With highly qualified doctors needed now more than ever, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) welcomed its new cohort of incoming students with a comprehensive three-day orientation program – delivered fully online this year for the first time in the institution’s history.
With measures to control the spread of the coronavirus still in place, new students logged in remotely to meet one another, interact with faculty and staff, and learn study and ITS skills designed to help them excel academically and thrive in their new environment.
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome our new cohort of students to WCM-Q to begin learning the art and science of medicine at a time when such skills are needed more than ever," said Dr. Javaid Sheikh, dean of WCM-Q. "These talented young women and men are excited to learn and to make strong contributions to the health of people in Qatar and beyond.”
The incoming cohort is truly global, comprising citizens of 19 different countries: Qatar, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, India, Iran, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Taiwan, Tunisia, the UK and the United States.
This year’s intake brings 22 new students to the college’s Foundation Program, all of whom are Qatari nationals. There are 51 new pre-medical students, 23 of whom have been promoted from last year’s Foundation Program, while 28 are new arrivals. Of the 48 new medical students, 47 were promoted after completing the two-year pre-medical curriculum at WCM-Q, with one new arrival. Combined, the two-year premedical curriculum and four-year medical curriculum form the WCM-Q integrated Six-Year Medical Program. The Foundation Program provides intensive instruction in the basic sciences, English and mathematics to prepare students for the rigors of the six-year program.
The orientation programs began with welcome addresses, followed by introductions to the curricula. Other sessions included information about academic integrity, student health and wellness services, legal issues in the practice of medicine, study skills and technology tools.
Dr. Rachid Bendriss, assistant dean for student recruitment, outreach and foundation programs, said: “Orientation is always a great experience as it marks the beginning of our academic year, with all of the energy, hope and excitement that brings. I thank all of our new students and my colleagues at WCM-Q for working hard to make this year’s orientation not only a great event, but also one that protected the health, safety and wellness of everyone who participated.”
To help the new arrivals get to know one another, there were peer discussion sessions and a chance to interact with existing students to ask about their experiences at the college.
Student Maryam Al-Quradaghi is beginning the four-year medical curriculum this semester, having previously completed both the Foundation Program and the two-year pre-medical curriculum at WCM-Q. She said: “Despite viewing the world through a screen, the excitement that we felt about the upcoming year was still there. Meeting new professors, learning more about the profession and seeing our classmates after so long made the event so enjoyable. This year's orientation was definitely something that I will remember as it heavily reflects every aspect of my future career as a doctor.”
The orientation programs, coordinated by WCM-Q’s Division of Student Affairs, are carefully designed to familiarize students with the people, curriculum and procedures at the college so they can quickly feel at home and succeed in their studies.
“Helping students orient themselves to their new lives at college has never been so important," said Dr. Thurayya Arayssi, senior associate dean for medical education and continuing professional development at WCM-Q. "I am very pleased that our first-ever, fully online orientation program proved to be extremely effective, allowing our students to begin their new lives at college with confidence and positivity. I am certain they will thrive here at WCM-Q.”
Dr. Ravinder Mamtani, vice dean for student affairs-admissions, population health, and lifestyle medicine, said: “Orientation this year was a fantastic success, thanks to the excellent can-do spirit of the participating students and the professionalism of our staff and faculty. I am most grateful to all involved for their hard work and dedication.”