Ammar Albanna

Ammar Albanna

Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and the Head of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Center of Excellence at Al Jalila Childrens Specialty Hospital, Dubai
Founding President at Emirates Society for Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Dr. Ammar Albanna is a Canadian trained Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and the Head of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Center of Excellence at Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital in Dubai. He is the founding president of the Emirates Society for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, the national representative society for this field in United Arab Emirates, under the Emirates Medical Association. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at Mohammed Bin Rashid University for Health Sciences in Dubai (MBRU).

Dr. Albanna completed his psychiatry residency and child and adolescent psychiatry training at McGill University, Canada. He then Joined the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children as a fellow in Pediatric Neuropsychiatry. Dr. Albanna is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and an international fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Albanna has peer-reviewed research publications and is a recipient of Research Grant Awards as the Principal Investigator, including the Dubai Harvard Center for Global Healthcare Delivery Research Award and from Al Jalila Foundation.  His current research focus is on neuropsychiatric disorders in the UAE including Autism Spectrum Disorder and innovative models for healthcare delivery. He is the Co-Principle Investigator for the research project that received the first cycle funding from SWARD (Sandooq Al Watan Research Award), entitled: Application of Machine Intelligence to Quantify Neuronal Pathogenicity and Phenotypic Progression for Mutations in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Dr. Albanna has received many awards for recognition of his clinical, research and educational work. He is regularly invited to present at local and international scientific meetings. Dr. Albanna is a peer reviewer for scientific medical journals and served on and chaired the scientific committee of several conferences. Dr. Albanna has chaired a global mental health conference on Autism Spectrum Disorder, and will chair the global congress of the International Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and Allied Professionals (IACAPAP) in 2022 in Dubai, following a winning bid for Dubai to host this prestigious congress.  He is a member of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Mohamed Bin Rashid University. Further, he is on the Jury committee for Princess Haya Award for Special Education, and Fatima Bint Mubarak Award for Motherhood and Childhood.



Short Description of the Lectures:

1. Autism Journey UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is witnessing remarkable advancements in a variety of domains including the healthcare sector.  Over the past few years, multiple initiatives and policies were implemented to improve the quality of lives for People With Determination (PWD) in the UAE. This included establishing services that aim to advance care for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and facilitate inclusion.  The aim of this presentation is to summarize different aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the UAE including development of services, policies, research, advocacy and education.  An overview of the healthcare system in the UAE will be provided to give context.  As case examples, an overview of the journey in establishing ASD services at Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital in Dubai, and a project to setup a comprehensive system of care for Autism Spectrum Disorder in Dubai will be presented. Furthermore, some of the challenges during this journey will be presented, highlighting solutions and opportunities that arise through a collaborative cross-agency approach.


Short Description of the Workshop:

1. Blue Cafe: Autism Parenting Workshop Part (4) Effective Autism Interventions VS Fads : Making Better Decisions

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and associated symptoms.  The increased prevalence rates of ASD over the past few decades, coupled with the significant associated societal burden of ASD, have led to a growing interest in ASD, especially, in studying treatment options for children with ASD.  These interventions include, but are not limited to pharmacological treatments, alternative medicine methods, and behavioral treatments.


However, many of these suggested interventions make their way to children with ASD and their families prior to establishing evidence and safety.   Some of the proposed treatments are sometimes associated with the harmful effects.  Further, Parents can readily access such information due to technological advances, both from reliable and non-reliable resources and often experience difficulties making treatment decisions.  It is important for health care providers and parents to understand the risks and benefits of treatment in ASD, in order to help families, make an informed treatment decision.  The purpose of this presentation is to offer a summarized evidence-based review of treatments for children with ASD. Furthermore, a summary of future treatment directions for children with ASD will be provided.