Dr. Jorge Lazareff, professor and director of pediatric neurosurgery at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, was honored by Mending Kids International (MKI) at the organization's Rock'n Blues Benefit in Agoura Hills on Nov. 6.
Mending Kids International arranges to bring children from other countries to Southern California to receive surgical care and also assembles medical teams to travel abroad on specialized missions where many children suffering from the same condition are treated.
Lazareff was recognized for his heroic work in separating Guatemalan conjoined twins, Maria Teresa and Maria de Jesus Quiej Alvarez in 2001, and for his continued partnership with the organization.
"Dr. Lazareff has gone the extra mile for the twins, as well as many other children he has operated on, and countless children have benefited from his extraordinary efforts," said Cris Embleton, founder of Mending Kids International. "MKI thanks him for his long-term partnership and commitment and his continued efforts to help the world's children in need."
Lazareff holds the Geri and Richard Brawerman Chair in Pediatric Neurosurgery at UCLA. In 2002, he created Global Neuro Rescue, an organization devoted to providing continuing medical education and training to medical staffs in developing nations for treating regionally prevalent neurological disorders.
Prior to being recruited to UCLA in 1983, Lazareff served as chief of pediatric neurosurgery at the Hospital Infantil de Mexico, where he oversaw the treatment of children with neurosurgical conditions in one of the most populated cities in the world.
Born and raised in Argentina, Lazareff received his medical degree from the University Nacional of Buenos Aires. After completing his neurosurgery residency, he traveled to South Africa to work with Dr. Warwick Peacock, his mentor and a former director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at UCLA. He later completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alberta, Canada.
UCLA has received an additional $46 million gift from longtime supporter and legendary entertainment visionary David Geffen, a reinvestment that brings the amount of the David Geffen Medical Scholarship Fund to $146 million.