Press Release

‘Destination Medicine Summit’ by Al Jalila Foundation inspires Emirati youth to pursue medicine under the slogan “today’s students, tomorrow’s doctors”

Al Jalila Foundation, a global philanthropic organisation dedicated to transforming lives through medical education and research, today hosted the highly-anticipated third edition of Destination Medicine Summit, a student conference aimed at inspiring Emirati students to pursue careers in medicine. Following the success of the 2014 and 2015 edition, this year the event is being held over 3 days to accommodate 2000 students from schools across the UAE.

The opening ceremony was attended by over 670 students and a number of VIPs including HE Dr Raja Al Gurg, Member of the Board for Trustees and Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Al Jalila Foundation; HE Marwan Al Sawaleh, Assistant Undersecretary of Support Services, Ministry of Education; Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General, Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA); Dr Abdulkareem Al Olama, CEO of Al Jalila Foundation; Professor Sehamuddin Galadari, CEO of Al Jalila Foundation Research Centre; Bader Hareb, CEO of Dubai Healthcare City; Members of the Board of Directors of Al Jalila Foundation and a number of leading healthcare professionals and representatives from the education and healthcare sectors. The VIP delegation toured the exhibition and workshops which featured more than 20 organisations showcasing a number of healthcare innovations.
In partnership with the Ministry of Education, Abu Dhabi Education Council, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, and Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), and Global Partner Enable Community Foundation, Destination Medicine Summit was held at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Academic Medical Centre at DHCC.

The children, dressed in lab coats and stethoscopes, participated in a series of interactive workshops including first aid and emergency response training, introduction to medical robotics, innovations for visually impaired individuals among others medical advancements. The exhibition featuring leading organisations such as Siemens, Johnson & Johnson, GE Healthcare and Unilever showcased a number of healthcare technologies and innovations.

For the first time in the UAE students were able to experience how the heart works from the inside out by stepping inside a giant human heart exhibit. With cardiovascular disease being the number one health challenge in the region, the interactive educational experience aimed to increase awareness of heart health and give the students a better understanding of the complexities of heart anatomy.

Speaking at the event were leading UAE physicians and medical pioneers Dr Manal Taryam, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Dubai Health Authority and Dr Alawi Alsheikh Ali, Consultant Cardiologist, Mohammed Bin Rashid University. Dr Manal is the CEO of Noor Dubai Foundation, the Dubai-based charity that has treated millions people worldwide who suffered from various forms of visual disabilities. Dr Alawi developed the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) and under his leadership, SKMC became a leading referral center for arrhythmias and electrophysiology across the UAE.

The children were given a glimpse into the world of medicine through a series of activities and discussions with real life doctors, nurses, paramedics, surgeons, philanthropists, paramedics and volunteers in the humanitarian field. Medical students from the UAE University shared their challenges and rewards of studying medicine.

One of the summit highlights was a 3D printing workshop in partnership with US-philanthropy Enable Community Foundation. The World Health Organisation estimates that approximately 1 in 2000 births each year involve upper-limb reductions. 3D printing technology has provided a solution that is accessible and affordable. e-NABLE hands and arms are innovative, inexpensive, and child-friendly. For the first time in the region, students had the opportunity to assemble 3D printed prosthetic-like upper limb devices (hands and arms) that will be donated to children around the world as part of Al Jalila Foundation’s global movement that no child should live without a limb.

Her Excellency Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg, Chairperson of the Board of Directors and Member of the Board of Trustees of Al Jalila Foundation, said: “The summit aims to expose the students to the world of medicine and the rewards of working in the humanitarian field. Nothing would make us prouder than to see these students join one of our programs in the future – and become doctors, save lives and give back to their community. That is the essence of Destination Medicine Summit.”

Dr Abdulkareem Al Olama, Chief Executive Officer of Al Jalila Foundation, said “Al Jalila Foundation aims to develop a generation of home-grown medical professionals and Destination Medicine Summit is the perfect platform to connect aspiring young minds with leaders in healthcare. We have been impressed by the students’ enthusiasm and we hope that this experience will instill in them the spirit of medical discovery and innovation.”

Dr Jon Schull, President of Enable Community Foundation, said: “The jobs of tomorrow will not only require new skills, but new ways of thinking. Cultivating a new generation of connected humanitarians to address the challenges of our day is our mission, and we are proud to work directly with Al Jalila Foundation to help realise this shared vision of a better tomorrow by empowering children.”

The event was sponsored by Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Foundation, Total E&P UAE, Abela & Co., Unilever Gulf FZE, Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), Grand Millenium Hotel and Johnson & Johnson Middle East.