Sami Said, MD, Distinguished Professor at SUNY and NORD Medical Advisor
NORD is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Sami Said, MD, who served for many years as the chairman of NORD’s Medical Advisory Committee and was a tireless and dedicated friend to the rare disease patient community. Dr. Said, an expert on rare pulmonary diseases, was Distinguished Professor of the State University of New York.
“The NORD staff knew Dr. Said as a clinician and medical researcher of the highest order who was never too busy for a question or to provide advice and guidance on matters within his areas of expertise,” said NORD President and CEO Peter L. Saltonstall.
For many years, Dr. Said served as the chairman of the committee of rare disease medical experts who make it possible for NORD to offer a program of research grants and fellowships to encourage the study of rare diseases.
He also generously shared his time with NORD, on behalf of all rare disease patients, in many other ways, including serving as a chapter reviewer for a 2003 book on rare diseases for physicians; providing advice and guidance on medical matters related to public policies; speaking at NORD conferences and other events; and providing input for specific initiatives such as the identification of disabling conditions to be included on the Social Security Compassionate Allowances list.
Susan Winter, MD, who joined NORD’s Medical Advisory Committee at the same time that Dr. Said did, said: “Sami was a wonderful and kind person and a great researcher. He was very devoted to NORD and cared deeply for the causes NORD supports. He will be missed in many ways. I will definitely miss his kind words and thoughtful remarks on our MAC calls and at meetings.”
Mary Jean Sawey, PhD, also a NORD medical advisor, noted that: “Sami was truly a scholar and a gentleman. I will miss his calm voice on our MAC calls – always trying to find a way to support every research investigator’s grant proposal.”
In 2010, NORD honored Dr. Said with its Partners in Progress Award in recognition of his service on behalf of rare disease patients and families.
Dr. Said was named Distinguished Professor – an honor accorded to just a few individuals – by the SUNY Board of Trustees in November 2006. The announcement noted that the honor is “rare and difficult to attain”, adding that he was selected on the basis of his groundbreaking scholarship; leadership; service to campus, professional organizations and community; and commitment to professional excellence.