The Global Game-changer Ready for Next Chapter

Nizar Mamdani, executive director, International Healthcare Services, has truly seen the world. Born in Tanzania, Africa, educated in Tokyo, Japan, and fluent in seven languages, Mamdani has spent nearly the past two decades building the medical center’s international presence.

Nizar Mamdani, executive director, International Healthcare Services

It started in 1999 when Mamdani’s wife, Nancy, was battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma when they were living in Atlanta, Georgia.

Her cancer was advanced. She received two rounds of chemotherapy at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, but the cancer had returned. Her only hope was a peripheral stem cell transplant.

A successful international businessman, Mamdani checked out three of the leading cancer centers in the country – Johns Hopkins, MD Anderson and Memorial Sloan Kettering – to find the best place for his wife.

A physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering said there was only one physician who could possibly help her. His name was James Armitage, MD, and he was located at UNMC and Nebraska Medicine.

The Mamdanis came to Omaha, Nebraska, but unfortunately, Nancy’s cancer was too far along to allow for a transplant. She was in and out of the hospital over a 16-month period before passing away.

Despite the sad ending, Mamdani was impressed. He knew the medical center had a world-class cancer program. The world just didn’t know it.

Using his international connections, Mamdani offered to spread the word around the globe. He was named executive director for International Healthcare Services for Nebraska Medicine and made a five-year commitment to get the job done.

Traveling tirelessly, he established partnerships with 133 institutions in 45 countries. He brought in hundreds of patients from 57 countries for treatment. He generated tens of millions of dollars of business for the medical center.

“It’s very competitive internationally,” Mamdani says. “It’s all about relationships.”

The five-year commitment came and went. He loved the job. He wanted to keep going. He also found an amazing woman, Marsha Davidson, PhD, and they tied the knot 13 years ago.

With his 73rd birthday approaching in two months, Mamdani has decided it’s time for the next chapter. He will retire at the end of this week.

“I have been blessed to work with the most fantastic and caring physicians, nurses, health care professionals, colleagues and in particular, my dedicated and compassionate co-workers, Mohammed Al Kadhim and Ana Chavez,” says Mamdani. “They went out of their way to help me and our international patients. You develop such a bond – they become a part of your family. Many of these patients have become my lifelong friends. I will truly miss them and working at this great institution.”

“He’s done an amazing job,” says Dr. Armitage. “He’s done things that others couldn’t do. He placed articles on UNMC in international publications. He brought in a large number of foreign referrals that pay at a higher rate than most U.S. patients. But, more than that, he’s an exceptionally good person. He’s been a great friend.”

One Busy Man

Active on numerous charitable organizations, Mamdani is CEO of First Sight, a nonprofit that provides visual screening and prescription eyeglasses at no cost to needy individuals around the world. In the past few years, First Sight distributed 80,000 eyeglasses. Since 2005, Mamdani also has served as president of eTransMed, a medical documentation company. Among his numerous accomplishments at Nebraska Medicine and UNMC, Mamdani has:

  • Travelled to 57 countries to market Nebraska Medicine and UNMC internationally
  • Put Nebraska Medicine and UNMC’s name on the world map as an exceptional international patient referral center
  • Provided no-cost training and observational/educational programs for more than 100 health care specialists from 26 countries
  • Facilitated a lucrative paid training program for health care professionals from partner institutions
  • Provided personalized patient care services to international patients visiting Nebraska Medical Center
  • Hosted hundreds of professionals, dignitaries, diplomats and country leaders
  • Arranged and accompanied more than 20 visits for medical center health care teams to participate in conferences in nine countries
  • Participated in more than two dozen international conferences and exhibitions showcasing Nebraska Medicine and UNMC
  • Established an electronic second opinion program

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