x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE University institute in new research on regional health

UAE University launches an institute to study some of the Middle East's biggest health concerns, such as diabetes and road traumas.

UAE University yesterday launched an institute to study some of the Middle East's biggest health concerns, such as diabetes and road traumas. The university launched the UAE Global Health Institute, which will be based at the university's Al Ain campus, after evaluating the region's needs at a health conference it hosted in January. It plans to hire an unspecified number of staff to carry out the research projects.

Dr Abdullah al Khanbashi, the university's vice chancellor, said the institute would "in addition to partnering with the leading centres of global health research around the world, ... also recruit high-quality talent from within the UAE". In January, the university hosted 60 leading health scientists, researchers and clinicians at a conference called Global Health and the UAE: Asia-Middle East Connections.

Emerging problems such as climate change and increased infertility were the object of much debate, as were better-known problems such as high levels of chronic and genetic diseases. The institute's initial areas of research will be epidemic diseases, epidemiology, ethnography, migrant health issues, among others. It will also focus on problems of immediate relevance such as diabetes, heart disease, genetics, climate change and road accidents.

Researchers will pursue an in-depth understanding of social and family factors that influence the prevalence of chronic lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity. "Following the enormous success of the UAE University global health conference ... we are all too aware that the threat to the world's health in the 21st century is severe," Dr al Khanbashi said. The institute expects to form its first partnership with the University of California, with more to follow.

munderwood@thenational.ae