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Weill Cornell Medicine–Qatar Honors its Newest Doctors in Online Graduation

a man speaking at a podium

Weill Cornell Medicine–Qatar on May 6 celebrated the dedication and hard work of some of the world’s newest doctors as the Class of 2020 received their Cornell University medical degrees during commencement.               

The institution hosted the ceremony virtually to observe physical distancing rules for the coronavirus pandemic, but that didn’t stop the graduates’ friends and family, along with WCM-Q faculty and staff, from logging in to watch each of the new doctors receive their degrees from Dr. Javaid I. Sheikh, dean of WCM-Q.

Thirteen of the 38 graduates in the Class of 2020 are Qatari; 23 are women and 15 are men and between them they comprise 13 different nationalities. They are the first class to have completed WCM-Q's innovative six-year medical program, which comprises both pre-medical and medical curriculums.

Thanking Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Qatar Foundation, and Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, vice chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, along with the leadership of Qatar, for their ambition and leadership, Dr. Sheikh paid tribute to the graduates and told them their future work will need great self-discipline but will also bring them great fulfillment.

“Class of 2020, recent events have underlined for all of us and for you what you already knew – that medicine makes more demands on people than almost any other profession – but all of us answer this calling for a reason,” Dr. Sheikh said. “Being a doctor takes single-minded discipline and life-long dedication. While it can be extremely challenging at times, it also brings far greater fulfillment than any other profession that I can think of. You are ready now to go out and be the healers for those in need of your help; all of us wish you the very best in this most noble of endeavors.”

With this new group of graduates, WCM-Q has now produced 422 doctors, who are working in hospitals in Qatar and across the world. The latest cohort of doctors will now begin their residencies – the first stage of their medical careers – in leading hospitals in Qatar and the United States.

Student speaker and Class of 2020 graduate Dr. Fawzi Saleem Zghyer said being a doctor took more than academic excellence.

“To attend to those who suffer and are in need, you have to be more than a doctor,” he said. “You have to be a healer. And to be a healer, not only do you have to put on a white coat, but you have to know when to take it off. Listen actively, empathize, reflect and act. Make your patients your one and only priority and be their advocate. Talk to your intubated ICU patients, they may be able to hear you. Reassure but never give false hope. Be kind, be you.”

The online graduation ceremony also featured an address from Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, who said that the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the vital role that doctors and other healthcare professionals have in society.

“You are graduating at such an important and unprecedented moment in history,” Dr. Choi said. “At no other time has there been a disease that has affected so many countries around the world – on such a large scale – while we have the technology to gauge its impact, in real time. But long after this pandemic is over, you have the potential to make a real and lasting impact on medicine and science, especially in the Middle East and North Africa region.”

“Now I challenge you to use the talents and abilities you have shown us to shape the ‘new normal’ and to find novel ways to help patients,” he said. “Be bold and innovative. Think big and find creative ways to be the best doctor that you can be.”

View the full WCM-Q Commencement Flikr gallery here

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