In 2000, Dr. Habibul Ahsan and several other prominent faculty members of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, established an administrative entity in Bangladesh to help facilitate the effective and efficient implementation of the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study Cohort (HEALS) as well as several other large scale studies. Later, in 2006, Dr. Ahsan was recruited to The University of Chicago and became the Louis R. Block Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Public Health Sciences. To assist Dr. Ahsan in continuing his large scale epidemiological research in Bangladesh, The University of Chicago, with the approval and cooperation from the Bangladesh government, established UChicago Research Bangladesh (URB). Dr. Ahsan continues to serve as URB’s Chief Executive Officer as he has done since its incorporation.
URB directly hires staff, conducts field studies, and occupies over 17,000 square-feet of space in a six-story building. This Araihazar-based center includes administrative offices, wet and dry laboratory facilities, freezer and equipment rooms, and field hospital resources. These activities are also supported by a well-organized country office located at Dhaka with 8,600 square-feet facilities. Over 80 staff members currently work on numerous research studies.