Firas Abdul-Hadi

Mayo Clinic Labs @Work

Thousands of people in hundreds of different roles work at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Mayo Clinic Labs @Work offers a glimpse behind the scenes into this busy reference laboratory, featuring staff from throughout the organization talking about what they do and why they do it.


What brought you to Mayo Clinic Laboratories, and how long have you been here?

I’ve been with Mayo Clinic for a little more than 20 years. I started in 2000 after receiving my M.B.A. I moved to Rochester, Minnesota, from San Antonio, Texas, after being accepted into Mayo Clinic’s Finance Fellowship Program. I thought I’d move up north for a few years, get some good Mayo Clinic experience, and then move on. Twenty years later, I’m still with Mayo. It’s such a wonderful place.

Throughout my time here, I’ve had a number of different roles across the organization in Finance, Operations, Education, and Business Development. My fellowship gave me the opportunity to work on projects in seven divisions within Mayo Clinic’s Finance Department.

Firas Abdul-Hadi taking a tour of airplanes at the courier that transports samples from the Middle East to Mayo Clinic Laboratories in Rochester.

Then I started my first official job as a financial analyst and bid process manager for Mayo Clinic Laboratories. I moved to Mayo’s education shield and worked as an operations manager, then director of the Mayo Medical School and Mayo School of Health Sciences. My current role is Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ international regional manager for the Middle East and North Africa region. I’ve been in this role for about nine years.


What does your typical workday involve?

As international regional manager, my days tend to involve a little bit of many things. My mornings usually have me connecting with hospitals in the Middle East, while in the afternoons I connect with various Mayo departments that work on business development, operations, logistics, information technology, finance and legal, as well as encounters that discuss Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ current and future business models on how we can best provide health care organizations around the region with access to our testing.

Overall, my main role is to build awareness about what Mayo Clinic Laboratories offers. The Mayo Clinic brand is very well known, respected, and trusted here, but a lot of hospitals don’t know they can connect with Mayo Clinic and send specimens to Mayo Clinic Laboratories for the most advanced, highest quality laboratory testing in the world.

My team works with hospital clients and partners throughout the Middle East from 16 cities and multiple countries on a regular basis. We work on requests for proposals, review contracts and tenders, and discuss pricing. There are many logistics to work on, too. The work is very diverse, and we do it all, of course, in collaboration with a wonderful and competent team at Mayo Clinic Laboratories in Minnesota, with a laser focus on providing the absolute best patient care.


In what way does your work benefit providers and patients?

We bring Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Laboratories to the doorstep of dozens of hospitals, medical centers, and laboratories in the Middle East. Again, Mayo is a trusted name, and we’ve earned that trust. Via the relationships we build and the outreach we do, we make it possible for hospitals to have access to some of the most sophisticated, rare, and complex laboratory testing anywhere, with results they can trust from Mayo Clinic. In addition, patients have access to that testing locally, without the need to travel, thus improving patient care and the experience for patients and their families.

I can’t overemphasize the value of laboratory diagnostics from a dependable, high- quality, and patient-centered laboratory like Mayo Clinic Laboratories. We are in a very unique position being a fully integrated part of a medical practice. That means providers can connect with our physicians and consultants regarding test selection and interpretation, and have conversations between colleagues that enhance the experience overall for both providers and patients.


Is there anything about your role that people might find surprising?

The breadth and depth of what we get involved in would surprise many people, I think. We work on strategy at a high level, engaging with CEOs and ministers of health, and yet continue to be embedded and roll up our sleeves to help in maneuvering and being the catalysts to providing answers to specific and urgent cases. Again, all in collaboration with a remarkable Mayo Clinic Laboratories team. Understanding the pulse and having sincere and warm relationships with dozens of hospitals across many countries and cities in this way is rewarding.


What part of your job do you find the most challenging?

COVID-19 has introduced new challenges, as engagement with most hospitals has moved from face-to-face encounters to Zoom. We have managed well, but nothing beats meeting with our colleagues across the region to gain the real pulse of how Mayo Clinic Laboratories can help them. Managing projects at various stages also gets interesting, and it’s important to keep all the balls rolling. As an example, we could have several dozen projects with various hospitals going on at the same time that range from onboarding new hospital clients, interfacing laboratory systems, educational offerings, contracts, requests for proposals, and specific patient cases, among others.


What’s the most fulfilling part of your work?

Representing Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Laboratories is humbling and very fulfilling. It’s an honor to be part of such a wonderful organization. We are a catalyst to be able to bring unique and complex testing to these cities, especially when we’re bringing our services to a brand-new place. What makes juggling all these moving pieces easier is that you wholeheartedly know that you are indeed bringing the best care and access to patients and their health care providers.

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Tracy Will

Tracy Will is a senior marketing specialist at Mayo Clinic Laboratories where she covers innovation, specialty testing, and advances in laboratory medicine. Tracy has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2016.