The dual energy CT is an imaging equipment that can produce 3D modelling of the body. Don Molyneaux, for the University of Calgary

Nov. 3, 2021

University of Calgary selected to help shape new medical school in Abu Dhabi

VPS Healthcare and Cumming School of Medicine partner to train the next generation of physicians in the United Arab Emirates

A unique collaboration between the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) and Abu Dhabi-headquartered VPS Healthcare will help shape the future academic and health-care landscape in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The two organizations announced the agreement to collaborate on the design of distinctive and innovative medical education and research programs to prepare new physicians for the rapidly evolving and technologically advanced health-care environment in the UAE.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the University of Calgary and VPS Healthcare to work together to have a significant impact on medical education,” says Dr. Teri Balser, provost and vice-president (academic), University of Calgary. “The Cumming School of Medicine has an international reputation for excellence and innovation in health-care research and education which is evidenced in this new collaboration.”

Shamsheer Vayalil, left, with Teri Balser.

Don Molyneaux, for the University of Calgary

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service to the United Arab Emirates approached the CSM about its three-year undergraduate program and the research underway here. The new medical school will offer the only accelerated three-year MD program outside of Canada and the United States and will offer students acceptance to a residency slot at one of the 24 VPS Healthcare hospitals upon graduation. This program will help address the significant demand for physicians in both the UAE and regional marketplaces.

“We are extremely pleased to be working with the team at the Cumming School of Medicine to train the physicians of tomorrow," says Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, MD, founder and chairman of VPS Healthcare. “After graduation, these highly educated professionals will remain in the UAE to be part of a world-class academic medical health system, which will improve the quality of health are in our communities.”

“We are extremely honoured to be chosen to help with this ambitious project,” says Dr. Jon Meddings, dean, Cumming School of Medicine (CSM). “We have world-class education and research programs, and it is very exciting to think about reaching an entirely new group of medical students.”

Unlike some undergraduate medical programs in the region aimed at students who recently completed a high school diploma, recruitment for this new program will target students who already have degrees or are health professionals.

Construction of the school and adjoining medical complex is underway. The first students will begin the program in July 2022.