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Med School Establishes Research Center in Dubai

By Melanie Y. Fu and Jiwon Joung, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard Medical School and the Dubai Healthcare City Authority have partnered to establish a center for training and research on health care and medical treatment in the United Arab Emirates, the University announced on Tuesday.

The Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery—Dubai, as the center is called, will house research for delivery methods of health care treatment throughout the UAE, but it will not provide patient care, according to Medical School spokesperson Gina Vild.

The center is a new space in the pre-existing Mohammed Bin Rashid Academic Medical Center in Dubai Healthcare City, and will focus on “research and teaching to optimize systems for care delivery and patient outcomes,” Vild said.

According to David E. Golan ’75, dean for graduate education at the Medical School, the center will target four main areas: diabetes and obesity, improvements in surgical care, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis, and mental health. Harvard faculty will be involved in collaborative research projects, he said.

“The center is going to focus initially on pressing health challenges in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates,” Golan said. “We think it can be a central location that can allow us to convene in research education and policy discussion.”

Medical School associate professor Salmaan Keshavjee, who will direct the center, said it will “work with care providers here to conduct research on how they can improve their treatment delivery,” which Keshavjee said can come in a variety of different forms, ranging from a text message reminder to regular visits from a nurse.

The center hopes to offer Harvard Medical students the chance to do research there, according to Keshavjee, and may also involve Harvard undergraduates.

The new center is not the Medical School’s first collaboration in Dubai. With Partners Harvard Medical International and Dubai Healthcare City, the Medical School established the Harvard Medical School Dubai Center, an education and research institution, in 2004. That center “evolved” into the new global health delivery center, according to Medical School spokesperson David Cameron.

“HMS has had a relationship with Dubai for many years,” Keshavjee said. “Much of that relationship has been focused on how to increase research capacity in Dubai and the region and to strengthen the health care delivery infrastructure.”

According to Keshavjee, “Dubai has become an vital hub for the Middle East and for parts of Africa and for a significant part of South Asia.”

This means it is possible to reach a large portion of the UAE and beyond, Keshavjee said.

“Our reach is broad,” Keshavjee said. “Of course, we are thinking of the Middle East and North Africa, but we are also open to projects in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and other places that have large populations of people working in the UAE. This center is focused on a broad region and on a set of problems to address the delivery of health care.”

Sehamuddin Galadari, Dubai Healthcare City Authority board member and an academic and research advisor for the Al Jalila Foundation, said he hopes that the new center in Dubai will allow Harvard and Dubai students to learn from each other.

“[The medical center] aims to complete the last mile of health care delivery,” Galadari said.

—Staff writer Melanie Y. Fu can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MelanieYFu.

—Staff writer Jiwon Joung can be reached at

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