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Emirati doctor makes history as first Arab woman elected as President of the International Hospital Federation
  26 Oct 2023
  5 Min for read

The International Hospital Federation (IHF), a global organisation dedicated to advancing and promoting excellence in healthcare delivery and management worldwide, announced that it has elected Emirati Dr. Muna Tahlak, Chief Medical Officer of Dubai Academic Health Corporation (DAHC), Vice Provost Clinical Practice of Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), and CEO of Latifa Hospital for Women and Children, as President of the Federation during the World Hospital Congress in Lisbon.

Dr. Tahlak's election as President of IHF is a major milestone for the UAE on the global healthcare front. As the first Arab woman and Emirati to hold this esteemed position, it underscores the UAE's commitment to both advancing the role of women across diverse fields and promoting excellence in the healthcare sector. This achievement also marks a remarkable moment in the history of the IHF, with Dr. Tahlak assuming the highest international position ever held within the organisation.

The IHF Governing Council voted to elect Dr. Tahlak as the new IHF President. In doing so, Dr. Tahlak ends her term as President Designate and now begins her two-year term as President of the IHF, succeeding Deborah J. Bowen, FACHE, CAE, President, and Chief Executive Officer of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Dr. Tahlak expressed her gratitude and honour on being appointed, stating: “I extend my heartfelt appreciation to our visionary leadership for their unwavering commitment to empowering women. Emirati women have consistently excelled in diverse high-ranking roles across various domains. Our nation has also consistently offered abundant opportunities to foster the progress and specialisation of Emirati women, particularly within the medical field.

“This victory highlights not only the progress that Emirati women have made but also reflects the leading position of UAE’s health sector. I am honoured to represent the UAE and fellow Emirati women on such an important global platform,” she added.

Dr. Tahlak also noted that her work with the IHF over the past seven years has provided her with a platform to showcase the exemplary work of hospitals in the UAE and the invaluable contributions of Emirati women on a global scale.

Dr. Amer Sharif, CEO of Dubai Academic Health Corporation, congratulated Dr. Tahlak on her well-deserved appointment as the President of the International Hospital Federation, emphasising her exceptional leadership, expertise, and remarkable contributions to the healthcare system in Dubai and beyond. He also expressed his pride in Dr. Tahlak’s accomplishments and the recognition she brings to the exceptional talent of Emirati women on the global stage.

“This is an incredibly proud moment for the entire healthcare sector in the UAE. Emirati women have consistently excelled across various domains, particularly in the medical field, making substantial contributions to the nation's growth and development. Dr. Tahlak's leadership and dedication play a crucial role in fulfilling DAHC's mission to impact lives and shape the future of health through the integration of care, learning, discovery, and giving,” he said.


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In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for the future of the emirate’s healthcare sector, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, approved the new brand identity for ‘Dubai Health’, the emirate’s first integrated academic health system that seeks to enhance the quality of patient care in the city.

The new identity encapsulates essential pillars that underscore collaborative teamwork, aiming to consolidate Dubai's leadership in advancing healthcare excellence across the domains of health, education and research.

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed directed the transformation of Dubai into a leading global model for advancing human health by providing highly efficient medical services and adhering to the best international practices in healthcare. He also underscored the significance of enhancing the academic aspect of the healthcare system to achieve the desired outcomes for the sector in the next phase.

The unveiling of the new brand identity for 'Dubai Health' took place at a press conference held at the Dubai Press Club. The event was attended by Dr. Amer Sharif, CEO of Dubai Health and President of Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), along with several healthcare providers in the emirate.

Dubai Health – Brand Identity

The ‘Dubai Health’ brand identity finds its inspiration in the attributes of care, learning and discovery, rooted in a strong tradition of giving as depicted in the brand’s logo. Symbolised by three arches anchored by a foundation, the logo’s central arch serves as a representation of care, expressed through compassionate guardianship and nurturing of boundless potential. The secondary arches represent learning and discovery, while the solid base of the logo stands for giving.

Through the integration of these four missions, Dubai aligns with leading academic health systems worldwide, enhancing patient outcomes and fostering accessibility and sustainability within its healthcare sector.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Health Board of Directors, said: The new brand identity builds on Dubai’s robust healthcare system and is a significant step towards shaping a new paradigm of excellence for the sector. The healthcare sector is the cornerstone of the wellbeing of our communities and pivotal to realising our vision of a world-class healthcare system. We are dedicated to continually enhancing Dubai's health system and helping it evolve with a transformative care model poised to tangibly enhance community health and shape the future of healthcare in Dubai and beyond. Strengthening the sustainability and resilience of our health sector is integral to achieving the objectives outlined in the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33.”

 Dubai Health – Dubai’s integrated academic health system

As the first academic health system in the city, ‘Dubai Health’ is strongly committed to providing the best outcomes for patients through evidence-based care. ‘Dubai Health’ oversees six hospitals, 26 ambulatory health centres and 20 medical fitness centres. The Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) and Al Jalila Foundation also operate under the umbrella of ‘Dubai Health’.

His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Health Board of Directors, said: “‘Dubai Health’ underscores our commitment to enhancing the health and well-being of the community in Dubai. Academic health systems worldwide have consistently demonstrated an elevated standard of patient care by seamlessly integrating knowledge, people and capabilities. The world's top 10 ranked hospitals are affiliated with renowned medical schools and universities within academic health systems. Through the integration of care, learning, discovery and giving, 'Dubai Health' aligns with global best practices, harnessing the transformative power of an integrated academic health system for the emirate.”

Dubai Health – Patient First Promise

‘Dubai Health’s’ primary value is ‘Patient First’, which encompasses a dedication to delivering high-quality care, ensuring patient safety and promoting a positive patient experience.

Dr. Amer Sharif said: “We are dedicated to achieving integration of the health system through the new corporate identity, encompassing care, learning, discovery and giving, with the aim of positioning ‘Dubai Health’ as a global benchmark in patient care and health outcomes. This marks a new phase in realising the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to consolidate Dubai’s position as a leading global healthcare destination.

“Our mission of integration serves as an engine for innovation, dedicated to the patient. We believe that through instilling this transformative mindset and uniting as one system we can advance health to new heights of patient-centric excellence. The new corporate identity reflects our vision to contribute to Dubai's pursuit of a sustainable, knowledge-based economy, supporting the growth and performance of the health sector,” Dr. Sharif said.

Dr. Sharif added: “In the ever-progressing field of medicine and health sciences, continuous learning is pivotal. At the heart of our academic health system is a commitment to ensure that we are well-versed in the latest medical discoveries, technological breakthroughs and progressive best practices. This scholarly-driven ethos not only advances the healthcare field but also enhances the care received by our patients.”

Unified Vision

During the press conference, Dr. Sharif explained that the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is responsible for ensuring a high-quality healthcare system in the emirate. This is achieved by organising and developing necessary policies and legislation to safeguard public health, enhance the standard of living, and introduce a health strategy geared towards enabling Dubai to meet its future needs.

On the other hand, ‘Dubai Health’, with its primary commitment to enhancing human health and a dedicated focus on improving the patient experience within the healthcare sector, assumes the responsibilities of establishing global standards grounded in scientific evidence for patient care. It aims to enhance health outcomes through rigorous scientific research and bring about a transformative shift in education by refining the patient journey and preparing qualified professionals to meet future requirements. Additionally, it emphasises the significance of health endowment due to its impact on supporting health and preserving individual lives.

Dr. Sharif noted that the new brand identity of ‘Dubai Health’, along with its future vision, aligns with and complements the Dubai Health Authority's efforts to strengthen Dubai's standing as a global exemplar in delivering the best healthcare and treatment to patients.

‘Dubai Health’ provides a spectrum of benefits designed to attract strategic investments in health sciences, foster governance development, enhance operational efficiency, improve healthcare outcomes, build local health capabilities, attract and retain distinguished talent and promote research and innovation.


‘Dubai Health’s’ team of over 11,000 professionals collaborate across multidisciplinary teams to provide compassionate, evidence-based care centred on the patient and their families. ‘Dubai Health’ has attained several milestones, with its hospitals recording over 4.7 million outpatient visits, nearly 350,000 emergency department visits and over 60,000 patient admissions in 2022. Notably, it has drawn in over 1,000 learners from various disciplines worldwide, provided 60 scholarships and 100 research grants and offered a total of 8,686 patients in need medical support.

Since 2016, ‘Dubai Health’ has also contributed significantly to studies and research, issuing more than 1,114 scientific and clinical research papers. The importance of this research lies in recognising that individual well-being is a pivotal factor in prosperity and psychological comfort, subsequently impacting productivity and national development. The advancement of the academic healthcare sector stands as a key indicator of a country's progress and the well-being of its citizens.

Dubai Academic Health Corporation was established as per Law No. (13) of 2021, issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Effective 11 November 2023, Dubai Academic Health Corporation will operate under the new brand name 'Dubai Health'.


26 Oct 2023 News

In line with the UAE National Sports Strategy 2031 ..Dubai Academic Health Corporation and Dubai Sports Council sign MoU to boost the sports sector's support for humanitarian and charitable causes

Al Jalila Foundation, a global healthcare philanthropic organization dedicated to transforming lives through medical innovation, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Dubai Sports Council (DSC) aimed at enhancing the contributions of the sports sector towards humanitarian programs and charitable initiatives.

The signing of the agreement aligns with the UAE National Sports Strategy 2031 which was recently launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to promote community well-being through sports. The Strategy seeks to foster a culture of physical activity, improve the capabilities of sports professionals, identify promising athletes in educational institutions, and modernize sports education methods and regulations.

During the ceremony, the ‘Champions of Hope’ tribute wall, dedicated to recognizing extraordinary sports personalities who have made significant contributions to Al Jalila Foundation, was inaugurated.

The inauguration of the tribute wall and the MoU signing ceremony was attended by His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of DSC; Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of DSC; Dr. Amer Sharif, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Academic Health Corporation (DAHC); Dr. Amer Al Zarooni, Chief Executive Officer of Al Jalila Foundation, and representatives of DSC and DAHC.

Al Jalila Foundation has been officially designated as the charity partner of the Dubai Sports Council, marking a significant collaboration between the two entities. Together, they will embark on a series of initiatives aimed at promoting sports philanthropy and fostering a culture of sports, physical activity and inclusive participation across all segments of society.

Dr Amer Al Zarooni, CEO of the Al Jalila Foundation, said “Philanthropy possesses an extraordinary capacity to create lasting change. United by the common language of sport, the collaboration between Al Jalila Foundation and the DSC symbolizes DAHC’s unwavering dedication to elevate the overall health and well-being of people in the UAE.”

He added: “Sports provide an incredible platform to reach hundreds of thousands of individuals, promoting healthy lifestyles and generating funds for charitable endeavors. We take immense pride in the support we receive from numerous sporting legends, and it is truly inspiring to witness globally recognized athletes utilizing their influence to bring about positive change in people's lives. The Champions of Hope tribute wall will stand as a lasting testament to compassion, generosity and empowerment, leaving a legacy for future generations."

His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of DSC, expressed his delight in signing the agreement with Al Jalila Foundation and conveyed his deep admiration for the remarkable societal and humanitarian accomplishments made thus far. “The role of sports has proven to be instrumental in supporting philanthropic initiatives and advancing medical research, ultimately making significant contributions to patient recovery. Sports stars play crucial roles, not only in terms of achieving outstanding results and bringing happiness to their fans, but also in actively supporting community, sports and humanitarian initiatives. Their involvement highlights the tireless efforts of national institutions, with Al Jalila Foundation being at the forefront, in making a positive impact on society.”

His Excellency added: “We have witnessed successful collaborations between DSC and Al Jalila Foundation in the past, always uniting our shared objectives of national sports, humanitarian endeavours and community service to benefit humanity.”

Champions of Hope Tribute Wall

Symbolic of the remarkable strength of community within the realm of sports, the Champions of Hope tribute wall serves as a showcase for sports memorabilia, including two Guinness World Records that were achieved through items sold at the Al Jalila Foundation charity auction in 2015. Notably, among these record-breaking items is a race helmet worn by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during his triumphant victory at the FEI World Endurance Championship in 2012, which fetched an astounding AED24 million. Additionally, the display features the exceptional AED2.4 million Al Yamamah saddle generously donated by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, which he rode to victory at the 2014 Altech FEI World Equestrian Games held in Normandy, France.

Since its establishment, Al Jalila Foundation has been harnessing the power of sports to support its healthcare philanthropic programmes. Over the years, the Foundation has been part of iconic sporting events to help raise awareness around a number of causes. Through its engagement in these iconic sporting occasions, the Foundation has generated substantial funds to support its various programs including 7 Emirates Run, Beat Diabetes Walk, Pink is Punk.

Overall, Al Jalila Foundation has held a total of 300 sporting events and raised almost AED10 million. The latest partnership with DSC will further contribute to realizing the Foundation’s objective to transform lives through sports.

As the official Sports Ambassador for Al Jalila Foundation, the esteemed former Real Madrid footballer Michel Salgado has made significant contributions by donating his customized boots to the Foundation and fostering fruitful collaborations with renowned footballer and former Real Madrid goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, as well as esteemed corporate fundraising partners. In close partnership with Clarence Seedorf, a four-time UEFA Champions League winner, the Foundation strives to amplify awareness regarding the importance of cultivating a healthy lifestyle, especially among the younger generation.

Notably, MMA coach Javier Mendez, alongside an impressive line-up of top-tier fighters including the current UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev, UAE Warriors fighter Emirati Hadi Al Husseini, and the UAE's pioneering Emirati female boxer Fahima Falaknaz, have generously contributed signed items and are actively engaged in multiple initiatives in collaboration with the Foundation.

Dubai Academic Health Corporation’s vision is to advance health for humanity through the integration of care, learning, discovery and giving. Al Jalila Foundation advances DAHC’s giving mission to impact lives and shape the future of health through philanthropy.

For more information about Al Jalila Foundation please visit:

26 Oct 2023 News

Dubai Health, the first integrated academic health system in Dubai, is embracing virtual reality (VR) technology to improve patient care across its hospitals and healthcare centers. This initiative kicks off with a study and implementation program at the Thalassemia Center, exploring the use of VR technology to reduce anxiety and pain during cannulation (needle insertion) procedures for thalassemia patients. This study, the first of its kind for this specific patient group in Dubai, holds promise for a more comfortable and positive healthcare experience.

Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), which leads the Learning and Discovery missions of Dubai Health, will conduct and document the study. Unlike prior studies that primarily relied on subjective experiences, this novel approach will incorporate objective measurements such as eye movement tracking and heart rate to assess the effectiveness of VR technology, marking a significant advancement in medical discovery.

Dr. Fatheya Abbas Al Khaja, Director of the Thalassemia Center, expressed her profound optimism for the initiative, stating, “The application of VR technology at the Thalassemia Center has the potential to transform the experience for patients undergoing cannulation procedures. Throughout my years at the Thalassemia Center, we have explored numerous modalities to alleviate the pain of our patients. This program epitomizes our Patient First promise to provide a more comfortable and anxiety-free experience, not just for the patients, but also for their families who witness this process. We are eagerly anticipating the results of this study.”

Separate from the MBRU study, the selected VR technology had been tested extensively. It demonstrated clinically effective results in 14 published and 30 ongoing studies, providing a solid foundation for its use in improving patient experiences.

This program marks the first phase of integrating VR technology across Dubai Health hospitals and healthcare centers, with plans to extend its application into medical procedures at Al Jalila Children's Hospital and Latifa Hospital. Beyond immediate application at the Thalassemia Center, the program also focuses on developing novel VR environments and experiences tailored to the local needs of patients in Dubai. The long-term vision is to develop future iterations of AI-powered VR technology to further personalize the patient experience, a collaborative effort engaging both MBRU students and our clinical staff.

“This program is the first of many to showcase how digital solutions can improve patient care within Dubai Health,” remarked Dr. Yacine Hadijat, Associate Professor of Innovation in Health Science and Digital Health at MBRU’s College of Medicine. “One of the inherent advantages of our integrated academic health system is the ability to cultivate a continuous cycle of improvement within our care, learning and discovery missions. By exploring digital innovations, such as VR technology, we are simultaneously training future healthcare professionals to champion patient-centered care and contribute toward the medical discovery of tech-enabled healthcare solutions. This multifaceted approach holds immense promise to transform the patient journey for countless individuals.”

By spearheading such initiatives, Dubai Health remains at the forefront of healthcare innovation, reaffirming its commitment to delivering patient-centered care and advancing the standard of medical excellence in the region.

26 Oct 2023 News

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