trace his passion for the global patient back to his childhood. At age 13, he accompanied a relative with a heart defect from Syria to Cleveland Clinic and has since been passionate about quality and compassionate care for international patients.


“Dr. Zein has just the right blend of clinical excellence, scientific achievement and passion for international patient care to build on the success of his predecessors and take Cleveland Clinic Global Patient Services to the next level of preeminence,” says Phil Schauer, MD, Chief of Minimally Invasive General Surgery and Director of the Cleveland Clinic Bariatric and Metabolic Institute.

The right skill, experience and global reach

Dr. Zein is the recipient of numerous honors and has served in several leadership committees at Cleveland Clinic, including his recent appointment to the Board of Governors. An avid educator, Dr. Zein is Training Director for Sawiris Family Endowment for International Training in Liver Diseases. He has been recognized for his commitment to educating fellows and residents at Cleveland Clinic with the Distinguished Faculty Award for Research Mentorship and was awarded the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Teacher of the Year in 2008.

Dr. Zein’s research focuses on improving disease and treatment outcome in patients with the Hepatitis C virus before and after liver transplantation. He has authored over 200 publications, and has been the Principal Investigator of several large clinical trials. He holds several patents and established a research group at Cleveland Clinic focused on 3-D printing of solid organs. His research has been supported multiple funding sources including the Mikati Family Endowment in Liver Diseases at the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Zein has been recognized for his academic excellence by Syrian American Medical Society and received the Presidential Medal in 2011 from the Ana G. Mendez University of Puerto Rico for his leadership and community service. He has also served as Editor of “The Year in Gastroenterology and Hepatology,” associate editor of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, Special Section Editor of “Liver Transplantation” and an editorial board member of Hepatology and Gastroenterology & Hepatology.


For over 90 years, Cleveland Clinic has served the international community by providing high-quality care to patients and their families. Dr. Zein’s appointment as Chairman of Global Patient Services is of great value to Cleveland Clinic’s community, at home and abroad.

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