Posted on November 15, 2016

Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar has always had a friendly family atmosphere, but that has increased with the arrival of triplets onto the college’s six-year medical program.

The trio - Nada, Omar and Narjis Mhaimeed - join a host of other siblings at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) who have followed in the family footsteps to attend the college and become a doctor. The triplets’ mother was also a doctor so medicine and the desire to help others runs in the family. However, even for WCM-Q, which prides itself on the number of students who come to the college following the experiences of an older brother or sister, attracting three siblings at the same time is an achievement.

The triplets, who are 17 and were born within a minute of each other, explained why they all chose to study at WCM-Q. “This is really the best option for aspiring physicians because of the six-year program,” said Omar. “The course is centered around medicine as opposed to the US where you would have to complete an undergraduate degree first.” Nada, the eldest, added: “There is a great atmosphere and ethos at the college that really facilitates learning. You are surrounded by different people from all over the world but we all share the same goals and commitments. “As to why we all came here, we all thought that it was the best option.”

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But although the triplets may have many things in common – like their choice of career and choice of college – there are still plenty of distinctions that make them individuals. While Nada is interested in surgery and Omar is interested in sports medicine, Narjis, the youngest, is thinking of specializing in dermatology. “I had acne problems when I was young,” she said, “and I’m just very interested in the skin.” Each also has their own academic strengths so three heads really will be better than one. Narjis said: “We make a schedule and we all follow it and we help each other a lot. Plus, whoever become friends with us ends up doing the same thing. “So far Weill Cornell has been really good. The professors are always available for you and it’s a great environment for people who are focused on learning.”

Med 2 student Tarek Taha has an older brother and sister – Med 3’s Sara Taha and Med 4’s Khalid Taha - already at WCM-Q, and their mother is also a doctor. Tarek says this meant that he applied to the college and embarked on a career in medicine with his eyes wide open, knowing both the positives and the challenges. Tarek said: “Obviously I had a lot of insight into what to expect for the next few years. Everything has its positive and negative sides and I knew about the rigorous structure of the pre-medical curriculum and the pressure I would be under. I think I had a more complete picture of what to expect.”

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On the other hand, because his older siblings have been before him, Tarek has lots of support from his family, as they know how hard he has to work to succeed. He can also ask his brother and sister for advice and can see the lessons that he is currently learning being put into practice by them during their clinical rotations at Hamad Hospital. He said: “I do have a lot of support and understanding and my parents can empathize as they have seen Sara and Khalid go through the same things. I can also get help from my brother and sister in terms of asking them what I should focus on and how I should approach a particular class. I can also see the long-term reasons for what I’m studying.”

For Khalid and Fahad Al Marri, having each other at the college means there is always someone there to offer support, in addition to the faculty and staff. Khalid is due to graduate in 2018 while Fahad will earn his US-accredited MD degree in 2019. Khalid said: “Having a brother who is going through the same experiences and the same struggles means that we are able to better support each other. Sometimes he might be better at a subject and sometimes I might be better so it makes it possible to help one another if one of you is struggling. “Having your friend and brother in the same program is such a blessing, we are lucky that we are both together.”