NYU Abu Dhabi Director Raghib Ali has been made an OBE

Raghib Ali, Director of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Public Health Research Center has been recognized by HM Queen Elizabeth II for his service during the pandemic.

Director of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Public Health Research Center (PHRC) and founder of the UAE Healthy Future Study Raghib Ali has been made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the NHS and the COVID-19 response. 

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is the second highest honor given to individuals who have made contributions to the arts and sciences, worked with charitable and welfare organizations, and public service outside the civil service.

Ali’s research on COVID-19 includes his work on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities, increasing vaccine uptake in those groups, and volunteering on the NHS front line during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Director of the Public Health Research Center at NYUAD Raghib Ali

We are extremely proud of Dr Raghib Ali and his contributions to the global response to COVID-19 as well as his dedication to the wellbeing of the UAE’s future generations. We congratulate him warmly on this distinguished award. Raghib exemplifies NYUAD’s fundamental belief that higher education should help humanity overcome global challenges like the pandemic, which upended our lives and caused incalculable losses. Like Raghib, we remain committed to our research, our humanitarian work, our volunteer efforts, and our pursuit of global excellence.

NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann

Ali moved to the UAE from the University of Oxford in 2011 to try to understand why rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease were so high in the UAE through establishing a prospective cohort study of Emiratis. He became the Director of the NYUAD Public Health Research Center in 2013. The research being conducted by PHRC is the first of its kind in the UAE, and in many aspects, a first for the whole region, thus helping to establish the UAE as a center of excellence for population health research in the region.

As the Principal Investigator, Ali started the UAE Healthy Future Study (UAEHFS) in 2014, the first prospective cohort study in the country, and brought together, for the first time, researchers from leading universities and healthcare providers in the UAE to work on a single research study. He was instrumental in shaping the vision and design for the study and in overseeing its approval and implementation. He is also responsible for developing the analysis plans for the data once recruitment is complete. Ali and his team are working towards building sustainable capacity for population health research – supporting the PHRC team in undertaking Masters and PhD programs.

NYUAD Provost Arlie Petters said: “Thanks to Dr. Raghib’s vision, we have various programs initiated by NYUAD, such as the UAE Healthy Future Study, that are designed to prevent prevalent diseases in the UAE through scientific research. Dr. Raghib’s efforts and contributions towards addressing major public health challenges are universal; he continues to inspire and motivate our students, colleagues and the wider community to be part of the solution.” 

The UAE Healthy Future Study is the first long-term study aimed at understanding and providing substantive evidence for environmental, lifestyle, and genetic determinants of common diseases in the UAE population, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. All UAE Nationals between the ages of 18 and 40 are invited to volunteer by participating in a confidential health assessment and future follow up that will contribute to a healthier future in the UAE. For more information and to register, please visit the website