The Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, in collaboration with Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery–Dubai, convened global experts on autism spectrum disorder to create comprehensive and seamless systems of care for individuals with Autism and their families. The conference was driven by the vision of Dr. Ammar Albanna, head of the Child Mental Health Center of Excellence at Al Jalila Children’s. Recognizing the lack of support infrastructure for autistic people and their families, Dr. Albanna sought to engage clinicians, researchers, allied medical professionals, and policymakers to drive change on a policy level, informed by the best practices in autism care.
The conference began with a 3-day event at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Academic Medical Center, where speakers from around the globe shared their perspectives on best practices in Autism screening, care and management. Practitioners shared regional perspectives on Autism care in the United States of America, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Bahrain, the United Kingdom, Qatar, Kuwait, and Lebanon. The conference featured a screening of a documentary film titled, “Lemonade,” which follows the life of an autistic man named Ibrahim living in Sharjah. His parents have become major advocates for autism accessibility in Dubai. Five-hundred people attended all or part of the three-day conference.
The third day of the conference, led by Drs. Sandra Willis and Ammar Albanna, convened 48 experts, including key global stakeholders, local physicians and allied professionals, and representation from the Dubai Executive Council, to prepare concrete policy measures on increased accessibility for autistic people and their families. The policies highlighted from the meeting will be published in a proceeding endorsed by both Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery-Dubai and Dubai Executive Council. The group assembled for this workshop consisted of 48 participants, representing nine countries and 16 organizations.
Number of Participants: 500
Countries Represented: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States of America.