Dr. Al-Delaimy is a multidisciplinary epidemiologist with a medical background and interest in the epidemiology of chronic diseases, tobacco, diet, and the environment. He practiced medicine in his native Iraq and then Jordan between 1991-1995 before finishing his PhD from Otago University in New Zealand in 2000. He was a Research Fellow and Research Associate at Harvard School of Public Health between 2000-2004, a scientist with the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2003, and a faculty member at UCSD since 2004 as an Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor. His global research activities are in non-communicable diseases, including mental health, climate change, tobacco, ethics and human rights, and refugee health. He is also involved in academic and research development in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Global environmental health is a focus of Al-Delaimy where he worked in the US/Mexico border area on pesticide biomarkers, and soil and water contamination as Co-director of Community Engagement Core for the UCSD Superfund Project. He introduced Climate Change to Health Sciences as part of the UCSD Strategic Initiative in 2014 (see featured video tab) which led to the hiring of new faculty in this discipline and a focus of the UCSD Institute for Public Health. Health policy and community engagement in climate change is one of his areas of focus and current interest and he co-led the highly downloaded Springer Nature e-book Health of People, Health of Planet, and Our responsibility (see websites tab for a link to the book)
He is Director of the NIH Fogarty International Center Training Program in International Research Ethics based in Jordan which is focused on building research methods capacity in Jordan the Middle East Region, with a focus on research ethics, non-communicable diseases and epidemiology. The program trained more than 120 researchers from the region as Fellows in Research Ethics and now transformed into a masters in bioethics degree, the first in the region.
He led the State-wide California Tobacco Surveys (see websites tab) 2005-2017) and now leads the California American Indian Tobacco Initiative Evaluation (see websites tab). He is internationally recognized for pioneering tobacco exposure biomarkers of toenail nicotine as well hair nicotine and utilized them for policy, behavioral change and prediction of disease outcomes. Hookah and e-cigarette use and trends is another tobacco-related area of research he has developed and published.
Research on chronic diseases and health of refugees in San Diego and Jordan has been developed by Al-Delaimy and local and international collaborators. In San Diego, an ongoing collaboration on the assessment of mental health among Iraqi refugees and Hispanic immigrants aims at understanding the prevalence and risk factors of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among mothers and their children. This work extended to the Middle East through the Global Mental Health Initiative (see websites tab)