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Oscar-Winning Surgeon to Speak About Quest to Heal Acid Attack Victims Around the World

London-based plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Ali Jawad will screen the Academy Award-winning documentary "Saving Face," which focuses on his internationally renowned work treating acid attack victims, and speak about his experiences during a lecture at Old Dominion on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The free event will be held at 7 p.m. in the Ted Constant Convocation Center's Big Blue Room and is open to the campus community and the general public. To attend, RSVP to 683-3116 or online at www.odu.edu/univevents (event code: PFP13).

Jawad's international reputation stems from high-profile plastic surgery cases, including his work to restore a British model who was the victim of a vicious acid attack. The HBO film "Saving Face" - which won the 2012 Academy Award for best short documentary - explores Jawad's efforts in Pakistan. "Saving Face" shares the stories of women victimized by brutal acid attacks as Jawad works to reconstruct and heal them. The documentary has subsequently been nominated for five Emmy Awards, which will be announced Oct. 1 in New York City.

The ODU event, which is sponsored by the university's Center for Global Health in partnership with Physicians for Peace, will focus on Jawad's work assisting women who are victims of acid attacks - a growing act of violence in countries around the world. Physicians for Peace recently recruited Jawad as a lead volunteer for a team of specialists providing Colombian medical professionals the skills and knowledge they need to treat the rising number of acid attack victims in that country.

"When it comes to acid burns, one is too many," Jawad said. "Acid attacks are mainly against women as the assailant wants to destroy the face because it is her identity. They become the walking dead. This horrible issue needs to be brought to the attention of the United States. My philosophy is if you treat these patients with a lot of compassion and restore them to normality, then they can go back be an effective member of society."

Acid flinging, where caustic liquids are intentionally thrown on women or young girls, often is an act of revenge, according to the London-based charity Acid Survivors Trust International. The long-term consequences of these attacks include blindness and permanent scarring of the face and body, along with far-reaching social, psychological and economic difficulties. Of the 1,500 acid attacks reported globally each year, 80 percent target women.


Physicians for Peace is an international nonprofit organization that harnesses the exponential power of education to create sustainable access to everyday health care. Through effective, hands-on training in high impact areas of healthcare, Physicians for Peace empowers communities in the developing world to help themselves, and thereby gain the sense of greater peace that comes with moving from a state of surviving to a state of living. Headquartered in Norfolk, it has established medical training partnerships in more than 60 countries since 1989. For more information go to www.physiciansforpeace.org.

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