Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar awarded Cornell University medical degrees to 41 new doctors on May 11 during the college’s first graduation ceremony held in person since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s 41 graduates—comprising 23 men and 18 women—brings the total number of new physicians educated by WCM-Q to 504 since its first graduation ceremony in 2008. The Class of 2022, the college’s 15th graduating class, also represents 16 nationalities; 12 students are Qatari nationals.
During the ceremony, Dr. Javaid Sheikh, dean of WCM-Q, congratulated the students and praised their resilience, as they completed the final two years of their medical training under lockdown conditions as Qatar navigated the pandemic.
“Your tenacity in completing and excelling in an extremely rigorous course of study under the most difficult and unusual of circumstances is a truly impressive and remarkable achievement,” Dr. Sheikh said. “You have not only shown total dedication to your studies and the patients you have served during your training, but you have also rallied around one another, defying the isolation of lockdown to support each other in the most commendable and inspiring way.”
Dr. Sheikh also gave thanks to 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 vision, guidance and ongoing support for WCM-Q.
The graduates will now begin the next stage of their careers as they take up residency positions at leading healthcare institutions in Qatar and the United States, including Hamad Medical Corporation, Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Case Western/University Hospital Cleveland, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, among others.
“Class of 2022, today we celebrate your questing spirit, your unity as a group, your incredible resolve and patience, and – above all – the way you have applied your wonderful talents to the science of medicine and the art of healing,” said Dr. Thurayya Arayssi, vice dean for academic and curricular affairs. “We all look forward to seeing you go on to excel in your careers as physicians, scientists and leaders working to enhance the health of every member of the community.”
Student speakers and graduates Dr. Nasser Al-Kuwari and Dr. Dana Al-Ali reflected on this important educational milestone and the intrinsic duty that comes with being a physician.
“Since starting my journey at WCM-Q in 2015, I’ve imagined this moment every day,” Dr. Al-Kuwari said. “I’ve waited for the moment to assume the responsibility of serving the community as a doctor and as a leader concerned with the health and support of his community members as they go through difficult times in their illness.”
“Today marks the end of a momentous chapter but also the start of the rest of our lives,” Dr. Al-Ali said. “Today marks the beginning of the responsibility that has been bestowed upon us towards our patients, our families, our communities, our educators and our learners.”
That responsibility is as much about providing exemplary health care as it is about making a difference in patients’ lives.
“As graduates of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, you’ve seen firsthand how medicine and research can improve quality of life,” said Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. “I challenge you to be advocates for better health care, for health equity worldwide, and for science and the pursuit of knowledge. The impact you have extends far beyond yourselves, and you have the power to improve the communities and organizations around you. Commit to being the best doctor you can be.”
Commencement keynote speaker Dr. Mohammed Al-Nufal understands what this moment means for the graduates in the Class of 2022; it was just a decade ago when he graduated from WCM-Q. Now a physician at North Florida Pediatrics, Dr. Al-Nufal imparted on this year’s graduates some lessons he learned throughout this training.
“Making it to this point is not the end of a journey, but a door to a path full of excitement, knowledge and serving others,” he said. “You were put on this earth for a reason, which is to ease the suffering of others, so go fulfill your destiny. Go save some lives.”