Esteemed International Leader Dr. Javaid I. Sheikh Honored with 2024 Weill Award

Dr. Javaid I. Sheikh, dean of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, has been awarded the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Exemplary Achievement Award by Weill Cornell Medicine.

The Weill Award was established in 2018 in honor of the institution’s preeminent benefactors, Joan and Sanford I. Weill, and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Weill Cornell Medicine’s renaming. The award, which carries a $50,000 cash prize, is presented to an exceptional faculty member whose transformational work enhances health care worldwide. Dr. Sheikh, who also serves as a professor of psychiatry and population health sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine, accepted his award June 4 at a gala held in his honor.

“I’m really humbled, and honored at the same time, to receive this award,” Dr. Sheikh said.  

A world-renowned leader in global academic medicine, distinguished clinician-scientist and respected medical executive, Dr. Sheikh was recruited from Stanford University School of Medicine in 2007 as vice dean for research at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar before being elected dean in 2010. 

He has been instrumental in advancing Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar’s international reputation, having pioneered numerous innovative biomedical education and research programs. The college has now produced nearly 600 medical doctor graduates since its inaugural graduation ceremony in 2008, and its researchers have published more than 2,000 papers since 2010, with the top 20% published in the 10% most cited journals. 

guests at event

Sanford Weill, Joan Weill, Dr. Javaid Sheikh and Dr. Robert Harrington at the award event on June 4. Credit Studio Brooke.

“He is the perfect leader for the Qatar campus, and for so many reasons: He’s thoughtful. He’s careful. He’s collegial. And he’s really good at examining the many sides of an issue before making a decision,” said Dr. Robert A. Harrington, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine, at the award dinner. “He is truly an example of someone who is helping transform medicine on the world stage.”

As dean, Dr. Sheikh has spearheaded the establishment of a comprehensive research infrastructure, with core laboratories in genomics, proteomics and other cutting-edge areas. These laboratories enable Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar to perform deep molecular phenotyping of the Qatari population, along with personalized medicine approaches to diabetes and other complex diseases.            

After establishing the Institute for Population Health (IPH) at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar in 2012, Dr. Sheikh implemented wide-ranging programs to promote health and prevent disease in the country. Earlier this year, the IPH organized the first Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance Leadership Forum at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, which sought to advance lifestyle medicine principles that enhance the health and well-being of diverse populations worldwide.

With a longtime interest in the promise of artificial intelligence, Dr. Sheikh also launched an Artificial Intelligence Center for Precision Health in 2021. The center uses advanced data analytics to contribute to Qatar’s goal to become a model for promoting scientific wellness and peak functioning.          

“We established the Center for Precision Health long before ChatGPT inspired AI hype,” he said. “I’m proud of the fact that we were ahead of the curve. My passion is to bring data science and AI in service of enhancing people’s health span.”            

Cross-cultural communication with respect for local norms has been an important tenet of the institution's success, Dr. Sheikh said.        

“Once we knew we had instituted U.S. style academic processes, one of my biggest priorities was building trust by working closely with local stakeholders in the community and becoming part of this society,” he said. “We are unique as an American institution with this type of campus in this part of the world. We can keep building on it to impact the world in very positive ways.”

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