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Humanitarian and Civic Excellence – 2022

Zeena Salman is one of the Arab world’s most prominent humanitarian pediatric oncologists. She has dedicated her life to helping children worldwide with cancer, particularly in conflict zones or without access to care, with a focus on serving children in the Middle East.

Dr. Salman became involved in providing care to those in need over twenty years ago.  While in Khartoum, she attended medical school and joined volunteer outreach clinics in rural areas to provide medical care to people without access. Salman returned to the USA to continue her studies at Johns Hopkins University and, later, a fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Seeing firsthand the disparities in medical care for sick children between rich and developing countries, Salman abandoned a prestigious clinical career to assist children with cancer globally.

Her most significant impact has been on Palestinian children, where she continues to lead efforts to improve care in the two public cancer departments.

Her efforts have resulted in life-saving treatment for hundreds of children living under siege and military occupation, Salman has also provided medical care and capacity-building projects for cancer patients in Morocco and has led volunteer medical missions to treat Syrian and Palestinian children in Lebanese and Jordanian refugee camps.

Salman most recently assisted in evacuation efforts for Ukrainian children with cancer following the Russian invasion through her work with St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, founded by Lebanese American Danny Thomas. Her vision is for worldwide equity in cancer care for every child, regardless of socioeconomic status and ethnic background.