Doha – July 26, 2023: Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) offered 89 students from 45 local and overseas high schools a chance to explore the prospect of careers in medicine and to sample life as a medical student and doctor during its two summer programs.
The programs are Qatar Medical Explorer Program (QMEP) and the Pre-College Enrichment Program (PCEP) which provide students with two weeks of intensive modelled on the actual curriculum followed by WCM-Q students. The programs are offered by WCM-Q’s Office of Student Outreach and Educational Development and are run twice per year - summer and winter.
The students, who were all aged between 15 and 17, came from different schools across Qatar, with international students travelling from Canada, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, and Jordan in order to participate.
This year, 44 grade 10 and 11 students completed QMEP, while 45 grade 11 and 12 students completed PCEP. Both programs were created to provide a broad understanding of the opportunities and challenges presented by a career as a physician to students who have a keen interest in medicine and the sciences.
The students, who have all demonstrated an aptitude for the sciences and mathematics, spent time interacting with WCM-Q’s highly qualified faculty and staff through a series of learning sessions that showcased the experiences of current WCM-Q students.
Both programs featured a series of lectures, interactive clinical skills workshops, presentations, and basic lab sessions. Classes in biology, chemistry, anatomy, disease investigation, medical research, neurology, psychiatry, cardiology, plastic surgery, artificial intelligence in medicine, patient-physician dynamics, and medical ethics were also held.
The sessions gave the college-bound students a platform to learn about writing personal statements, interview techniques, study skills, applying to a medical school, time management, and presentation skills. The students also got a glimpse of WCM-Q’s state-of-the-art Clinical Skills and Simulation Lab.
Other sessions included basic life support and first aid workshops featuring various case scenarios, and a cardiology workshop with “Harvey” – a cardiopulmonary simulation manikin, which mimicks various heart and respiratory conditions.
Both QMEP and PCEP also featured a presentation exercise in which students formed groups and researched a medical topic throughout the two weeks before presenting their findings on the final day of the program. The programs concluded with a presentation of certificates to all the participants. The closing ceremony also recognized the winners of the JO Achievement Award, Excellence Award, and Best Presentation Award. The JO Achievement Award is named after Dr. Jehan Al Rayahi and Dr. Osama Al Saied, graduates of the Class of 2008 who initiated the first Summer Explorer Program in 2008.
The participants were inspired by WCM-Q medical students Ibrahim Laswi (Class of 2024) and Ashton D Souza (Class of 2024), who helped to run the programs this year. Both had participated in the programs before joining WCM-Q.
The extremely successful programs have been offered since 2008 and have consistently attracted high-caliber candidates to WCM-Q. Many students who participate in the summer programs go on to apply to WCM-Q and many gain acceptance in each cycle of the program.
Noha Saleh, director of pre-medical administration, student outreach and educational development said: “The cohorts of students on our summer programs show enthusiasm and the desire for learning new things in science. WCM-Q presents the students with a wide range of possible career paths, encompassing many different medical specialties as well as opportunities in research and education, besides others.”
Student participant Sama Tassabehji, who is heading to grade 12, attends British School Muscat, and traveled to Qatar to take part. She said: “I feel privileged to take part in PCEP. My experience at this summer program has been excellent. I have made a lot of new friends, not just from the camp but also the students at WCM-Q too. I have learnt a lot in all aspects from the application progress to the science and medical worlds too. I have experienced things such as frog dissections that I have never done before. Thank you, WCM-Q, for providing me with such an unforgettable experience.”
Dr. Rachid Bendriss, associate dean for foundation, student outreach and educational development programs said: “It has been incredible seeing young, talented high schoolers yearning to know more about different career paths in medicine and what WCM-Q offers.”