The Supreme Council of the Gulf Countries Corporation approved the establishment of the Gulf Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Al Ula, January 2021). The center is a semi-autonomous technical body of the Gulf Health Council and supervised by a council with equal representation from member states. The Gulf Center for Disease Prevention and Control is a regional public health center aimed at strengthening public health coordination, capacity building and evidence generation across the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Gulf CDC Goals
Dr Penttinen is the Chief Executive Officer for the Gulf Center for Disease Prevention and Control. Dr Penttinen is a public health leader with a distinguished career of more than 20 years in managing and leading disease prevention and control activities in multiple countries, at local, national, and international levels both in the public and private sector. Prior to his current role, Dr Penttinen lead the establishment of epidemic intelligence activities at ECDC and lead the scientific and programmatic work on the influenza and other respiratory viruses. He managed multiple public health emergencies for ECDC, including the 2009 influenza pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. His research interests include surveillance, pandemic preparedness, epidemic intelligence, surveillance of respiratory viruses and vaccines. Dr Penttinen has also worked with the national public health institutes in Finland and Sweden and advised a large privately funded public health program in Papua, Indonesia with components on primary health care, TB, HIV-STI and malaria control. Dr Penttinen studied at University of Kuopio for his MD and PhD degrees, University of Helsinki for his specialization in healthcare management and Harvard School of Public Health for his MPH. twitter @ppenttin.
Dr. Alharbi is the Director of Public Health Emergency at the Gulf CDC, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His previous 15 years of experience was on vaccine development; clinical trials; animal models; infectious disease translation research; quality and leadership; bioethics; biosafety and biosecurity. He has worked on joint international projects on One-Health for MERS. Dr. Alharbi has established and led Biosafety Office and Vaccine Development Unit; and led Quality Improvement department at KAIMRC, previously. He is a member of WHO-CEPI taskforces for MERS and COVID-19 vaccines; WHO-FAO-OIE global meetings for MERS; Saudi National Immunization Committee; Saudi National Committee on COVID-19 vaccines; and G20 Pandemic Preparedness.
Dr. Alharbi also worked in part with public and private entities on vaccine development (MEWA); localization of vaccine; ecosystem of vaccine biotechnology; research excellence; and biosafety/biosecurity. Dr. Alharbi studied BSc in Medical Microbiology (Qassim University) with a Pathology Internship (Saudi National Guard Hospital); MSc degree in Molecular Medical Microbiology (focused on HIV and HCV, from Nottingham University, UK); PhD in Clinical Medicine (focused on poxviruses as vaccine platforms, from Oxford University); postdoc fellowship on development of MERS-CoV vaccine (Oxford University). He is active in pandemic awareness and fighting “infodemic”; and he has published book chapters and research studies in the field of infectious diseases and vaccinology including animal models, BSL-3 lab, phase I clinical trials, R.C.Trials; epidemiology, and pandemic preparedness.
Dr. Al Jabri is the Director of Training and Capacity Building at the Gulf CDC. Prior to her current role she was the Director of Health Knowledge at Oman Ministry of Health. Prior to that she held different roles in Oman MOH; as section head and training specialist at the Continuing Professional Development Department; Nursing Tutor at Muscat Nursing Institute and Oman Nursing institute, where she taught Adult Health Nursing along with several support courses. She served in several committees in the ministry of health. Member of the task force in developing the CPD accreditation system at Oman Medical Specialties Board and served as first chair of the accreditation committee. Dr. Faiza Al Jabri hold a BSc and MSc in Nursing from Villanova University, Pa, USA; a PhD in Instructional Systems from Florida State University, FL, USA. Also hold Certificate in Human Performance Technology, Program Evaluation and Business Specialization from Florida State University, FL, USA.
Her areas of interest, lifelong learning; performance improvement; program evaluation, interprofessional education for healthcare providers, training and medical ethics.
Dr. Almudarra is the Director of Health Information at the Gulf CDC at Gulf Health Council since December 2021. Dr. Almudarra is also working as an acting board member of the Saudi Board of Preventive Medicine and the chairman of the Saudi Epidemiology Society, both at the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties. Dr. Almudarra has experience of over 23 years in both medical and public health fields. Before his current role, Dr. Almudarra worked as the General Supervisor of the Field Epidemiology Training Program, Assistant Agency of Preventive Health, Public Health Agency, Saudi MOH from September 2017 to November 2021. Also worked as the Chief Officer for Epidemiology, Surveillance, and Preparedness at the Saudi Public Health Authority, from April 2019 to March 2021. Dr. Almudarra was also the General Supervisor of the Public Health Operation Center and the Medical Director of the Covid19 vaccination program at the Public Health Agency, Saudi MOH from September 2020 to November 2021; where he lead the establishment, development, and operations of both the operation center and vaccination program. Dr. Almudarra received his bachelor’s degree in Medicine from the College of Medicine at King Khalid University, Abha. He obtained his post-graduate diploma in Field Epidemiology from the College of Medicine at King Saud University, Riyadh; followed by a PhD in Epidemiology and Public Health from the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, UK. Dr. Almudarra has special Interests in Cardiovascular Epidemiology, Surveillance, Disease Modeling, Emergency Preparedness, and Public Health Research and Training. He has several publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Alfawaz is the Director of Public Health Programs and Policies at the Gulf-Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Prior to her current role, she was the Chief Officer for Health Improvement and Promotion at the Saudi Public Health Authority. As well, the Director of Non-Communicable Disease affairs. Moreover, Alfawaz held different positions at the Ministry of Health, she led the Support and Development Unit at the General Directorate of Health Programs and Chronic Diseases, and the Director of Diet and Physical Activity National Program.
She has also chaired and membered different national committees related to health promotion and noncommunicable diseases. And she is the author of number of scientific papers in peer reviewed journals. Alfawaz holds a PhD in Epidemiology and Public Health from the School of Medicine at The University of Leeds, UK, a BSc, and MSc in Clinical Nutrition from King Saud University, KSA. Her area of interest is in Prevention and Health Promotion, Obesity, Lifestyle, Sleep, Metabolic Syndrome, Non-communicable diseases, and Public Health Polices