New Podcast by UAE Embassy Underscores Importance of International Cooperation to Combat COVID-19 in First Episode

May 27, 2020

Inaugural episode features a timely discussion on COVID-19 between the CEOs of the Cleveland Clinic Dr. Tom Mihaljevic and Children’s National Hospital Dr. Kurt Newman

Available on all major podcasting platforms, Podbridge features conversations that connect leaders from the US, UAE and Middle East on topics of shared interest and common values

WASHINGTON, DC (27 May 2020) – Two world-renowned health care leaders, Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Tom Mihaljevic and Children’s National Hospital CEO Dr. Kurt Newman, emphasized the importance of international cooperation and information sharing to combat COVID-19 on the inaugural episode of Podbridge, a new podcast series launched by the UAE Embassy and hosted by UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba.

During the podcast, the two health care leaders detailed the challenges associated with managing this pandemic and the gains health care practitioners have achieved in learning about the deadly virus in a short period of time. According to Dr. Mihaljevic and Dr. Newman, unprecedented international scientific collaboration and cutting-edge technological advancements are allowing the medical community to make strides to combat COVID-19 during this challenging period. They also noted that there is still much to discover about the novel coronavirus in order to devise more effective treatment strategies and vaccines.

In describing the current challenge, Dr. Mihaljevic remarked that health care professionals are “essentially using tools from the 14th century to combat a disease of the 21st century,” and that more can be done to utilize artificial intelligence, data exchange and advanced pharmaceuticals to defeat the novel coronavirus. He noted that the medical response to COVID-19 taken by the Cleveland Clinic was informed by the clinical perspectives of the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, which confronted the virus earlier this year before it was detected in the US. The Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is a state-of-the art medical facility that first opened in the UAE in 2015 where Dr. Mihaljevic previously served as CEO.

“A lot of our response in the United States to COVID-19 has been prompted by our experience in the United Arab Emirates, because we had an earlier experience with the treatment of patients in the UAE that actually helped shape our clinical perspectives here in the US,” said Dr Mihaljevic. “I believe we are now in an unprecedented phase of scientific collaboration. We communicate literally with the entire world to exchange the best possible practices.”

Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC likewise maintains a long-standing relationship with the UAE and is home to the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, a research institute aimed at making surgery more precise, less invasive, and pain free.

In commenting on the impact of COVID-19 on children, Dr. Newman said that “the notion that children aren't necessarily that affected by the virus may not be true.” He added that “I think it's too early to know. Again, a trade off question in a way, is it's so important to have kids in school and being educated, but at the same time, we need to be sure that we can deliver on that safely and until there's a vaccine - that is going to be a very, very difficult trade-off.”

Looking to the future, Dr. Newman noted “I think that the research is now beginning to catch up and you're starting to see very fast advancements of using the latest genetic tools to identify the virus. The genome was out very quickly in terms of what was identified. And there are laboratories all over the world now working on a new vaccine.”

Ambassador Al Otaiba, who hosted the first podcast episode, noted that “COVID-19 has forced our world into a standstill and my guests Dr. Tom Mihaljevic and Dr. Kurt Newman are playing leading roles in helping our communities understand and treat this disease to help our society restart again. The medical expertise and insights they share on Podbridge are invaluable. No community is spared by this pandemic and we must all work together to defeat COVID-19.”

“Podbridge allows for experts to share their insights on vital topics of mutual concern to audiences in the US, the UAE, and beyond,” Ambassador Al Otaiba added.

Podbridge is available on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcast services. For more information about Podbridge, visit and receive updates on Twitter @UAEUSAUNITED.