Publications by authors named "Azhar T Rahma"

5 Publications

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

OMICS 2021 May 27;25(5):285-293. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.

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.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/omi.2021.0029DOI Listing
May 2021

Stakeholders' Interest and Attitudes toward Genomic Medicine and Pharmacogenomics Implementation in the United Arab Emirates: A Qualitative Study.

Public Health Genomics 2021 Mar 17:1-11. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine & Health Science, UAE University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates,

Background And Aim: Mapping the power, interest, and stance of stakeholders is a cornerstone for genomic medicine implementation. In this study, we aimed at mapping the power/interest of various stakeholders in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and exploring their attitudes toward pressing health genomics aspects. The overarching aim of this study is to facilitate the construction of a road map for the full implementation of genomic medicine and pharmacogenomics in the UAE with potential applicability to many healthcare systems around the world.

Methods: A qualitative approach using in-depth interview was employed. Heterogeneous stakeholders were identified by experts in the field. The analysis of the data was a hybrid of deductive and inductive approach using NVivo software for coding and analysis.

Results: 13 interviews were conducted. Following mapping the Mendelow's matrix, we categorized the stakeholders in UAE to promoter, latent, defender, and apathetic. Most of the interviewed stakeholders emphasized the clinical demand for genomic medicine in UAE. However, many of them were less inclined to articulate the need for pharmacogenomics at the moment. The majority of stakeholders in UAE were in favor of building infrastructure for better genetic services in the country. Stakeholder from an insurance sector had contradicting stance about the cost-effectiveness of genomic medicine; the majority were concerned with the legal and ethical aspects of genomic medicine and had an opposing stance on direct-to-consumer kits.

Conclusions: Implementing the Mendelow's model will allow the systematic strategy for implementing genomic medicine in UAE. This can be achieved by engaging the key players (promoters and defenders) as well as engaging and satisfying the latent stakeholder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000513753DOI Listing
March 2021

Knowledge, Attitudes, and Perceived Barriers toward Genetic Testing and Pharmacogenomics among Healthcare Workers in the United Arab Emirates: A Cross-Sectional Study.

J Pers Med 2020 Nov 9;10(4). Epub 2020 Nov 9.

Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine & Health Sciences, UAE University, Al Ain P.O. Box 17666, UAE.

In order to successfully translate the scientific models of genetic testing and pharmacogenomics into clinical practice, empowering healthcare workers with the right knowledge and functional understanding on the subject is essential. Limited research in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have assessed healthcare worker stances towards genomics. This study aimed to assess healthcare workers' knowledge and attitudes on genetic testing. A cross-sectional study was conducted among healthcare workers practicing in either public or private hospitals or clinics as pharmacists, nurses, physicians, managers, and allied health. Participants were recruited randomly and via snowball techniques. Surveys were collected between April and September 2019; out of 552 respondents, 63.4% were female, the mean age was 38 (±9.6) years old. The mean knowledge score was 5.2 (±2.3) out of nine, which shows a fair level of knowledge. The scores of respondents of pharmacy were 5.1 (±2.5), medicine 6.0 (±2.0), and nursing 4.8 (±2.1). All participants exhibited a fair knowledge level about genetic testing and pharmacogenomics. Of the respondents, 91.9% showed a positive attitude regarding availability of genetic testing. The top identified barrier to implementation was the cost of testing (62%), followed by lack of training or education and insurance coverage (57.8% and 57.2%, respectively). Building upon the positive attitudes and tackling the barriers and challenges will pave the road for full implementation of genetic testing and pharmacogenomics in the UAE. We recommend empowering healthcare workers by improving needed and tailored competencies related to their area of practice. We strongly urge the stakeholders to streamline and benchmark the workflow, algorithm, and guidelines to standardize the health and electronic system. Lastly, we advocate utilizing technology and electronic decision support as well as the translational report to back up healthcare workers in the UAE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm10040216DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7711841PMC
November 2020

Knowledge and Attitudes of Medical and Health Science Students in the United Arab Emirates toward Genomic Medicine and Pharmacogenomics: A Cross-Sectional Study.

J Pers Med 2020 Oct 24;10(4). Epub 2020 Oct 24.

Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine & Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain 17666, UAE.

Medical and health science students represent future health professionals, and their perceptions are essential to increasing awareness on genomic medicine and pharmacogenomics. Lack of education is one of the significant barriers that may affect health professional's ability to interpret and communicate pharmacogenomics information and results to their clients. Our aim was to assess medical and health science students' knowledge, attitudes and perception for a better genomic medicine and pharmacogenomics practice in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A cross-sectional study was conducted using a validated questionnaire distributed electronically to students recruited using random and snowball sampling methods. A total of 510 students consented and completed the questionnaire between December 2018 and October 2019. The mean knowledge score (SD) for students was 5.4 (±2.7). There were significant differences in the levels of knowledge by the year of study of bachelor's degree students, the completion status of training or education in pharmacogenomics (PGX) or pharmacogenetics and the completion of an internship or study abroad program (-values < 0.05. The top two barriers that students identified in the implementation of genomic medicine and pharmacogenomics were lack of training or education (59.7%) and lack of clinical guidelines (58.7%). Concerns regarding confidentiality and discrimination were stated. The majority of medical and health science students had positive attitudes but only had a fair level of knowledge. Stakeholders in the UAE must strive to acquaint their students with up-to-date knowledge of genomic medicine and pharmacogenomics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm10040191DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7711592PMC
October 2020

Genomics and Pharmacogenomics Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Pharmacists Working in United Arab Emirates: Findings from Focus Group Discussions-A Qualitative Study.

J Pers Med 2020 Sep 18;10(3). Epub 2020 Sep 18.

Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine & Health Science, UAE University, Al Ain, P.O. Box 17666, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

(1) Background: Genomics and pharmacogenomics are relatively new fields in medicine in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Understanding the knowledge, attitudes and current practices among pharmacists is an important pillar to establish the roadmap for implementing genomic medicine and pharmacogenomics; (2) Methods: A qualitative method was used, with focus group discussions (FGDs) being conducted among pharmacists working in public and private hospitals in Abu Dhabi Emirate. Snowball sampling was used. Thematic inductive analysis was performed by two researchers independently. NVIVO software was used to establish the themes; (3) Results: Lack of knowledge of genomics and pharmacogenomics among pharmacists was one of the most prominent findings. Therefore, the role of pharmacist in making the right decisions was highlighted to be a barrier for pharmacogenomics implementation in the UAE. Pharmacists have a positive attitude toward pharmacogenomics, but they are preoccupied with concern of confidentiality. In addition, religion and culture shadowed their attitudes toward genetic testing; (4) Conclusions: It is highly recommended to introduce new courses and training workshops for healthcare providers to improve the opportunities for genomics and pharmacogenomics application in the UAE. Pharmacists agreed that the health authorities should take the lead for improving trust and confidence in the system for a better future in the era of genomics and pharmacogenomics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm10030134DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7563679PMC
September 2020