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The rising problem of chronic diseases has been well documented and the burden from these diseases represent a major threat to human health and development. Chronic diseases such as cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (asthma), diabetes and cardiovascular diseases have been labeled as the world's leading killers by the WHO and are likely to continue rising globally.  This is no different for the United Arab Emirates where factors such as globalization, genetic, cultural and environmental variations may contribute significantly to the rise of chronic diseases locally and regionally. However, despite the alarming increase, there are gaps in our knowledge of the true burden from chronic diseases in the UAE, especially identifying those most at risk of developing diseases and specific risk factors associated with these diseases. Information on the short- and long-term consequences of chronic diseases and the effectiveness and safety of current practices is also scarce.

The role of the clinical epidemiology research group is to conduct large-scale long term research into the epidemiology of diseases (such as respiratory diseases, diabetes, cancer, mental health and periodontal diseases) and to derive population specific incidence rates and prevalence, investigate the biological, social and psychosomatic factors underlying and associated with health and lifestyle behaviors as well as identify genetic and environmental risks.