In 2016, the Public Health Think Tank tackled the pressing issue of road traffic incidents in the UAE. As the second major cause of death in the nation, 20% of traffic incidents have been found to be caused by youth between the ages of 18 and 25. Teams worked to carefully analyse the cause of youths’ risky driving behavior, inspecting social, cultural, and infrastructural aspects. Their final proposals were presented to a panel of judges that included Dr. Johnathon P. Ehsani, Professor of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health; Dr. Abdishakur Abdulle, Associate Director of the NYU Abu Dhabi Public Health Research Center; Dr. Alexandra Dimitri, Department Head at Fatima College of Health Sciences; and Dr. Dirk Richter, Senior Adviser for Strategy at Health Authority Abu Dhabi.
The conference also featured several talks delivered by distinguished experts of the field. Guest speakers Dr. Michal Grivna, Professor at United Arab Emirates Univeristy and Dr. Johnathon P. Ehsani delivered keynotes on the issue both within the UAE and abroad, while Professor John Coughlin delivered a workshop on how to deliver an effective presentation. Saba Brelvi provided delegates with a workshop on how to devise a public health action plan.
The final presentations featured a diverse array of novel proposals, including the use of virtual reality to train young drivers for adverse weather conditions, and implementing a tracking device that would report directly to the driver’s parents. Many proposals focused on the unique situation of youth, emphasizing the need for communal engagement in the forms of peer support groups and community service. The winning proposal suggested the mandatory use of driving simulators within the process of obtaining a driver’s license, stating lack of experience as a key factor leading to road traffic incidents. Read more about PHTT 2016 here.