Abu Dhabi: Twenty Emiratis have been selected by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) to participate in a health care leadership training programme sourced from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The hand-picked individuals had on Sunday begun reading toward either a master's or a doctorate degree in public health, a senior HAAD official said.

The degrees will be awarded by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, US.

"We already knew there were many talented UAE nationals providing leadership in the health care sector. However, we were impressed with the quality of applications we received for this programme and had to make tough decisions when selecting the best candidates," said Eng. Zeid Al Siksek, CEO of HAAD.

"We are confident we now have an excellent group to begin training and we are considering future training groups," he added.

Courses will be delivered in Abu Dhabi through a combination of teaching by faculty from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, training courses delivered from existing Johns Hopkins campuses - including those in Barcelona and Singapore - and learning via information technologies, such as web-based learning, as well as telephone and video conferences.

Dean of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Dr Mike Klag explained that Johns Hopkins had developed distance learning programmes over many years to meet demand around the world.

"A mix of IT equipment allows us to connect students with faculty around the world. We also recognise the importance of 'face time' and have balanced the need for sufficient time in the academic year with flexible coursework that allows busy executives to complete the full course on a part-time basis," he added.

HAAD and Johns Hopkins worked together to create a curriculum tailored to the nature of the health care sector in Abu Dhabi.