collaborations with local or global health institutions to improve health & wellbeing outcomes

The university has carried out different collaborations and activities at the local, national and international levels with the purpose of causing a greater impact in the field of health for the benefit of the health and well-being of all the people in the community, which is shown below

International and Global Collaboration

Canadian University Dubai (CUD) has embarked upon a five-year partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada to collaborate on curriculum development and student transfer initiatives in the fields of health and social sciences.

Building upon CUD’s existing suite of programs in the School of Public Health & Health Sciences, it is anticipated that the new agreement will see the two institutions work on curriculum development in disciplines such as psychology, water science and environmental science. The partners will also work on the creation of opportunities for existing CUD Environmental Health Management students to transfer their studies to health science programs at Laurier.

As CUD prepares to bring forward a new undergraduate degree in social work, the partnership is expected to explore how Canadian accreditation principles will be incorporated in the curriculum, and how students can incorporate a period of Canada-based study in their program.

Meanwhile in the social sciences field, the two institutions will work collaboratively on ideas to create combined honours degrees that will attract awards to both universities. It is also anticipated that CUD will benefit from Laurier’s expertise in policing education, and explore the opportunity of delivering degrees and corporate training to the police service in Dubai.

Wilfrid Laurier University has more than a century of history in Canada’s higher education landscape, offering more than 110 programs in nine different faculties. With over 19,000 students across two campuses and two additional sites, it is a university with an international outlook, already holding exchange agreements with institutions in 28 countries.

This new agreement comes following a visit by CUD President, Pr. Karim Chelli, to Laurier’s campus in Waterloo, Ontario, where discussions took place on the areas of mutual interest to the two institutions. The visit culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding which will take forward the areas of cooperation.

Speaking about the partnership, Pr. Chelli said, “We are delighted to embark upon this collaboration, which promises to open up several new, exciting avenues for strategic development for both our institutions. Equally, we are honoured to have Wilfrid Laurier University join our ever-growing network of Canadian partners, and to provide our students with another range of opportunities to access the best in Canadian higher education.”

Dr. Deb MacLatchy, Laurier’s Provost and Vice-President: Academic, and incoming President and Vice-Chancellor said, “We are very happy to have signed this MOU with the Canadian University Dubai. This agreement will bring together some of the strengths of each institution to create pathways for students and exciting collaborative research opportunities. We welcome the knowledge and talent that faculty and students from CUD can share with us as we build on the teaching and research possibilities that come from this partnership.”

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The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an array of social and economic challenges that have had an unprecedented impact on public health, food systems, and the world of work. To shed some light on the actions the International Labour Organization (ILO) are taking to assist countries with their occupational health and safety measures, Dr. Manal Azzi recently spoke to our 4th year Canadian University Dubai (CUD) Environmental Health Management (EHM) students about the role of ILO in Occupational Health and Safety worldwide. Dr. Manal Azzi is a Senior Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Specialist at the ILO based in Geneva, Switzerland. In her 16 years with the organization, she has had the opportunity to supervise interventions around the world. Dr. Azzi currently manages the branch’s work on chemical safety and the environment and leads ILO's activities on health promotion in the workplace including improved wellbeing, nutrition, and the prevention of stress, psychosocial risks, violence, and substance abuse in the world of work.

She also coordinates the world day for safety and health at work, which focuses on 2020 and 2021 and ensuring safety and health at work during the COVID-19 pandemic. At present, she manages a global project to improve OSH in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. She also works on advancing OSH management systems and ILO Conventions 155 and 187 among others, to develop policies and programs and strengthen national systems on OSH in numerous countries.

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Dr. Yassen Al Foteih, Assistant Professor and Head of the Department of Public Health and Health Sciences Chaired a Conference on Healthcare issues organized by the ‘12th World Congress on Industrial Health, Healthcare and Medical Tourism.’ This World-renowned Organization invited speakers from US, UK, Ireland and the GCC countries to speak on a range of topics concerning Healthcare. Representatives from various Health Authorities throughout the GCC were in attendance to learn about recent developments in healthcare.Dr. Yassen, a member of the Conference Organizing Committee and keynote speaker talked on the subject of ‘Shisha, the Silent Killer.’ As part of his recent research, Dr. Yassen has discovered the existence of six strains of bacteria found in Shisha which can be harmful to health. He also chaired both plenary sessions in the Conference.

As a follow-up to the Conference Dr. Yassen has been invited to a Health Conference in Japan in November where he will further expand on his theories and speak on the second stage of his studies which will be to try and identify if viruses exist in Shisha which may also be harmful to health. Dr. Yassen commented that only by getting together at events such as this, could growing concerns about health be addressed. He expressed the hope that by planting ideas in peoples’ minds about issues affecting their personal health could improvements in healthcare be brought about.

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Media channels in the UK and Australia are the latest to focus the spotlight upon the ground-breaking research of Dr. Efthymios Papatzikis, Assistant Professor of Educational Neuroscience at Canadian University Dubai (CUD). An expert on the role of music and sound in infants’ learning and brain development, Dr. Papatzikis has been invited to act as a consultant to the UK’s national broadcasting organization, the BBC. The collaboration with the BBC’s pre-school channel, Cbeebies, focusses on fostering activities that can support early years education. Dr. Papatzikis explained, “Cbeebies aims to boost and enrich toddlers’ exposure and understanding of music and sound from an early stage in life, which requires a valid and verified approach based on music and brain research.

This is where I come in, helping them to connect theory to practice in a dynamic yet pedagogical way, always keeping in mind the specific audience’s age range, limitations, and developmental needs.” He continued, “For example, it is one thing to say that music and sound activates the brain holistically, hence promoting brain development, but another thing to present pictures and specific sounds through a game-based approach that implicitly connects between brain development, music and sound.

All this needs academic specialization to organize and implement effectively.” Meanwhile, in Australia, Dr. Papatzikis’ research has been cited in a journal article about the benefits of music education on children. Published by Music Australia, the organization that represents all aspects of the country’s music industry, the article quotes Dr. Papatzikis’ findings, which show how music interaction in the early years of life can help in a child’s intellectual and emotional development. Locally in the UAE, students from Dubai English Speaking College and the American School of Dubai have been learning about Dr. Papatzikis’ unique area of research through a week-long program of seminars on brain activity in relation to education, music and sound.

Throughout the seminar week, participating high school students heard from Dr. Papatzikis about brain function and structure, and the research surrounding brain and music interfaces. The unique academic activity week covered a variety of subjects ranging from basic neuroscience topics to specific research areas such as Multiple Sclerosis and music. The educational exercise also took in a visit to the University of Sharjah Hospital, where Head of Medical Diagnostic Imaging and Associate Professor of Radiology, Dr. Abdulmunhem Obaideen, led a tour of the hospital’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Electroencephalography (EEG) facilities.

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National Collaboration

Students from the School of Public Health & Health Sciences at Canadian University Dubai have heard from Dr. Mazin A. Gadir, Senior Specialist at Dubai Health Authority (DHA), about the organization’s five-year strategic development plan for the City.Dr. Gadir, who represents DHA’s Executive Office for Organizational Transformation, outlined the strategy’s vision, ‘Towards a healthier and happier community’, and revealed the mission to transform Dubai into a leading healthcare destination by fostering innovative and integrated care models, and by enhancing community engagement. Developed to align with the UAE national strategic development plan, Vision 2021, the strategy consists of three key goals: to driven and ensure compliance and accountability through an innovative health governance framework; to protect and improve population health; and to ensure patient happiness by providing world-class healthcare services.

Discussing the process for the development of the strategy, Dr. Gadir revealed that input was sought from a broad range of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, and collected through a variety of channels including one-to-one interviews, workshops, focus groups, virtual and online platforms, and brainstorming workshops.


Going on to discuss the values that characterize the strategy and the process of its implementation, Dr. Gadir spoke about the 15 programs and 96 initiatives that have been established under the four headline themes of population and healthy lifestyle, service delivery, smart health, and governance. The presentation concluded with a reflection on all the stakeholders that would be involved in making the strategy a success.

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A group of fourth-year students from the Environmental Health Sciences Department attended a one-day training workshop focused on occupational health safety (OSH). The session was facilitated by Dr. Adnan Kaddaha, Chairman and Managing Director of CEDARS, who welcomed CUD staff and students and explained the history of the hospital. CEDARS includes one of the largest occupational health departments in the region. Following the introduction, the students and staff received a detailed summary of the activities that CEDARS staff members are involved in, which includes new prevention strategies for labour inspection, OSH standards and OSH management systems. Students also learned about the planning and performance of inspection and reporting.

The presentations were followed by a hands-on training session for the students. Speaking after the event, Dr. Yassen Alfoteih, Assistant Professor and Head of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, explained how occupational diseases lead to adverse health conditions. The occurrence or severity of these health conditions are related to exposure to hazards in the job or work environment. Such hazards can be physical, chemical, ergonomic or psycho-social stress.

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Local Collaboration

The Department of Environmental Health Sciences hosted a panel discussion focusing on the refined Diagnostic Related Group (DRG) insurance payment model. In order to increase competitiveness in health care, Dubai Health Authority is planning to introduce a DRG, which would help build stronger relationships within the health care industry in Dubai.

DRG, an internationally-vetted insurance billing system that will be implemented in Dubai in 2018, ensures transparent billing and easier payment processes to help avoid excess payments and overbilling. It will be adopted by all health care facilities in Dubai by 2020. At the moment, if a patient undergoes a particular surgery, the final bill varies widely from hospital to hospital. But with DRG, there will be a fixed fee for every procedure. The discussion, featuring speakers from Claims Care, Al Zahra Hospital and Dubai Health Authority, focused on the impact of DRG on the health care industry in Dubai and recommended best practices to ensure a successful implementation.

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Call and its general manager, Ousama Alnazzal, has hosted a day-long event dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing among everyone on campus. Several trained professionals attended the event, including certified Obesity Medicine specialist, Dr. Charles F. Cheatham. The specialists from Health Call provided a full health examination for curious students, which included Smokerlyzer tests, blood sugar tests, and cholesterol tests. The students were also provided with a full height, weight, and waistline analysis. Many of the attendees among students and staff were also given a generous variety of vouchers, in addition to the free consultations. Taking place at the same time as CUD’s Student Club Signup event, the whole day ran smoothly thanks to the organizers, the Student Council, whose members were present throughout. The experts and managers from Health Call attracted quite an audience of curious students who were more than happy with the advice that they were given. The students who attended agreed that the event was a great success.

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Students from the School of Public Health & Health Sciences at Canadian University Dubai (CUD) have been given a firsthand insight into the functioning of patient safety procedures during a recent trip to Belhoul Specialty Hospital in Dubai. Accompanied by Assistant Professor, Dr. Ahmad Okasha, the group of senior students from the Bachelor of Science in Health Organization Management undertook the visit as part of their course in Risk Assessment and Patient Safety. The trip sought to develop the students’ practical understanding of patient hazards, their mitigation, and the methods that hospitals adopt to support patient care and well-being throughout their stay. During the fieldtrip the students visited the hospital’s laboratory, intensive care unit and radiology department. They met a wide range of hospital officials from the CEO, Hospital Operational Manager and Assistant Operational Manager, to the Hospital Safety Officer.

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Canadian University Dubai (CUD) and Al Wasl Sports Club (AWC) have established a new partnership to promote education and professional development opportunities that will help build capacity across the UAE’s growing sports management sector. The new collaboration was sealed with the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organizations. The partnership is set to boost cooperation and engagement through a range of initiatives, including student internships, academic-related projects and events, research activities and outreach programs. A fast-track course for professional development in the sector is one initiative currently in the works. The MoU signing follows the launch last year of CUD’s Bachelor of Business Administration in Sports Management program. The first undergraduate degree of its kind in the UAE, the four-year course prepares students for a career in the dynamic and exciting business of professional sports.

The program is led by Associate Professor, Dr. Leonardo Jose Mataruna-Dos-Santos, himself an accomplished sportsman, having participated as part of the Brazilian Olympic Judo Team in London 2012, Beijing 2008, Athens 2004, and Sydney 2000. Alongside his extensive academic experience in the region, Dr. Mataruna-Dos-Santos is also a commentator and advisor for the Arabian Football Gulf League.

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The School of Public Health and Health Sciences at Canadian University Dubai (CUD) has brought together leading experts from Dubai’s healthcare sector to provide their professional insights into the development of the City’s medical tourism industry.

Hosted by students Elizabeth Topolskaya and Abdulrahman Mohamed, the debate set out to explore the opportunities and challenges of Dubai’s growing medical tourism sector, as well as reflecting on progress towards the target to attract 1.3 million medical tourists by 2021.

Representing a cross-section of the industry, panel member included Dr. Layla Al Marzouqi Director of Healthcare Regulation at Dubai Health Authority; Mr. Malek El Husseini, Healthcare Operating Partner at Qatar First Bank; Dr. Naseem Mohammed Rafee, Head of Consumer Products Safety Section at Dubai Municipality; and Mr. Tanweer Alam, Deputy Manager of Marketing at Prime Healthcare.

Discussing the process of developing the Dubai health tourism brand, Dr. Al Marzouqi spoke about the unique features that make the City a destination of choice among patients looking to travel overseas for medical care. “Our niche lies in the patient bill of rights, the medical tourism visa and insurance systems we have established, as well as our partnerships with the airline and hotels in the City, all of which come together to provide what we call the Dubai healthcare experience” said Dr. Al Marzouqi.

Going on to discuss the comprehensive portfolio of specializations that are being developed in the City’s healthcare sector, Mr. El Husseini revealed how the quality of care and the technology that is available to patients has helped to put Dubai on the global medical tourism map. He also pointed to some of the challenges of globalization in healthcare, including price sensitivities.

Taking to the floor next, Dr. Rafee provided her insights into the infrastructure challenges presented by medical tourism and the role of Dubai Municipality in supporting the sector’s growth. Mr. Alam concluded the debate with a detailed overview of the patient experience, focusing on the design of healthcare facilities to provide a welcoming and comfortable environment.

Following the debate, the panel took part in an audience Q&A session, with discussion topics ranging from the role of higher education in supporting the development of the sector, to the risks and realities of providing cross-border patient care. The event concluded with an overview of the programs that CUD offers in School of Public Health and Health Sciences, provided by Assistant Professor and Chair, Dr. Yassen Al Foteih.

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September 17th, 2018: Canadian University Dubai (CUD) in conjunction with Dubai-based clinic Health Call and its general manager, Ousama Alnazzal, has hosted a day-long event dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing among everyone on campus.

Several trained professionals attended the event, including certified Obesity Medicine specialist, Dr. Charles F. Cheatham. The specialists from Health Call provided a full health examination for curious students, which included Smokerlyzer tests, blood sugar tests, and cholesterol tests. The students were also provided with a full height, weight, and waistline analysis. Many of the attendees among students and staff were also given a generous variety of vouchers, in addition to the free consultations.

Taking place at the same time as CUD’s Student Club Signup event, the whole day ran smoothly thanks to the organizers, the Student Council, whose members were present throughout. The experts and managers from Health Call attracted quite an audience of curious students who were more than happy with the advice that they were given. The students who attended agreed that the event was a great success.

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