International Center for Genetic Disease, Mass General Brigham launches a global Clinical Genomic Medicine and Genetic Counseling training program in United Arab Emirates

GLOBALPR.LINK - Boston, MA, Nov. 20, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Genomic medicine, also known as precision medicine, offers transformative opportunities to reshape health care and public health from a 'one size fits all' approach to one utilizing an individual’s genetic profile, informing their personalized care pathway from prevention and diagnosis, to treatment of diseases and the development of novel and more effective drugs. 

To help further genomic medicine’s global promise, the International Center for Genetic Disease (iCGD) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (a founding member of the Mass General Brigham system) and Harvard Medical School, is launching a six-month nationwide program to train 100 physicians across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in clinical genomic medicine and genetic counseling. 

This training program is implemented in collaboration with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi and Khalifa University of Science and Technology. The comprehensive partnership between iCGD, Mass General Brigham, and the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi will help advance life sciences and health care outcomes across the globe while leveraging the advanced genomics capabilities of the Emirate.

With an emphasis on screening, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide spectrum of genetic conditions, clinicians will become deft with the necessary knowledge and skills to address genetic and genomic challenges in a clinical setting. Additionally, the program ensures the successful execution of the Emirati Genome Program, bringing precision medicine to the forefront of public health policy formulation and implementation across the UAE.

“We are delighted to collaborate with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi to launch this transformative training program,” said Alireza Haghighi, MD, DPhil, FACMG, Founding Director of the International Center for Genetic Disease. “As one of the largest and most comprehensive genomics educational programs worldwide, the primary goal is to enhance the knowledge and expertise of Emirati physicians. 

This initiative is designed to integrate genetics and genomics into patient care effectively, underscoring our dedication to enhancing genomic medicine worldwide. Our comprehensive partnership with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi not only aims to advance life sciences but also to improve the well-being of the UAE population.”

Delivered by globally recognized Harvard-affiliated experts within the Mass General Brigham system and elsewhere, the program will enhance the knowledge and expertise of Emirati physicians, who will then be able to further incorporate the latest innovations in genomic medicine and genetic counseling into the clinical care of patients. The iCGD designed the program to specifically address the public health needs of the UAE.

“We are dedicated to enhancing patient care, preventing disease, and promoting the widespread adoption of genomic medicine, both locally and globally,” said Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA, President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Executive Vice President at Mass General Brigham. “Our International Center for Genetic Disease provides an ideal platform to realize these objectives. This transformative training program aims to cultivate a professional workforce in the UAE at the forefront of genomic research and clinical applications.”

The inaugural ceremony, held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on October 30th, was attended by prominent Emirati officials, including His Excellency Mansoor Ibrahim Al Mansoori, Chairman of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi; Her Excellency Dr. Noura Al Ghaithi, Undersecretary at the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi; Professor Sir John O'Reilly, President of Khalifa University; and His Excellency Homaid Al Shimmari, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Khalifa University.

“This program comes as a continuation of our collaboration with the International Center for Genetic Disease (iCGD) and Harvard Medical School which started earlier this year, providing the world with genomic solutions that address international health challenges and needs,” said Her Excellency Dr. Noura Al Ghaithi, Undersecretary at the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi. 

“This comes in line with the Department of Health’s efforts to unlock opportunities for local talents and ensure the sustainability of our healthcare sector. These continuous strides further cement Abu Dhabi's position as a leading destination for healthcare.”

“We are delighted to join with our partners to launch the Clinical Genomics and Genetic Counseling course in the realm of healthcare at Khalifa University,” said Professor Sir John O'Reilly, President of Khalifa University. 

“Developments in this area represent a tremendous leap towards empowering individuals with a profound understanding of their own genetic tapestry.”

Advances in genomics, clinical diagnostic methods and therapies are now fueling healthcare. By integrating clinical data and genetic information, healthcare providers can improve population screening, diagnosis, prognosis, risk management, and in some cases, offer new and innovative targeted therapy for conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, hemoglobinopathies, lipid disorders, diabetes, cancer, among many other clinically complex morbidities.

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