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I have talked to numerous young doctors who would cherish the opportunity to receive high quality specialty training close to home. This is one of the key challenges being addressed by the Harvard Medical School Dubai Center Institute for Postgraduate Education and Research (HMSDC).

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By  Robert Thurer Published  July 10, 2006

|~||~||~|With each issue of Healthcare Middle East, our goal is to provide healthcare professionals in the Gulf Region with up-to-date information that is relevant to the challenges they face in their daily practice of medicine. Three feature articles in this issue represent a big part of the healthcare picture of the region, as they focus on problems that are of particular concern to the Gulf region: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome, which is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. While to some degree these conditions can all be addressed in the primary care or generalist setting, these problems point to a glaring issue facing the healthcare systems of the region: the need for more trained specialists. The lack of postgraduate medical training opportunities in the Gulf region has led many of the most talented medical professionals to pursue their specialist training elsewhere. While some of these people will return to practice in the UAE and its neighbours, many will not. One of the objectives of the Government of Dubai in creating Dubai Healthcare City (DHC) is to reverse this trend. The demand for healthcare services is growing exponentially in the region, and there is escalating concern that the supply of well-trained physician specialists will not be sufficient to meet the needs of patients in coming years. It is important, I think, to add that the Gulf region is home to a large number of healthcare professionals who want to remain here and pursue their careers. I have talked to numerous young doctors who would cherish the opportunity to receive high quality specialty training close to home. But if these opportunities to advance their knowledge are not available, they will choose to do their training elsewhere—a no-win situation for the people of the Gulf, certainly, and for many of those doctors who would rather remain in, and serve, their community. This is one of the key challenges being addressed by the Harvard Medical School Dubai Center Institute for Postgraduate Education and Research (HMSDC). We are in the process of establishing postgraduate medical education and training opportunities within DHC. These world-class programmes will cover a full range of medical specialties and sub-specialties and are expected to be in place by 2009, when we will welcome the first physicians-in-training to the new home of HMSDC and the DHCC teaching hospital. There, physicians will participate in simulated learning experiences and develop new skills and techniques in an innovative teaching environment. Students will have access to the resources of the Maktoum Harvard medical library, as well as benefiting from clinical training at an international standard. Our hope is that, within the next decade, hundreds of physicians will receive postgraduate medical training through HMSDC, in accredited programs that meet international standards for quality. Dr Robert Thurer is chief academic officer, Harvard Medical School, Dubai Centre.||**||

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