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Dubai Press Club And MBRU Seek To Boost Media Coverage Of Health Issues With Specialised Training Programme
(9 October 2023)
Initiative part of DPC’s ’Advanced Journalism Program’ aimed at enhancing professional benchmarks in Arab media

The Dubai Press Club (DPC), in partnership with the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), organised a training programme titled ‘Introduction to Health Science for Journalists’ focused on raising the capabilities of media professionals to cover healthcare-related topics. The initiative formspart of DPC’s ‘Advanced Journalism Program’ aimed at enhancing professional benchmarks in Arab media.

Representing a synergistic partnership between the media and health sectors, the initiative is part of broader efforts to integratehigh-quality specialised health coverage into mainstream media. The new programmewas aimed at makingjournalists aware of the latest healthcare issues and providing them with the tools and frameworks needed to convey information regardingpublic health crises and pandemics accurately and responsibly.

Dr. Maitha Buhumaid, Director ofthe Dubai Press Club, said: “Amidst the rapid transformations happening in the UAE and across the globe, this initiative was designed to enable journaliststo keep pace withthe emerging wave of developments in the health sector and beyond. With the rapidly evolving nature of healthcare, there is an urgent need for journalists to stay abreast of changing approaches to public health management and the vast new innovation and research in this vital sector. Guided by the vision of the UAE's leadership, we seek to work closely with various partners to raise the media’s expertise in addressing health challenges. In collaboration with MBRU, we created a set of training modules to raise journalists’ understanding of today’s healthcare landscape. Our goalis not only to enhance the depth of health coverage in the media but also inculcate a proactive mindset amongst media professionals and raise our community’s broader awareness and vigilance to deal with any future pandemics.”

Theorganisation of the ‘Introduction to Health Science for Journalists’ programme is a testament to the close partnership between the media and healthcare sectors in Dubai to enhance coverage of health issues. The various components of the programme were structured to help media report on health issues with precision and insight. Thefour-day programme held at the Dubai Press Club sought to help journalists understand contemporary medical terms, interpret health data correctly and communicate statistics effectively.

Dr. Amer Sharif, CEO of the Dubai Academic Health Corporation and President of the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU),said: “Our commitment to academic excellence and evidence-based healthcare journalism lies at the core of this programme. By equipping journalists with the essential principles of health sciences, we seek to provide them with the tools to navigate the complexities of this critical and transformative field. We extend our appreciation to all participants who joined us in this programme for recognising that it is our shared responsibility to safeguard the accuracy of healthcare reporting. We would also like to thank the Dubai Press Club for their partnership, invaluable contributions and support for the programme. Together, we can propel healthcare journalism towards a future where it plays a key role in creating a healthier, more informed society.”

Through training sessions, immersive workshops and assessments, the programme taught participants to track and analyse health-related data, especially in times of health crises. Another keyobjective of the programme was to combat the potential ripple effects of misinformationresulting froma fragmented understanding of health issues.

Building upon the previous outcomes of the ‘Advanced Journalism Program’ introduced in 2017, the latest specialised training is part of the Dubai Press Club’s commitment to raise professional standards inthe media’s coverage of diverse sectors including politics, economics, culture and science. Significant previous initiatives undertaken by DPC as part of the ‘Advanced Journalism Program’include the ‘Science Journalist Program’, organised in 2017 in collaboration with the Emirates Scientists Council and the ‘Advanced Economic Journalism’ programme heldin 2018, with the support of DP World and delivered in collaboration with global media organisations including CNN, CNBC, Reuters, Bloomberg, AFP, Sky News Arabia and Murdoch University.

‘Introduction to Health Science for Journalists’ sought to provide journalists with the wider knowledge base needed to enhance their health reportage.Apart from foundational health principles, the session covered specialised topics such as anatomy, epidemiology, healthcare systems, medical research, clinical trials and clinical ethics.

As part of efforts to further enrich their knowledge, resources and research capabilities, participants in the training programme were given a one-year membership to the Al Maktoum Medical Library at MBRU. The participants were also presented with certificates that acknowledge the proficiency they gained during the programme. 

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