Tribute to Dr Tawfiq Nasser

Photo: Dr Tawfiq Nasser, 2014. Photo: LWF Jerusalem
Photo: Dr Tawfiq Nasser, 2014. Photo: LWF Jerusalem

“Long and faithful service” to the Augusta Victoria Hospital

(LWI) - With great sadness The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has learned of the death of Dr Tawfiq A. Nasser, the Chief Executive Officer of the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem. Dr Nasser passed away on the morning of 16 May 2015. He had been the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer since 2001 and was instrumental in shaping its medical orientation.

“Dr Nasser was a man of compassion and service who cared deeply about others,” LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge wrote in a condolence letter to Dr Nasser’s family.  “In the LWF, we are particularly grateful for the long and faithful service Dr Nasser gave in the development of the Augusta Victoria Hospital.”

“He cherished and loved AVH”

Dr Nasser, who was born in the AVH in 1964 when the hospital still had a maternity ward, had been the hospital’s administrative director since 1997. He took over as Chief Executive Officer in 2001, at the age of 36. Dr Nasser shaped the hospital into the leading center for nephrology and oncology in the Palestinian territories.

He graduated in biomedicine and hospital administration at the Old Dominion University in Virginia, USA. Before taking a position at the AVH, Dr Nasser worked at Sentara Health System, USA, as well as at Bir Zeit University and with Arab Care Medical Services, both in Ramallah.

Colleagues and friends praised Dr Nasser’s commitment to the AVH and its patients. “Tawfiq worked at AVH on the Mount of Olives for 18 years,” Bishop Munib A Younan, Chairperson of the board of the AVH and President of the LWF, said. “He cherished and loved AVH. Tawfiq did not want it to be just a hospital. He wanted it to be a community of healing on the Mount of Olives.”

LWF General Secretary Junge said of Dr Nasser: “As a medical doctor, he learned the healing arts and applied them to relieve human suffering. As a gifted administrator, he organized the staff, the resources and the supporters to bring the Augusta Victoria Hospital to even higher levels of service. As a Palestinian, through his words and actions as a consummate professional, he was a powerful witness for justice, peace and an end to the occupation.”

Continue delivering services

Dr Nasser continued working until early May. He had been gradually handing over responsibilities to his deputy, Walid Nammour, who will continue to ensure  professional delivery of services.

Located on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem, the AVH serves thousands of patients annually. It provides specialized medical services that are either unavailable elsewhere or not readily accessible to Palestinians, including facilities for dialysis, cancer and surgery, as well as special clinics, laboratories and medical equipment. One of Dr Nasser’s achievements was to have the hospital awarded the prestigious Joint Commission International accreditation for health care quality, patient care and organizational management in 2013. He also took the decision to send volunteer medical teams into Gaza to treat the wounded during the conflict of August 2014.

“We stand by his wife and his family,” Rev. Mark Brown, Country Representative of the LWF program in Jerusalem, said. “Please keep them in your prayers. Wholly in keeping with Tawfiq’s commitment to AVH, the family requested that friends wishing to honor Tawfiq send contributions to Augusta Victoria Hospital in support of its cancer work, in lieu of flowers.”