WCM-Q Foundation Program Celebrates a Decade of Success

Press release
Published April 1st, 2018 - 06:48 GMT
Rachid Bendriss, Assistant Dean for Student Recruitment, Outreach and Foundation Programs
Rachid Bendriss, Assistant Dean for Student Recruitment, Outreach and Foundation Programs

Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q) has celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Foundation Program, designed to help students achieve success in its medical program.

The Foundation Program was launched by WCM-Q in 2007, specifically to develop the skills of those from traditional educational backgrounds who are academically gifted but may not be ready for the transition from high school to university. The program essentially acts as a bridge between high school and university for those wanting to study medicine.

On Wednesday (28 MARCH), the 10th anniversary celebration of the program was held at Hamad bin Khalifa University Student Center in front of an audience of faculty, students and staff.

Dr. Javaid Sheikh, Dean of WCM-Q, said the Foundation Program was launched to support Qatari students to succeed on the medical program and realize their full potential.

Dr. Sheikh said: “Weill Cornell Medicine is an Ivy League school and holds its students, faculty, and staff to truly world-class standards. In order to help prepare talented and motivated local students to achieve those exceptionally high standards, we went into Qatar’s high schools and identified students who were interested in careers in the health professions. We then created the conditions in which they could learn math, science and English and so be ready for the rigor of the six-year medical program.

“The program has led to more Qatari physicians graduating and so more Qatari doctors who are working in and making a very valuable contribution to the healthcare landscape of the country.”

“Through the Foundation Program we are also creating additional human capacity within the Qatari healthcare system and helping to graduate Qatari doctors who are working in – and improving – the medical landscape of their home country. They are acting as role models for the younger generation and contributing to the dissemination of best medical practice, so adding to Qatar’s ever-expanding knowledge economy.”

The Foundation Program curriculum comprises courses in physics, biology, chemistry, math and English, but the true lessons that students learn are much more fundamental.

Dr. Marco Ameduri, Associate Dean for Pre-Medical Education at WCM-Q, played a central role in the development of the curriculum.          

Dr. Ameduri, who is also Associate Professor of Physics, said: “The aim of the Foundation Program is not just about the dissemination of facts and having students learn information off by heart. We want students to become independent learners, to be curious enough to ask a question, but then to also have the necessary skills to find the answer themselves. We want to instill them with a strong work ethic and to have them become life-long learners, seeing the acquisition of knowledge as a journey.”

Dr. Rachid Bendriss, Assistant Dean for Student Recruitment, Outreach and Foundation Programs, and Associate Professor for English as a Second Language, added that the program has helped many students achieve their potential and become doctors.

Dr. Bendriss said: “When we see from someone’s application that they have real potential but are not quite ready for the Medical Program we invite them to consider joining the Foundation Program. This method has helped us to find some exceptionally gifted students over the years.

“It is very satisfying to think that we have more doctors in the world today because the Foundation Program has given them the support they needed to succeed.”        

At the anniversary celebration, which was held at HBKU Student Center, guests saw a film produced to commemorate the anniversary and heard from two alumni of the program - Eman Mosleh and Dr. Mohammed Al-Hajri - who have gone on to success in the Medical Program.          

There are currently 22 students in the 2017/18 Foundation Program, the vast majority of whom are Qatari. Razan Al-Mousawi is one of them.       

“The program is putting everything in perspective for me,” she said. “The Foundation Program helps us to understand what would be expected of us in the Medical Program and the standards we need to maintain as students of Cornell.”         

After successfully completing the Foundation Program, students are promoted to the WCM-Q Six-Year Integrated Medical Program.

Background Information

Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar

Established in 2001 as a partnership between Cornell University and Qatar Foundation, WCM-Q is part of Cornell University in Ithaca, and shares the tripartite mission of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York: A dedication to excellence in education, patient care and research.

The first medical school in Qatar and a pioneer of coeducation at university level, WCM-Q offers an integrated program of pre-medical and medical studies leading to the Cornell University M.D. degree. Teaching is by Cornell and Weill Cornell faculty, including physicians at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) who hold Weill Cornell appointments.

Enrollment has grown rapidly from 25 first year pre-medical students in fall 2002 to more than 300 students from more than 30 countries in 2018.

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