Honoring a Lifetime of Determination

Old Main

Fayez Ghishan was born in Jordan, the oldest of nine children, and credits his mother with instilling in him a desire to pursue medicine. When he was 16 years old, Ghishan left home with only $30 to his name and a grand ambition to become a doctor. That year, he was accepted into medical school in Turkey.

Fayez Ghisan

Photo by University of Arizona Health Sciences

From early in his life, Ghishan recognized that too many children in the world were dying of diarrheal diseases. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention name diarrheal diseases as the second leading cause of death worldwide for children under age 5. This fueled Ghishan on his path to becoming a pediatric gastroenterologist.

In over 40 years of work in pediatric gastroenterology and 25 years at the University of Arizona Health Sciences as the director of the Steele Children’s Research Center in the College of Medicine – Tucson, Ghishan has made impressive contributions to his field. These include groundbreaking scientific discoveries, such as cloning genes involved in intestinal function; writing hundreds of research articles on studies to advance the world’s knowledge in his area of study; earning continuous funding for his research for three decades; and twice receiving the National Institutes of Health’s prestigious MERIT Award for “Consistent and Excellent Contributions to Scientific Knowledge.”

“We’ve met families who have gone all over the country and spent thousands of dollars with no solution. And then they end up at Steele, and within one visit they’re on their way to finding answers. It’s truly incredible.”

—Tammy Ryan, president, PANDA 

Now, members of the Phoenix Women’s Board of the Steele Children’s Research Center, known as People Acting Now Discover Answers, or PANDA, have honored Ghishan’s legacy by establishing an endowed directorship in his name at the Steele Children’s Research Center. PANDA members created a $5 million endowment to acknowledge in perpetuity Ghishan’s research, his commitment and connection to pediatric patients, his passion for educating future physicians and his ability to make people feel heard and respected.

The Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, PANDA Endowed Directorship at the Steele Children’s Research Center will enable Ghishan’s commitment to children’s health care to live on in every person who steps into the center’s top leadership role.