October 28, 2020, Abu Dhabi: NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with United Eastern Medical Services (UEMedical) in Abu Dhabi, the parent organization of Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women & Children, HealthPlus Network of Specialty Centers, and Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi. A major outcome of the MoU is establishing the HealthPlus Diabetes & Endocrinology Center in Abu Dhabi as one of the main clinic sites for the UAE Healthy Future Study (UAEHFS) set to accept participants from November 1, 2020.
The collaboration will also offer support on current and future research, education, innovations, and workshops in the field of health sciences.
The MoU was signed by NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann and Chief Operating Officer at UEMedical Majd Abu Zant; in the presence of UEMedical’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sadoon Sami Sadoon; and Diabetes & Endocrinology Consultant and Director of Academic Affairs at HealthPlus Network of Specialty Centers Dr. Huda Ezzeddin Mustafa. Mandatory health and safety protocols including testing, face masks, and physical distancing were in place throughout the event.
The UAE Healthy Future Study is the first cohort study aimed at understanding the source and cause of the rising cases of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease among Emiratis. The study invites all UAE nationals, between the age of 18 and 40, to participate. Currently, the study clinics are located in Abu Dhabi Blood Bank, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Healthpoint, UAE University, and Latifa Hospital- Dubai Blood Donation Center.
Westermann said, “Across the disciplines, NYU Abu Dhabi is investigating and investing solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including public health concerns such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The UAE Healthy Future Study is mobilizing the scholarly and scientific capabilities of our university along with great local partners such as United Eastern Medical Services towards building a healthier UAE. We are excited at the possibilities afforded by this new partnership and how we might advance our local contributions towards the health sciences.”
Abu Zant stated, “We hope this MoU paves the way to a successful and collaborative partnership that will benefit our community. UEMedical delivers world-class medical services through its various Centers of Excellence, underpinned by a strong medical education and research framework. As accredited research centers by the Department of Health Abu Dhabi (DoH), Danat Al Emarat Hospital, HealthPlus and Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi have taken part and have initiated multiple integrated clinical research projects and studies in the past 18 months, and we are truly excited to participate in the UAE Healthy Future Study. We are confident that HealthPlus Diabetes & Endocrinology Center will provide insightful data for the study. The MOU also opens the door for further collaboration with NYUAD in research, education and innovation particularly in the fields of woman and child health, fertility, eye diseases and genomics.”
NYUAD, in association with its Abu Dhabi partner, Tamkeen, is funding and leading the UAE Healthy Future Study in collaboration with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, Dubai Health Authority alongside SEHA – The Abu Dhabi Health Services including Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Al Ain Regional Blood Bank, Abu Dhabi Blood Bank, Zayed Military Hospital, UAE University, Zayed University, Khalifa University, EBTIC, Higher Colleges of Technology, Healthpoint, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Oasis Hospital, Capital Health Screening Center, Daman, and NYU Langone School of Medicine
NYUAD Public Health Research Center Associate Director Abdishakur Abdulle stated, “Given the importance of the UAE Healthy Future Study for the nation, we have developed a partnership with various national institutions in both the public and private sectors. Today marks yet another great milestone which will enable us to work with a key partner in healthcare, namely UEMedical. In part, this collaboration will facilitate accessibility for even more public participation among the nationals of the UAE. We will continue our efforts to engage with the public and ensure that participation in the UAE Healthy Future Study is smooth and easily accessible. Results from this study will not only help improve the health of the community, but will also be in line with national objectives to build a world-class healthcare system through scientific research in understanding the causes and consequences of chronic diseases in the UAE. It is anticipated that results from this study will also help the development of better prevention and treatment strategies.”
In April 2020, UAEHFS shifted to online recruitment in response to the precautions set out by the UAE Government to protect public health and limit the spread of COVID-19. To register, study volunteers now have the opportunity to participate through an online-based platform instead of physically visiting clinics.
Dr. Huda Ezzeddin Mustafa said, “We believe that the partnership between NYUAD and UEMedical is fundamental to build strong bridges between public health and healthcare providers within a framework of academics and clinicians. The collaboration will no doubt nurture community-based medical research through our multispecialty medical services. We are truly proud to open our doors to the landmark UAE Healthy Future Study, and we trust that the UAE population have the vision and understanding of the importance of clinical research. We have learnt from the phenomenal participation of our population in COVID-19 trials that the Emirati community is capable of making informed decisions to participate, with much enthusiasm, in well-designed medical research for building a healthier future for the generations to come.”
About the UAE Healthy Future Study
The UAE Healthy Future Study is the first long-term study aimed at understanding and providing substantive evidence for environmental, lifestyle, and genetic determinants of common diseases in the UAE population, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. All UAE Nationals between the ages of 18 and 40 are invited to volunteer by participating in a confidential health assessment and future follow up that will contribute to a healthier future in the UAE. www.UAEHealthyFuture.ae