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The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi Collaborates with Harvard Medical School International Centre for Genetic Disease to Advance AI and Genomics Research and Training in the Emirate

16 May, 2024:

The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector in the Emirate, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Harvard Medical School International Centre for Genetic Disease (HMS-iCGD), during Abu Dhabi Global Healthcare Week (ADGHW). Reinforcing Abu Dhabi's position as a leading destination for healthcare and life sciences, this strategic cooperation seeks to establish a framework for collaboration to advance clinical and translational research in genomics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), implement an advanced training programme that will transform the use of generative AI and Large Language Models (LLMs) in medical practice, and collaborate to develop national frameworks, policies and regulations ensuring the responsible use of AI and genomics in the Emirate.

In the presence of HE Mansoor Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Chairman of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the MoU was signed by HE Dr. Noura Khamis Al Ghaithi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH) and Dr. Alireza Haghighi, Founding Director of Harvard Medical School International Centre for Genetic Disease.

H.E. Dr. Noura Al Ghaithi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi said: "We are proud to build on the existing partnership with HMS-International Center for Genetic Disease and advance our research activities in genomics and AI, paving the way to a proactive model of healthcare through advanced genetic therapies and AI-enhanced medicine. We are also collaborating to conduct AI training programmes for our national cadres. 500 Emirati physicians will receive training in responsible and effective applications of LLMs in medical practice, collaborating with global experts to create frameworks and policies defining the responsible use of genomic medicine and research. As we delve into this new AI-powered era in the healthcare sector, we cannot emphasise enough the importance of global, open, inclusive dialogue, to ensure that genetic data is used ethically and responsibly. Together, we will discuss, debate, reimagine, and redefine, to bring about the responsible innovation that global healthcare needs today."

Over the next three years, this innovative programme will provide training to 500 Emirati physicians on the responsible and effective use of LLMs to enhance high-quality patient care with a focus on genomic medicine, leverage cutting-edge technology, and boost public health across Abu Dhabi. These hybrid training programmes will be conducted for Emirati physicians, incorporating both online and in-person sessions facilitated by faculty members at Harvard, empowering participants with cutting-edge knowledge and practical skills. Participating physicians will learn how to harness the transformative potential of generative AI and LLMs to analyse medical and genomic records and data, deliver enhanced personalised patient care, and contribute to the development of more efficient public health strategies.

Alireza Haghighi, MD, DPhil, the Founding Director of the Harvard Medical School International Center for Genetic Disease, said: "We are excited to collaborate with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi to advance clinical and translational research in genomics and AI. This partnership exemplifies our shared commitment to enhancing patient care and public health through innovative training and research. At Harvard Medical School International Centre for Genetic Disease, we are dedicated to fostering an environment where scientific advancements translate directly into improved patient outcomes. In these groundbreaking capacity-building programs, we are training Emirati physicians in the responsible use of AI and genomics. This initiative is not only enhancing local capacity in Abu Dhabi but also setting a benchmark for global healthcare standards. Additionally, our collaboration on translational research in genomics will focus on AI- polygenic risk scores, and gene therapy, and AI-enhanced medicine"

In line with Abu Dhabi's innovation aspirations, both parties will collaborate on research-related activities of the Emirati Genome Programme, and other research activities related to genomics and genetic diseases, focusing on developing clinical trials to advance clinical applications of polygenic risk scores, and progressing gene therapy techniques. The collaboration will also focus on implementing best practices in AI to improve medical research and services with a focus on genomic medicine, leading to improved diagnosis, targeted treatment, and the development of effective AI-enhanced genomic medications and therapeutic treatments.

Paul Anderson, MD, PhD, the Chief Academic Officer of Mass General Brigham said: "This collaboration represents a significant step forward in integrating cutting-edge genomic research and AI into clinical practice. Together with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, we are paving the way for a future where personalized medicine and AI-driven healthcare are accessible to all in the Emirate."

Both partners will join forces to utilise the power of AI and LLMs in the healthcare sector, while developing national frameworks and policies ensuring the responsible use of AI and genomics in Abu Dhabi and beyond, meeting ethical and legal global standards in the field. These frameworks will ensure the highest levels of privacy, security, non-discrimination, and ethical use while advancing scientific knowledge and applying genomics in clinical settings. This bold collective vision will ensure that technologies are harnessed to enhance the overall healthcare ecosystem in the Abu Dhabi, supporting the shift from traditional healthcare to holistic proactive health, and making access to quality, innovative healthcare a reality for all.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Abu Dhabi Global Healthcare Week is a major government initiative took place between 13 May and 15 May 2024. The event seeks to accelerate collaboration, innovation, and investment, and bring together researchers, policymakers, healthcare specialists, investors, and entrepreneurs across the global healthcare and life-science ecosystem. The always-on platform is witnessing a true gathering of pioneering minds and a powerful network of 5,000 attendees, 1,000 delegates, 200 speakers, and 100 exhibitors.

The Department collaborated with key strategic partners within the healthcare ecosystem, including the event's Foundation Partner M42 and other leading healthcare ecosystem sponsors, PureHealth, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Burjeel Holdings, GSK, Institute for Healthier Living Abu Dhabi (IHLAD), Novartis, Viatris, AstraZeneca, Sanofi, PwC Middle East, and many more to bring the vision of better health to life.

For more information please visit: https://www.adghw.com/

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Last updated: 21 Jul 2024

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