The next generation of Qatar’s doctors have joined Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q), donning the white coat of the physician for the first time at a special event.
The 49 students were presented with the coat and their first stethoscope in front of an audience of family and friends at the White Coat Ceremony, which was held at the Hilton Hotel. The ceremony, which has become a traditional highlight of the college’s academic calendar, is a symbolic event that marks the point when students begin the four-year medical curriculum that will lead to them graduating as doctors.
Sumaya Al Maraghi was one of the students who participated, having spent the last two years on WCM-Q’s pre-medical program.
Sumaya said: “The White Coat Ceremony has been great. It is what has motivated everyone on the pre-medical program. Everyone is a little nervous about the medical curriculum but it is what we have all wanted to do for a long time so it will make the next four years very enjoyable.”
Of the new medical students, 16 are Qatari and of the total number 25 are men and 24 are women. In addition, students are travelling further and further to be here, attracted by WCM-Q’s reputation for academic and research excellence. Countries from which students have travelled include South Korea, Kuwait and Pakistan. However, Bruno Pacheco, who has joined the medical curriculum, has travelled further than most. Bruno is originally from Peru but elected to come to WCM-Q over universities and colleges closer to home.
He explained why. The 22-year-old said: “I’m very excited to be here and really looking forward to learning about the region and its culture. Being able to do so while studying a US curriculum at a very highly regarded institution is something unique. I have a really strong interest in global health issues so I value the opportunity to be here to get a very international perspective of healthcare.”
Dr. Javaid Sheikh, dean of WCM-Q, said the White Coat Ceremony was a time of real optimism and pride.
Dr. Sheikh said: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of our new students to WCM-Q. The physician’s white coat and stethoscope are recognized throughout the world and are symbolic of being a doctor. It is my honor to present them to our new students.
“Putting on the white coat for the first time is a memory that doctors carry with them throughout their lives. It is the moment when they truly begin to learn the knowledge that will allow them to heal the sick and make a difference to their community.
“These trainee doctors are Qatar’s future healers. They are part of the generation that will deliver a world-leading healthcare system for Qatar and the region.”
Dr. Ibrahim A. Janahi, chair of medical education and division chief of pediatric pulmonology at Sidra Medicine, gave the keynote speech and shared some stories from his own life as a pediatrician that highlighted the importance of values that he advised the students to acquire in their journey to become a doctor.
He said: “Today marks the first step on your lifelong, exciting voyage that is a medical career. On this journey, you will learn how to be an exemplary leader. For that you must learn the principles of leadership, ethics, knowledge acquisition, human values, communication skills, how to care for sick people and many other critical skills that you will master before you become a wonderful competent doctor.”
The ceremony also welcomed 60 students who are joining WCM-Q’s six-year medical program, which integrates two years of pre-medical training and the four-year medical curriculum. A further 17 students have joined WCM-Q’s foundation class, a one-year program intended to be a pathway to entry to the pre-medical program.
Turki Almutairi, from Kuwait, is one of those who have joined the pre-medical program.
He said: “Both my mother and my aunt are physicians and I was inspired to follow in their footsteps by their dedication to their patients. I’m also very happy to be able to study in the Middle East without having to go a long way from home, but also being in a new and exciting country.”
The White Coat Ceremony is the finale of WCM-Q’s Orientation Program, where all of the college’s new students are introduced to the faculty and staff, and learn more about the state-of-the-art facilities that are available to them.
The Class of 2022 will now spend four years training in all aspects of medicine from faculty members based in Qatar and also from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.
They will gain experience working directly with patients at WCM-Q’s clinical affiliate Hamad Medical Corporation, and they will also have the opportunity to work at NewYork Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, one of the world’s foremost university hospitals.
If successful in their training they will then receive a Cornell University medical degree.