Head of Financial Projects and Compliance Abu Dhabi Media Company
DBA programme opened new doors for prominent financial researcher
For Dr Safa Maatouq Al Mohana, the DBA programme at the United Arab Emirates University has opened a number of vital doors. The Head of Financial Projects and Compliance at the prestigious Abu Dhabi Media Company has allowed her to reach her full potential as a researcher.
“The programme was great in that it helped set me up to address business issues through a powerful research process,” she said. “It helped me considerably in expanding my expert system and creating my educational expertise, while upgrading my examinations and presentation abilities through its extremely compact and compelling lectures.”
Dr Al Mohana graduated from the programme in November 2015, running in parallel to her 19 years at the company as Head of Investment. “I believe that I selected the United Arab Emirates University to study due to the distinguished faculty members and the high-quality standard of education,” she said. “In my current job, the course was able to open doors for me to propose innovative ideas for the company. It also helped me better understand management principles and learn how to combine management practices with advanced business theories.”
Dr Al Mohana, who is originally from Abu Dhabi, was especially thankful in the way the programme allowed her to develop her research, which extended through the stock markets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, investigating the degree of integration between domestic stock markets of the UAE, and integration with global stock markets. The research came out as the first of its kind in the sector. “I was interested in the topic initially due to the importance of the financial crisis which occurred in 2008,” she explained. “It raised the importance of this kind of study, which I think is the importance of know-of techniques and studying the challenges that may occur in the coming years.”
She called the DBA programme “excellent”, as it prepares participants to address business problems through an effective research process. “I advise anyone who plans to take on post-graduate studies to enroll in the programme,” she said. “This is the best programme that helps a lot in widening your professional network and develops personal intellect and practical skills, while enhancing research and presentation skills.”
Although her interest in finance dates back to her early days, she never imagined she would end up in the position she is in today. “I am focusing on some areas of finance, such as financial markets,” Dr Al Mohana said. “My Master’s degree was in the same field and my thesis was on the financial market but, more specifically, to evaluate the performance of selected sectors of the Abu Dhabi market using financial techniques.”
She feels the skills and qualifications she acquired have now surpassed her current position. “I have to move to another dynamic environment,” she said. “I want to utilise my skills, my knowledge and my competencies. Ultimately, I would like to become a minister related to finance and economics – nothing is impossible, we just have to pray and God will help us.”
Nadia Al Jaberi
Strategic Planning - Abu Dhabi Health Authority
DBA graduate aims to improve organizational learning in Abu Dhabi healthcare sector
When Nadia Al Jaberi graduated from the DBA program at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in April this year, her goal was to improve organizational learning in the field of healthcare.
Ms Al Jaberi has been working in strategic planning at the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (SEHA) for the past nine years, including seven years at Al Ain Hospital and two years at Tawam Hospital. She became interested in the program as it related to applied business.
“It’s not like a PhD,” she said. “It was more related to my work and more beneficial to my career. The main idea of doing a doctorate thesis is that you discover a practical problem in your workplace, and you do research and align it with literature, before merging it with the academic and the managerial or practical application.”
In her case, the research was focused on the impact of leadership styles on organizational learning. The context of her research was healthcare entities under the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (SEHA) in the Al Ain region, more specifically Al Ain Hospital, Tawan Hospital and the Ambulatory healthcare services. “The result of the research provided a lot of managerial implications for my employer, which is healthcare,” she said. “In the last 15 years, the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi has seen a rapid change in terms of their leadership and management, which caused a lot of learning frustration between employees, as everyone had different strategies. So my aim was to find the strategies to improve organizational learning, even if leadership styles change – we need to find a direction for this change.”
Having already acquired both a Bachelor degree and an MBA at UAEU in business management, she chose the DBA path for practical purposes and career improvement. “My research objective was to find an effective framework showing the impact of leadership styles on organizational learning through aligning the individual level with the organization’s level,” Ms Al Jaberi said.
“We have a template to do any research – you need to start with an idea and have literature, so the most difficult part was to align my idea and work problem with strong literature. Even if you have an idea, you need literature to build on this work.”
After pinpointing a number of ideas, she discovered that organizational learning was too wide a definition. “Having one set of organizational learning is so difficult,” she explained. “The most difficult part was to narrow down my idea and to have a strong basis of literature review related to our governmental strategy and the career problem that I found. When I narrowed down my problem, I successfully found a strong basis of literature and proposed my research hypothesis.”
When she first started out her career at the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi, she never imagined she would reach such a high level later on. “I was in charge of the outpatient clinic at Al Ain Hospital and, seven years later, I decided that I needed to change my career path,” she said. “So I transferred to the Strategic Planning and Performance Management Section at Tawam Hospital two years ago because I saw it was more of a corporate level and you can see the big picture of all operations, strategies, clinical, human resources, and everything. It helped me a lot in my research.”
Her ultimate goal is to help in changing some of the strategies from the perspective of decision-makers, human resource and policy-makers, in terms of initiating strategies to improve organizational learning, and having effective leadership as well as academics. “I just started giving a part-time lecture to improve my academic skills,” Ms Al Jaberi said. “At my job, they have trainers from within the employees, so I am preparing material regarding management change effect or impact, and I can give any subject related to business management because it’s my major.”
She also plans to work on an extension of her research with one of her DBA colleagues. “I would highly recommend this program, especially for the senior level and leaders, because it broadens their mind and strengthens their decision-making skills and analytical skills,” she said. “It also improves their personality in a way that they become more analytical, wiser, and display more critical thinking.”
General Director of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
United Arab Emirates graduate to change the face of cultural tourism in the UAE
Dr Yousif Alobaidli is one the most prominent figures in cultural tourism in the UAE. As the General Director of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre in Abu Dhabi and the Director General of the Founder’s Memorial for the late Sheikh Zayed, founding father of the UAE, Dr Alobaidli has been working arduously to put his country’s culture on the global map.
“We want to have a unique example by presenting tourism in the UAE, which has a very unique cultural aspect that will distinguish Abu Dhabi and the country in general from other destinations,” he said. “By focusing on this and enhancing cultural tourism, the economy of Abu Dhabi and the UAE will be further diversified and enhanced.”
HE Dr Alobaidli, who was born in Abu Dhabi, found his passion during his Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) at the United Arab Emirates University. His five years’ studying covered a variety of topics, from business administration and innovation, to change management, human resource investment and corporate social responsibility. That laid the foundation for his thesis on cultural tourism in the UAE, with a focus on hiring and retaining Emiratis as tour guides. “The UAE and Abu Dhabi, in particular, is focusing on this sector,” he said. “With Saadiyat Island being developed as a Cultural District in Abu Dhabi, it now hosts the Louvre Museum and many other projects are in the pipeline. This will add to the existing assets, such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the most popular attractions in the world, which was nominated second best landmark in the world according to TripAdvisor in 2017.”
His time at the university, from which he graduated in November 2017, proved vital in supporting his role in this sector. “The programme is very well renowned, especially in the UAE,” he said. “It has a very high standard and the DBA is very practical as it covers almost all topics in Business. What’s good about it is that, when you conduct your thesis, it has to relate to something practical, so you’re tackling a practical issue within your field.”
He said that helped improve not only his academic side, but it also helped develop in him a deeper understanding of the field he specialised in. “Personally, I have an interest in matters related to culture and my background is related to developing new organisations, particularly businesses that focus on cultural tourism and visitor experience,” said Dr Alobaidli. “It’s important to keep the UAE’s culture alive.”
Upon his graduation, he further delved into the field, managing crucial cultural destinations across Abu Dhabi, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs. “Thanks to my specialisation in managing cultural tourism entities, and my study with a focus on engaging Emiratis to participate and contribute to this important sector and make it more sustainable, my contribution and my study helped me enhance this aspect,” he said. “We’ve achieved great progress in this regard and are going to achieve more.”
His main drive is to build a model for managing cultural tourism that is sustainable and utilises national assets, as well as Emirati human resources, which will help in turn to diversify the UAE’s economy away from the oil sector. This is aligned with Abu Dhabi’s 2030 Vision. “It’s really important because, for the UAE to have a more sustainable income and future, it has to diversify its economy and utlise all national assets, including Emirati youth,” he added. “One of the most significant elements globally, based on WTTC, shows that tourism is the largest sector that hires people, creates jobs and it is one of the sectors that has a great effect on other sectors of the economy, including transportation, travel and the hospitality industry. This sector is expected to grow faster than the wider economy and many other industries over the next decade and it is anticipated to support over 370 million jobs by 2016.”
He said the UAE had the necessary assets to invest in tourism, in particular in cultural tourism. “My job is to help put the UAE on the global map,” he said. “The country has so much to offer and it’s time for people around the world to pay closer attention to that – this sector will truly be a game-changer in the future.”
Azza Al Otaiba,
Principal of Alqabyieya Campus, Institute of Applied Technology
When Azza Al Otaiba first joined the United Arab Emirates University’s College of Business in 1999 to study accounting, she never imagined she would one day be the first female Emirati to manage 1,600 students and 200 staff.
In her last two years at the university, Ms Al Otaiba started volunteer work in two
of its departments – Advising Unit & Internship & Career Development Unit. She was
then hired in the Career Department as a Training & Internship Specialist , where
she spent two years before being promoted to an Alumni & Student Development Manager
in the College of Business.
“I was there from 2008 to 2011,” she said. “I then moved to the Institute of Applied Technology because I wanted to move to Abu Dhabi and because of the career options available to me.”
For the following two years, she was an Alumni Supervisor. “I was promoted to Vice Principal of Operations in AL Ain for 2 years, followed by Principal of Alqabyiev campus from 2014 till now. I was the first female Emirati to hold this position, it used to be only for foreigners. I have been working there ever since.”
The position came with great responsibility, especially for a young woman of 32 years old – managing 1,600 students and 200 staff, as well as the institute itself. “I feel very proud of myself,” said Ms Al Otaiba, who is now 37. “At the same time, this is a big challenge for me because I need to prove that I can fulfill the responsibility they gave me.”
And the number of people she manages is constantly growing, an activity she says she enjoys. From operations to academics, Ms Al Otaiba is in charge of a vast amount of work – she must ensure the daily process goes smoothly for students, parents and staff, while ensuring the material is appropriately handed over to students and making sure they adapt to their curriculum.
From the beginning of the year, she starts recruiting and making campaigns for students to enroll in the institute’s schools, through school visits and presentations.
She also has to manage a variety of different nationalities and cultures from the academic and administrative staff. “I had to learn how to deal with all these different cultures, but it wasn’t difficult,” Ms Al Otaiba said. “I think, with my personality, I can be in these situations with people and I’m pretty flexible.”
Her family expressed great pride in her feat. “It runs in the family,” she went on. “My father used to be the Minister of the first Petroleum in the UAE, around the 1970s, and then he was the advisor of Sheikh Zayed, the founding father of the UAE, and of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE.”
Other family members are also high achievers, holding leading roles globally, with her brother, Yousef Al Otaiba, who is currently the UAE Ambassador to the United States.
For Ms Al Otaiba, the path she took exceeded all her expectations. “I didn’t expect to work in schools,” she said. “I thought I was going to continue at the university level only, which was one of the challenges because the school experience is different to university where you deal with specific people, and you have less people than in schools.”
She sees herself in her position for the long-term, being able to provide the institute with stability, experience and expertise she acquired over the years.
Her advice for current students is, “work in a job that believes in change for the better, where every day, there is something new and challenging.”
Manufacturing Engineer, Strata Manufacturing PJSC
Maryam Al-Kuwaiti is listed as one of the most influential women in 3D printing. The 25-year-old engineer played an important and integral role in the development and realization of the United Arab Emirates’ first 3D printed aircraft interior components. The female engineer has been recognized as a pioneer in the UAE’s additive manufacturing aerospace initiative.
More specifically, Al-Kiwaiti works for Strata Manufacturing PJSC’s joint initiative with Siemens and Etihad Airways which is aimed at producing 3D printed aircraft parts. Her background includes a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the UAE University, internships at the University of Oxford, California-based GlobalFoundries, and at the Airbus base in Toulouse, France.
As a prominent female engineer in the UAE’s aerospace industry, Al-Kiwaiti is hoping to inspire more women in the country, as well as across the Middle East to take on positions in engineering, 3D printing, and aerospace.
“I would encourage Emirati females to apply for jobs in this industry because the world is moving toward a Fourth Industrial Revolution – or Industry 4.0 – and this is leading to breakthroughs in advanced manufacturing and creating ‘smart factories’, where people and machines work together seamlessly.
“The UAE plans to be a big player in Industry 4.0, so there is, and will be, a need for engineers and people with the necessary vocational skills to play a role.”
HE Noura Al Kaabi
Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs of the United Arab Emirates and Chairwoman of the Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi and twofour54
HE Noura Al Kaabi , Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs of the United Arab Emirates and Chairwoman of the Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi and twofour54, needs little introduction.
As one of the most prominent female powerhouses in the UAE, the Emirati, in 2014, was also named as one of Forbes Middle East’s 30 Most Influential Women in Government; and was awarded Business Woman of the Year at the Gulf Business Industry Awards while she has also held many other titles including board member of the National Media Council, Abu Dhabi Media, Image Nation and the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU).
It is the latter where HE Al Kaabi decided to choose to begin her higher education - and she credits the university for helping her cement the prolific career she enjoys today.
"When deciding the academic path I wanted to pursue, there were a variety of options in the UAE - however, UAEU was one of the few institutions that offered a programme combining two of my interests at the time: management and understanding data,” she explained. "This is why I chose the Management Information Systems (MIS) degree as it appealed to me the most.
HE Al Kaabi said reflecting on her time at UAEU, there were many highlights during
her time of studying at the number one-ranking university in the UAE.
"There were a number of stand-out moments for me at UAEU, but the ones I really remember are interacting with classmates and professors during and outside of class.,” she says. "I enjoyed getting to know everyone and learning about them, as well as working with them on projects and reports.
"My time at UAEU helped me prepare for my work now, where I am constantly interacting with new people. I learned many valuable things from my fellow students and professors, and continue to learn from people I meet today. This is something I find important and necessary.”
HE Al Kaabi said her time at the university helped her learn two vital skills; how to both communicate effectively and research well. "I gained the knowledge and skills needed to pursue my roles through interaction with classmates and professors.,” she says. "When I worked on practical projects, I was able to really hone my managerial and organizational skills.”
"I learned what worked well with people and what didn’t, how to communicate my concerns and feedback properly and how to motivate both myself and a team. The programme helped me realise my aspirations to become a leader and thrive when faced with challenges in life and work.”
Since leaving the UAEU, HE Al Kaabi has worked in a variety of roles, starting in the IT department of Zayed Military Hospital. "In this position, I was able to practically use all I learned during the course of my degree,” she says. "It was an insightful experience as I was involved with the hospital’s information management system and I would also deal with staff, doctors, and military decision-makers.”
After working in the hospital for three years, HE Al Kaabi decided to undergo a shift in her career by joining Abu Dhabi gas company Dolphin Energy as part of the Human Resources Department. "I was mainly responsible for Training and Development,” she says. "I spent four years developing my skills in terms of HR policies and career progress plans for employees."
In 2007, HE Al Kaabi once again decided to change her career course by helping to find the media free zone twofour54 Abu Dhabi to help the creative economy scene in the emirate.
"I was the first employee and would eventually be joined by 30 more people who would bring twofour54 to life,” she says. "This was a particularly steep learning curve for me. From engaging community members about the sector and setting up creative labs, to being on set for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in the middle of Abu Dhabi’s desert, it has been a worthwhile accomplishment to see how far I have come. Working from scratch and building up a new sector in Abu Dhabi shaped who I am and the path of my career.”
"Now, I will continue learning and giving back to the community through my role as Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs where I aim to further my mission of empowering women and the youth."
For all her accomplishments, HE Al Kaabi said her biggest career highlight to date would be her appointment as part of the federal government to represent a ministry that improves the political scene in the UAE. "Given the current tumultuous regional challenges, this position is crucial to me,” she says. “Of course, this achievement comes with the support of great leadership, trust, and the talented team surrounding me.”
While HE Al Kaabi says she draws her inspiration in many forms, she chiefly gets inspired from daily encounters with other people, from the books she reads, and the art she sees. "However, when it comes to my career and nation-building, my biggest inspiration is undoubtedly our founding father HH Sheikh Zayed,” she added.
As she reflects back on her time at UAEU, she has a message for present-day students. "The world may be filled with opportunities,” she says. "But, they only appear with hard work, dedication and, most of all, passion. "Use your youth to explore your curiosities, your interests. Don't settle for what comes easy. This path is more difficult, but, life is a marathon, not a sprint. "The more you enjoy what you do the more you'll be able to contribute to the community and society. Your ambition should go beyond yourself - there is no limit - but, it starts here, today."
Dr Mohamed Sulaiman Mohamed Al Hammadi
Advisor, Chief Prosecutor for the Attorney General’s Technical Office - International
Judicial Cooperation Unit, Dubai Public Prosecution
Dr Mohammed Sulaiman Mohammed Al Hammadi is part of an elite team upholding the laws of the UAE and protecting the rights of its people - and as he carries out his work with pride, he is quick to salute the role that United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has played in his legal life.
As an advisor and Chief Prosecutor for the Attorney General’s Technical Office - International Judicial Cooperation Unit at Dubai Public Prosecution, Dr Al Hammadi holds a key role in his home nation’s mission of building a fair and secure community, where freedom, justice, independence, and partnership are the watchwords.
His 17-year legal career has seen him hold many pivotal positions – in addition to his current post, he has been a legal lecturer and an expert specializing in international arbitration in commercial and banking disputes and international cases – and amass a portfolio of achievements. And he credits his time at the UAE’s flagship university for steering him towards this successful career path.
Having developed a keen interest in the criminal justice system and its importance in protecting human dignity and upholding human rights, Dr Al Hammadi commenced his studies at UAEU in 1995, graduating in 2000 from its Faculty of Sharia & Law.
The UAE national said he chose to pursue his higher education at the longest-established - and highest-ranking - university in his home country because of its distinguished international faculty, and its local and global stature.
"I chose UAEU as it enjoys a good reputation and holds a prestigious position among many universities,” explained Dr Al Hammadi. "The reason for choosing the specialization of Sharia & Law was my personal desire and inclination, and reflected my search for excellence in the field of law.” Dr Al Hammadi retains fond memories of his time at UAEU, and describes receiving his Bachelor’s degree as one of the highlights of his life.
“The time of my graduation from the university was the happiest time,” recalled Dr Al Hammadi, who was invited by UAEU to participate in the College of Sharia & Law’s 2017 graduation ceremony as an example to students of how their education at the Al Ain institution gives them a grounding in excellence.
"I consider the UAEU's Faculty of Sharia & Law to be the source from which I gained
my knowledge and understanding of the sciences of the legal system. My time at the
university helped me to build my legal capability, and provided me with guidance in
“It helped me to determine which occupation best suits me, and that led me to my position in the Dubai Public Prosecution as a prosecutor - a position which I am very proud of.”
In addition to his Bachelor’s Degree from UAEU, Dr Al Hammadi's educational achievements include a Master’s Degree in International Law from Australia's La Trobe University, a Doctorate in Philosophy in Private Law from the University of Sharjah, a Higher Diploma in Legal and Judicial Sciences, and a Diploma in Criminal Sciences from the Dubai Police Academy. He continues to participate in many workshops, conferences, symposia, and specialized and general training courses.
"I am very proud to have been a prosecutor since 2002, and the progression I have made along my career path,” he said. “This has led me to occupying my current position in the technical office of the Attorney General in the unit of International Judicial Cooperation, which is designed to look into various international requests in the field of international judicial cooperation, including extradition requests and judicial assistance requests. “This is all thanks to the help I have received from higher leadership, my directors, and my colleagues, and their trust they have placed in me, as well as my own efforts. That is what I consider to be my biggest achievement.
As an alumnus of UAEU, Dr Al Hammadi maintains a strong relationship and association with the university that has played such a key role in his life to this day. And he has advice, and a message, for its current students. “Always have faith in Allah, trust yourself, and trust others,” he says. “This is the biggest incentive and motivation for you to achieve what you seek, and what is sought from you. "Whoever strives for the top, desires excellence, and seeks success has to work hard. They will only achieve their goals through perseverance and tireless effort.”
Dr. Amer Ahmad Sharif
Chief Executive Officer Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Education Sector (DHCE) and the Vice Chancellor of the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU)
When he walked through the doors of United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in 1996, Dr. Amer Sharif never realised he would continue his studies at the flagship institution for two decades - from Bachelor of Medicine student to a PhD graduate - all the while helping put his country on the map for healthcare.
Currently holding down two roles as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Education Sector (DHCE) and the Vice Chancellor of the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), Dr Sharif is a familiar figurehead in UAE healthcare circles.
As the CEO of the education sector within the Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA), which oversees the development of the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), Dr Sharif has broadened the reach of MBRU, established in 2014 to advance individual and community healthcare status in the UAE.
Beginning his studies in medicine, Dr Sharif said when it came to selecting a university in which to pursue his studies, the answer was an easy one. “UAEU is a model organisation and it is the model university for the nation,” he said. “So it was an absolute honour just to be accepted as a medical student. I spent eight years in Al Ain and it was the best moments of my life. "Myself and my fellow students were lucky because we were at the new faculty building for the College Of Medicine and Health Sciences - we were the first batch who used that facility.”
After finishing his Medical Degree from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) from the University, Dr Sharif became a teaching assistant in medical education at the UAEU.
“I was the first UAEU national who was a teaching assistant in medical education,” he explained, before he made the move back to the emirate of Dubai where he has since enjoyed a stellar career at the helm of many government healthcare departments. But his affiliation with the UAEU continued.
“I was a student of the UAEU until last year, so you can consider me a student from 1996 until 2016 when I completed my Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Mapping the UAE Health System: Challenges and Recommendations from the UAE - which I started in 2010,” he said. "I was the first student to graduate from the medical school in the UAEU and to do a PhD in the medical school. I maintained a relationship with UAEU through alumni and through participating in many of the events and programmes and I was also excited to become the first general co-ordinator for alumni of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences."
Dr Sharif said his long affiliation with the university is one he holds close to his heart. “Every moment I spent at the university was a special one,” he said. “It was not just the studies but activities outside studies too. I was part of the medical students association, so we got involved in sporting and social activities. It felt like a home away from home. It has been 20 years of exciting moments."
During those 20 years, his career has flourished. Having also completed a Master of Science (MSc) in Healthcare Management from the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI), in 2005 Dr Sharif began working for the Dubai Health Authority, joining the office of the Assistant Director General.
“It was a big learning experience for me,” said Dr Sharif, explaining he had moved from a teaching role to a more management position. “I was going into a role that helped oversee the whole (healthcare) position."
Dr Sharif went onto hold many more titles at the healthcare authority, including Director of Human Resources and Director of Healthcare Operations at the DHA, while he was also involved in helping establish several key projects in the Dubai medical sector. Ultimately, he became the CEO of the Education Sector at Dubai Health City Authority, while also securing the role of Vice Chancellor of the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, which he describes a “like a dream come true”.
“It has always been a dream to help create and develop a healthy workforce of the future and develop an integrated academic health system that acts as an umbrella that will network with healthcare providers, with researchers, and with healthcare professionals across the system,” he said. “Establishing a new medical university in Dubai is something you won’t get often in your lifetime, so I think this has been the highlight of my career until now and I am very grateful to the leadership of the country and to the UAEU - who have given me all the skills and knowledge to be in this place today. If it was not for the UAEU I would not be in this place.”
Given his long affiliation with the university, when asked if he had any words of wisdom for any current students, Dr Sharif said: “Know that every day is a significant learning opportunity. Work hard, be respectfully ambitious, learn from others and create connections from day one. As much as you can, collaborate with colleagues and benchmark yourself with others and learn from others. And I think the UAEU gives a great platform to do that.”
Dr Sharif credits Sheikh Zayed, the UAE’s founding father, as his main inspiration and role model throughout his successful career.
“In this country we are inspired by our rulers,” he said. “Sheikh Zayed was a very visionary person; if it was not for him and the wise leaders who came together with him to establish the country we would not be in this situation we are in today. We are leading the world today in certain areas - that is credit to the visionary leadership we are blessed to have in our country.”
Dr. Khalid Alnaqbi,
Head and Consultant of Rheumatology & Immunology and Clinical Assistant Professor at the College of Medicine & Health Sciences,
Al Ain Hospital, UAE
A chance meeting with a medical student at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) put Dr. Khalid Alnaqbi on a path to a career that led him to head Abu Dhabi’s busiest department for patients suffering from inflammatory and autoimmune rheumatic diseases.
Unlike many students who decided to be doctors at an early age, Dr Alnaqbi decided to train in the medical field only two years before studying at the UAE University’s College of Medicine & Health Sciences (CMHS).
"I originally wanted to be a mechanical engineer or a nuclear physicist but while I was in high school I lived in Al Ain city for a week with my friend who was a medical student at the CMHS,” he explained. "I saw what would be my future life at the university and became thrilled to walk on this pathway.”
Dr Alnaqbi retains fond memories of his seven-year spell at the UAEU campus, and describes receiving his doctorate as one of the highlights of his life.
"I had a good time living the life of a medical student at the UAEU,” he recalled. "The best moment was in my seventh year when we were at the College of Medicine waiting for the results of the final exam.
"The Dean came out of the meeting room and shook hands with each of us saying ‘congratulation doctor!’. “At that moment, I felt I was the king of the world! I called my mother and we both cried out of joy.”
Dr Alnaqbi credits the faculty at the UAE’s flagship university for steering him on the successful career path he has enjoyed to date. "At the University we had excellent professors who were role models and encouraged us to advance the wheel of knowledge by participating in research,” he explained. "I also was moved by the passion of the professors of internal medicine.”
It was his mentors at the UAEU who inspired Dr Alnaqbi to make the 11,000km one-way trip to Canada to embark on a ten-year post-graduate educational journey to further his studies and knowledge.
The doctor completed a residency training in internal medicine and rheumatology - followed by a fellowship in Spondyloarthritis - at the University of Toronto. He also obtained Master of Clinical Epidemiology and became the only Emirati to complete the Clinician Investigator Program accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
After a decade in Canada, Dr Alnaqbi decided to return to his home country to share the knowledge he had learned and began work as a Consultant Rheumatologist at Al Ain Hospital, climbing the career path to become the Head of Department and Clinical Assistant Professor. His day-to-day activities now include patient care in the clinics, infusion day care, ward consultations, teaching post-graduate trainees and administrative work.
When it comes to highlights in his career, Dr Alnaqbi has many achievements under his belt, including establishing the infrastructure for the Rheumatology department. This entailed establishing sub-specialty clinics (Early Arthritis Clinic, Connective Tissue Disease Clinic, and Spondylitis Clinic), establishing Infusion Day Care, developing new clinical guidelines for rheumatic diseases and policies on handling infusion drugs for health care workers (rheumatologists, nurses, pharmacists). Dr Alnaqbi was also responsible for developing the Nursing Manual for Rheumatology Department and new patient educational pamphlets.
Not only content in enjoying his own career success, Dr Alnaqbi is committed to passing on the beacon of knowledge to other young medical students.
“I developed undergraduate and post-graduate curricula for family residents and internal residents, obtaining mannequins for teaching injections for soft tissues and joints,” he explained. "Despite limited manpower, I have spent a lot of my personal time to achieve this. Now, we are currently the most productive rheumatology department in the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA)."
When it comes to those who have inspired him the most in his working career, Dr Alnaqbi looks to his own family tree as a motivational force. "I have been inspired by my parents for their hard work and support in raising us and ensuring that we succeed in our lives,” he said. "I lost my mother recently but her inspiration has given me strength to overcome many life challenges."
As an alumnus of UAEU, Dr Alnaqbi credits the university for playing such a key role in his life and he has advice, and a message, for its current students. If you had to give any words of wisdom to current students at the UAEU what would it be? "Love what you do because it will self-motivate you to be better at it,” he said. "Life has many challenges, and it is up to you to decide how you react to these challenges. "Just believe in yourself."
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