Mapping the Educational Environment of Genomics and Pharmacogenomics in the United Arab Emirates: A Mixed-Methods Triangulated Design

Azhar T. Rahma, Luai A. Ahmed, Mahanna Elsheik, Iffat Elbarazi, Bassam R. Ali, George P. Patrinos, Fatma Al-Maskari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Pharmacogenomics (PGx) education is crucial to support the effective delivery of PGx services in any health care system. We mapped the current educational environment of genomics and PGx in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and assessed the readiness of the accredited higher education system to move forward with the implementation of PGx in the country. We employed a mixed-methods triangulated approach to map the PGx educational environment in UAE. We used two qualitative methods and one quantitative method. University curricula inspection, interviews, and questionnaires were the main resources of data. PGx was taught in 6 out of 21 accredited universities, but only for pharmacy majors. Only three out of six PGx courses were stand-Alone. Majority of academia exhibited positive attitudes toward the availability and accessibility of genetic testing, with 89% agreeing that the government should invest more money into its development. Interviews with academics and, importantly, the commissioners who oversee the accreditation process of universities in UAE revealed recurrent themes that included recognizing the importance of genomic medicine and PGx and called for translational and implementational research, including recruitment of experts in the field. We recommend, as supported by our findings in this study, the creation of standardized curriculum of genomics and PGx for each health science field, using the blended teaching approach, and benchmarking internationally accredited universities to foster international collaboration and improve the education and practice of genomics in the clinic and public health systems. An 11-item genomics and PGx strategy is presented herein. Finally, the mixed-methods study design employed in this research may also serve as a model conceptual frame for other science education mapping efforts at country or multi-institutional scales in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-293
Number of pages9
JournalOMICS A Journal of Integrative Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • accredited universities
  • attitude
  • curriculum
  • genomics
  • pharmacogenomics academia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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