The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is confronting major public health challenges in tobacco use, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. These factors have complex co-determinants in human genetic susceptibility and environmental conditions, ranging potentially from the built environment to the human microbial milieu (microbiome). The mission of the NYU Abu Dhabi Public Health Research Center (PHRC) is to improve the health of the population in Abu Dhabi through research.

Goals

The principal goals of the PHRC are:

  • To identify environmental and genetic determinants of health and of premature death, disease and disability in Abu Dhabi.
  • To develop and test novel public health interventions to promote wellness and reduce premature death, disease and disability in Abu Dhabi.
  • To create a world-class public health research center in Abu Dhabi and develop a cadre of highly skilled public health scientists and practitioners.

Centers

The PHRC proposes a research program to address critical topics for Abu Dhabi in public health science through the development of specific centers:

Diabetes Research Center

In addition to cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the UAE, obesity and diabetes in Abu Dhabi are emerging as major public health problems. More than half of the population display central obesity and more than 40% have either prediabetes or diabetes. Without intervention, the overall prevalence rate of diabetes is projected to reach 30% by 2014.

Obesity and Genetic Susceptibility to Diabetes Research Center

Since more than 40% of the relatively young population of Abu Dhabi Nationals has diabetes or pre-diabetes, this center will identify and validate genetic factors that predispose to diabetes in obese individuals.

Human Oral Microbiome Research Center

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the UAE; this center seeks to identify and understand the functional role oral bacteria (e.g. periodontal disease) have in its association with cardiovascular disease.

Smoking Cessation Research Center

In order to decrease the prevalence of tobacco use, a program of identification and intervention in smoking behavior, tailored to the specific needs of the Abu Dhabi population, will be created.