A total of 19 foundation and 48 pre-medical students were officially welcomed to Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) last week in a ceremony led by the dean, Dr Javaid I Sheikh.
Parents were also in attendance at the ‘opening exercises’ event, where they watched faculty members present the new students with ceremonial pins in recognition of their new status as members of the WCMC-Q family.
Addressing the gathering, Dr Sheikh spoke of the mission of the university, its achievements and its ambitions for the future. “Our goals here are nothing less than to establish WCMC-Q as the premier medical education institution in the Mena region and we are already making good progress.
“Our vision is that by 2015 we will be a major player in preparing a skilled workforce to improve healthcare for Qatar’s population, not only by producing physicians, but also researchers in our laboratories.”
Dr Sheikh told the students that research at the university was intended to benefit the local community. “Our focus is on translating findings from the laboratory to clinical trials that lead to new treatments for cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Research must go all the way from the lab bench to the bedside.”
By participating in this mission, Dr Sheikh explained, students had the opportunity to help WCMC-Q work towards Qatar National Vision 2030, adding: “Through WCMC-Q, you can help to demonstrate that Qatar can become the first country in this region to really transform itself from a carbon-based economy to a knowledge economy.”
First-year pre-medical student Fahad al-Marri, a graduate of the WCMC-Q foundation programme, explained why he had chosen to study at the university.
“First of all, there is a deficit of doctors here in Qatar,” he said.
“But the reason I wanted to study here is that the university doesn’t just aim to fill the gap in the number of doctors, but has the ambition to produce really excellent physicians and researchers who can help to develop and deliver new treatments that ultimately save lives. That is what I want to be a part of.”
Zahra Hejji, also a first-year pre-medical student, said she would like to work in research, particularly relating to diseases like obesity and diabetes as they affect the people here in Qatar, as well as being a growing problem around the world. The ‘opening exercises’ evening was just one of a series of events organised as part of the foundation and pre-medical orientation programme which was held from August 27 to 30. Students got to know their new classmates with icebreaker activity sessions on each of the four days of the programme, and on the first day took part in a cultural night where they wore their national dress. There were also information sessions on how to get involved in student activities and about the various facilities on offer at WCMC-Q such as the distributed e-library and the Writing Skills Centre. The programme ended with a community service evening, in which donated goods were collected to give to Qatar Charity and QF workers were invited to enjoy a buffet meal, served to them by the newly enrolled students, in recognition of their efforts to make the orientation week a success.