Global Health and the UAEU: Asia-Middle East Connections, Jan 4-8 2010


People, commodities and capital circle the planet—and disease follows. We are at growing risk from rapid spread of infectious pandemics, increases in chronic conditions, climate change and the impact of war and displacement.


United Arab Emirates University is convening 60 of the world's premier scientists and clinicians to discuss, highlight and explain the new and daunting global healthcare challenges.


Conferees will refine the agenda for scientific research and policy on 21st century global health from a UAE, Middle East and Asian perspective—explaining priorities for governments, scholars, clinical providers and families worldwide.  

Worldwide social currents are gaining power. People from the Eurasian mega-cities—from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Tokyo—move across the continent in greater numbers every year. The spreading global social network is driving a complex mixture of populations, customs and commerce.

With global flows of people, diseases are spreading too—across the Middle East, Asia and the world. SARS and avian flu proliferate through migration and air travel. New chronic ‘lifestyle’ diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease are growing at an alarming rate. Human behavior increasingly responds to globalization of food and tobacco products, dietary habits and complex addictions.

Public health is global health now. Health authorities in individual countries now must contend with worldwide forces—they must learn to create and deploy flexible solutions that can adapt to global as well as local reality. This conference on Global Health and the UAE: Asia-Middle East Connections is a major scientific event, convening experts from 5 continents in pursuit of global healthcare solutions.

A dynamic society at the crossroads of Eurasia, the UAE is ideally positioned to accelerate fundamental medical and technological research and practical applications to address the new world healthcare reality. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are linchpins for the international system of air and sea transport. Their financial centers are a key driver in world markets. The UAE’s population is among the globe’s most mobile and diverse. And the Emirates have made impressive strides in healthcare provision. The UAE and its flagship university welcome the opportunity to convene leading authorities to discuss the new century’s healthcare challenges.

The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) is the apex of the public university system. Building on its existing faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences, Natural Science, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Information Technology and Humanities/Social Sciences, UAEU collaborates with UAE health authorities and world experts—to accelerate interdisciplinary science and new approaches to complex diseases.

The UAEU will translate research into impact in the service of society. Through its scientific programs, UAEU will develop world-quality scientists and healthcare professionals who will help create clinical businesses and process innovations—supporting the nation in its aspirations to improve the health of its people.

In 2009 the UAE ranked 35 out of 184 in the UN’s Human Development Index. From its founding 38 years ago, the nation has made significant progress in healthcare—lowering child mortality, raising life expectancy and achieving the basic public-health goals characteristic of rapidly developing countries.

The UAE health service infrastructure encompasses the entire nation, guided at the federal policy level by the Ministry of Health. It is largely publicly funded but a private sector is growing. Decentralized in structure and management to the individual emirates, the system also embraces national cooperative projects in information and preparedness.

The Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) are the chief health agencies in their respective emirates. Each of these entities has embarked on far-reaching strategies and programs to improve the health of the population. Their staffs work with UAEU faculty and with private organizations to create innovations and advanced clinical programs that are remarkable within the region and on the global stage.

Although many challenges lie ahead—as this conference will explore—there have also been improvements in global health in recent years.

The Living Proof Project, driven by UCSF’s Global Health Group and the German firm SEEK, details progress in many areas—infectious disease, endemic diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and polio, and aspects of HIV and nutrition.

The UAEU conferees will take all evidence into consideration to promote as accurate a view as possible of the new healthcare reality.