Dr Thumbay Moideen: Creating Medical University of the Future
Dr Thumbay Moideen

Healthcare is the future. Though the current healthcare system suffers from many challenges. While functionally adequate there are several shortcomings that become a major obstacle when the system is under a lot of pressure. These issues are not only of deficient healthcare facilities but also in the form of a severe lack of healthcare professionals.

One of the individuals who is addressing these challenges and constructing a brighter future for the healthcare industry is Dr Thumbay Moideen, Founder and President of the Thumbay Group. He established the Gulf Medical University (GMU), which provides the full spectrum of the health education system. Backed by an array of collaborative healthcare programs, a fully owned and managed private academic hospital, and state-of-the-art infrastructure, Gulf Medical University’s educational model is one of the biggest success stories in the MENA region.

Established by Dr Moideen, the inception story of Gulf Medical University (GMU) has become legendary in business circles across UAE. It all began in the year 1998 when Dr Moideen, had a chance meeting with a member of Ajman’s royal family, who asked him for ideas on projects that could help boost the Emirates’ economy. Dr Moideen proposed an educational institution modelled on the likes of a similar establishment he had seen in the state of Karnataka in India. The plan was highly appreciated, and he was soon invited to initiate and lead the creation of a medical academic center in Ajman.

While Dr Moideen had no prior experience about this segment at the time, he saw a great potential in the inherent idea and decided to pursue it and scale up further. A year later, Gulf Medical College was established, and ever since it has grown leaps and bounds and become one of the most sought-after private medical universities in the GCC region. 60 percent of the health professionals trained in the UAE are alumni of this prestigious university. It’s not only doctors, but also nurses, dental, physiotherapy, among others.

Emphasizing on the evolution and development of the Gulf Medical University in terms of buildings, staff, students and scientific and educational degrees, Dr Moideen states, “From humble beginnings as the region’s first private medical University, today GMU is a testament of a long and distinguished success story of being the region’s only private Academic Health System– delivering futuristic medical education, playing an important role in providing state-of-the-art healthcare and promoting innovative research. Our progress over the last 24 years has been driven by the dedication of our staff, students, and partners, in addition to GMU’s philosophy of constant innovation and above all, the Grace of the Almighty. We have also received excellent support from the government throughout this journey.

Gulf Medical university boasts a student-bank of over 3000 students from more than 90 different nationalities, offering 29 accredited Undergraduate and Graduate programs run by the 6 constituent colleges in the field of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, biomedical sciences, healthcare management and economics. Graduate programs are offered in public health, physical therapy, endodontology, periodontics, clinical pharmacy, drug discovery development, healthcare management and economics, health professions education and medical laboratory sciences.

Our Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) Program outcomes are aligned to the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME) Standards. Our Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences Program is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS), UK and our PharmD Program is certified by Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), USA. Our hospitals are JCI accredited, and our Laboratories are CAP accredited, signifying that we give high priority to the quality. The national, international and regional engagements exceed 70 collaborations with top international universities in Europe, United States, Japan, Malaysia, and Far East,” briefs Dr Moideen.

The Thumbay Research Institute of Precision Medicine Research is the hub for postgraduate studies in Biomedical Sciences, translational research, and innovation. The university is also offering Doctor of Philosophy in Precision Medicine in collaboration with Université Paris Saclay. At Gulf Medical University, the unflinching commitment to quality of education provided and the world-class infrastructure and facilities ensure that students gain the best professional knowledge. Furthermore, the university’s unique Summer Training Program readies its students to deal with professional challenges, in addition to widening the horizons of their knowledge and providing them the potential of unrivalled employability.

A Revolutionary Way to Educate

Since Gulf Medical University has been a pioneer in the health professions higher education segment as first private academic institute, GMU has paired the ‘right’ courses with the ‘right’ formats to build students’ career. Gulf Medical University is full of opportunities for students aspiring to make a career in health professions. From short-term courses, full-fledged degrees to tie-ups with other international colleges, students gain learning in an environment that emphasizes on ‘learning through doing.’ The University presents a dynamic curriculum, which provides excellent clinical training, integrates the health sciences with clinical experience, and utilizes modern technology. GMU is also one of the most in-demand medical universities in the Middle east region, which gets around 8000 applications every year.

Moreover, students benefit with adequate opportunities to showcase their achievements through student activities, interprofessional skills, sporting and cultural events that train them to be multi-disciplinary experts. Other benefits provided to the students include: Clinical training sites of unmatched quality at 8 hospitals, 10 clinics, 5 labs and 48 pharmacies and a total of 700 beds; tie-ups with other local entities as clinical training sites with over 400 qualified faculty, doctors and adjunct faculty who provide oneon-one clinical training to students and quality care to the patients of UAE; access to technological platforms and an outstanding infrastructure for research on imaging, functional genomics, sequencing with NGS facility.

In terms of advancing healthcare in the UAE and globally, GMU has launched the establishment of the first liquid biopsy facility in the region, the zebra fish and a platform for drug discovery and development. This has led to achieving its position as a leader in research in medical education in UAE and the entire region with 70 percent of all papers published in medical education in the UAE coming from GMU.

Incorporating real-world applications into students’ lesson plans, using adaptive learning tools to personalize their courses, and easily accessible platforms for group learning, Gulf Medical University is known for offering stronger student support, integrated technology platforms, and structured course road maps. In parallel, the institution also offers robust technology infrastructure, such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, to overall enhance health professions education, thereby creating exceptional learning experiences for the students.

Highly qualified academicians and experienced practitioners train the students. Teaching methods include traditional lectures, group projects, individual work, practical laboratory sessions and clinical training. GMU’s emphasis on research and clinical training drives on the idea of emerging as one of the leading research-based universities in the region. The students at Gulf Medical University are given the opportunity to learn from the best faculty in classrooms, gain first-hand on-job insights at the teaching hospital of the group, develop their awareness of healthcare business operations, and enhance critical patient-management skills, such as positive inter-profession collaboration and communication.

The research-based approach to learning, early exposure to clinical cases and patients and being mentored by some of the leading professional scum-academicians gives Gulf Medical University graduates the competitive edge over the others. “Our prolific team headed by the chancellor of Gulf Medical University, Professor Hossam Hamdy, teachers and doctors ensure that students receive first-hand training at our teaching hospitals, assist in developing critical and reasoning skills that will be assets to their personal growth going forward,” adds Dr Moideen.

Moreover, the university’s Alumni Society provides support to new graduates in their career-search, through personal/career counselling, help in CV/resume preparation, empowering them for handling job interviews, preparing documents for residency programs & employment, referring to alumni who can act as mentor/adviser regarding post-graduate training. In addition, a big lot of GMU alumni are pursuing high-flying medical careers in U.S.A, U.K, Middle East countries, Canada, Australia, India, and Pakistan etc. Many of the students also enroll for higher studies, in their chosen areas of specialization. Around 22 percent of our graduates are admitted to U.S. medical schools for further training.

A University That Celebrates Diversity, Nurtures Global Ambitions

The Middle East region today has several opportunities for well-trained healthcare professionals. The healthcare sector of the region is witnessing dramatic changes in scope, expansion, and investments. In the UAE alone, Gulf Medical University and its network of pioneering teaching hospitals train around 60 percent of the medical professionals in the country.

Some of the key offerings for an international student include internationally recognized curriculum, own teaching hospitals at Ajman, Dubai, Sharjah & Fujairah established research division, innovation centre, state-of-the-art simulation dental laboratories, simulation centre/ clinical skills lab, library community health programs and clinical training at different sites across the UAE. All programs are approved and accredited by Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR), hostel & sports facilities, student cohort from over 90 Countries, most modern computerized testing centre, great career prospects, well-organized alumni network of highly placed healthcare professionals around the world and more.

Gulf Medical University’s student affairs department acts as a bridge to reflect the needs of international students to university administration. “We aim to enhance international student experience, promote cultural diversity and inclusivity in Gulf Medical University through events and service. It helps, furthermore, to involve students in the University community by providing appropriate student organizations, activities, publications, and opportunities for interaction with faculty, staff, and peers outside the classroom,” speaks Dr Moideen.

The Office of Student Affairs coordinates all matters concerning Graduate Student Council, Student Welfare, Career Guidance, Alumni Affairs, Student Health, Placement, Student Discipline, residential Halls, Transportation, Student Publication, Student Activities and Sports. Students may approach the Dean / Associate Dean – Student Affairs to resolve issues regarding student affairs and student support services.

The country’s visionary leadership has established an excellent education system. The universities attract overseas students in large numbers on account of their modern, state-of-theart infrastructure, most advanced curriculums, economic tuition fees and expenses, the futuristic/cosmopolitan image of UAE’s cities, the remarkably low crime rates, and more. With the UAE gaining precedence for its worldclass healthcare ecosystem, so has its popularity with students for health professions education. Medical tourism, too, has grown to become a significant pillar of the UAE’s healthcare strategy.

A report by Euromonitor International has forecast that the UAE’s medical tourism revenues will touch Dhs19bn by 2023, particularly with the government enabling its growth. These offerings reflect how the healthcare delivery system and subsequently the requirement for qualified healthcare professions is projected to see an upward demand.

Envisioning a World Class Future

At Thumbay Group, a world is envisioned in which the development of societies center on community focused education, health, and wellness-which are appropriate metrics of the prosperity of a country. The organization is inspired by the country’s leadership and vision who have continuously raised the bar for development across every sector and are honored to have developed alongside the country.

Going forward too, it would like to see itself delivering world-class and integrated services for the community of UAE and beyond.

Advice for Upcoming Leaders

“My best advice for anyone starting a business would be to identify a widely shared pain point that nobody else has solved and create the best solution for it. From there, you can build complementary products and services. Gulf Medical University is an example, where we started with the aim to boost education in the emirate of Ajman, get more young people to visit the place on daily basis and built multi-diversified Thumbay Group from there,” Dr Moideen concludes.

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