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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Inside Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi: 5,500 doctors apply for 175 positions

More than 30 doctors applied for every position at a new hospital in Abu Dhabi. And the successful ones had to go through 40 intensive interviews here and in the United States.
"I think of Abu Dhabi as a forward leaning, innovative, progressive place and I would like to think of the Cleveland Clinic in much the same light," says Dr Marc Harrison. Delores Johnson / The National
"I think of Abu Dhabi as a forward leaning, innovative, progressive place and I would like to think of the Cleveland Clinic in much the same light," says Dr Marc Harrison. Delores Johnson / The National
ABU DHABI // More than 30 doctors applied for every position at a new hospital in Abu Dhabi.

And the successful ones had to go through 40 intensive interviews here and in the United States.

"It has been fascinating to me how much of a desire there is to come and work here," said Dr Marc Harrison, chief executive of the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

The aim was to bring the "best of the best" medically-trained professionals to the hospital - the largest structural steel building in the UAE, he said.

"It was a huge commitment. But as gorgeous as the building is, it is all about the people inside."

About 5,500 doctors applied for the 175 positions at the hospital, which is expected to open on Al Maryah Island next year.

Those who were hired had to complete 40 interviews for the job - 20 in the US and another 20 in Abu Dhabi. Eighty per cent of the successful applicants are US-trained, and the rest were trained in western Europe.

Dr Harrison said a combination of factors made so many want to work at the new medical centre in Abu Dhabi.

"I think people want to come here because if they are innovators there are virtually no other opportunities like this in the world to start something of this calibre.

"It is an opportunity to create something beautiful with a relatively blank state. That is highly attractive to people."

The emirate itself is a huge draw, said Dr Harrison, who has had a 15-year career with the Cleveland Clinic. "I think Abu Dhabi has been such a huge selling point. Once people come here to have a look around it is very easy to not only convince them to come here but to see Abu Dhabi as an enormous plus.

"Location is great, lifestyle is wonderful, society is progressive.

"It is the perfect marriage. I think of Abu Dhabi as a forward leaning, innovative, progressive place and I would like to think of the Cleveland Clinic in much the same light.

"It does highlight what can happen with incredibly visionary leadership. Together we are going to do things that on our own neither one could have done."

Of the consultants, 40 per cent are either professors or assistant or associate professors. "These are leaders in the field," said Dr Harrison. "We are thrilled with the calibre of people we are hiring."

About 5 per cent of the doctors are Emirati.

The hospital has been predominantly modelled on the Cleveland Clinic in the US.

It will benefit from the experience of those at the helm of the original Cleveland Clinic in north-east Ohio, among the most recognised names in American medicine, said Dr Harrison.

It aims to complement existing healthcare facilities in the emirate.

"I am hoping people are not looking at us as competitors. I hope we are going to be clinically and educationally very collaborative."

jbell@thenational.ae