Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Research and responsibility go hand-in-hand for Dr Ossama Osman, as he combines his work in research with service to the community and guiding students to become leaders.
As Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences within the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), he is a firm believer in translating research and theoretical education into practical use, for the good of society – a belief that has made him an instrumental figure within the UAE’s health sector.
A graduate of the University of Cairo Medical School, he completed four years of accredited residency training in psychiatry at the Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine in the US, where he made his first impact on the world of research. Conducting studies designed to develop understanding of the biochemical aspect of the effect of medication used to treat his patients, he won a University Excellence Award in the field of research into schizophrenia, and was selected by the US’ prestigious National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) to undergo three years of research fellowship training in Clinical Psychopharmacology.
Having focused his work on the neurochemical and neuroendocrine mechanisms in mood disorders during his time at NIMH – with his published work contributing to the development of new knowledge on the mechanics of the brain – he served as a full-time faculty member at several US universities for almost a decade. During this time, Dr Osman developed the first schizophrenia research program at Bay Pines VA Medical Center in Florida; returned to SIU to establish an innovative academic and training program in developmental disabilities; and led the creation of clinical and academic programs in community mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities at Mercer University College of Medicine in Georgia. He also became its first Medical Director, opening up educational and training opportunities for both medical students and residents.
Since 2004, however, Dr Osman has called the UAE – and UAEU – home. In his 13 years in Al Ain, he has secured numerous UAEU research grants and collaborated with other researchers at both local and international level, with his partners including institutions such as the Harvard Program for Trauma and Recovery. His research work has involved multidisciplinary studies of disorders in mental health, encompassing obesity, bariatrics, psycho-dermatology, hormonal and trauma-related conditions, and stress, and he is an active member of the Neuroscience Research Priority Group at CMHS.
Just as important as his research work is his commitment to support the career development and wellbeing of students. As a strong advocate for providing innovative avenues along which UAEU graduates can further their careers, and as someone with a long-held interest in academic program development, he established the UAE’s first structured joint psychiatry resident training program in 2004, helping to address an urgent need for specialist psychiatrists within the nation.
Having served as its first faculty director for six years, he saw this program grow to the point where, in 2010, it branched out into three initiatives in different emirates, and was pivotal to its accreditation by the US-based Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. During this time, Dr Osman was chosen to chair the Arab Board of Psychiatry Committee on curriculum development, credentialing and accreditation, and continues to perform a vital liaison function.
In addition, he co-founded the Higher Professional Diploma Program in Psychological Skills and Competencies in Mental Health, a collaboration between CMHS and the National Rehabilitation Center in Abu Dhabi. Since its establishment, it has graduated more than 60 mental health professionals – most of them UAEU alumni – who are now based at major hospitals around the UAE.
And Dr Osman’s wealth of experience has led to him playing a key role in development mental health treatment guidelines for primary care physicians in Abu Dhabi, and in providing training activities that enable this roadmap to be implemented. He has also been a significant contributor to Continuing Medical Education programs in the UAE and abroad, and regularly organizes and presents at regional and international psychiatric and neuroscience conferences.
Dr Osman is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, is a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and is licensed as a consultant psychiatrist at Al Ain and Tawam Hospitals.
In his spare time, he likes to play squash, table tennis, swim and to travel across the globe.
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