Posted on April 04, 2015

The admission process for the first batch of students at Qatar University’s College of Medicine (QU-CMED) began on March 1, and the College is seeking to enroll 50 students in the first academic year. Many students have already applied following various outreach activities by the college to engage prospective students and their parents. This marks another phase in the College’s progress since its establishment in October last year.

The need for Qatar-trained physicians and medical professionals was highlighted by Qatar’s Minister of Public Health H.E. Abdullah Al-Qahtani as one of the key challenges in advancing the healthcare sector in Qatar, in line with the human development pillar of the country’s National Vision. He said: “As we prepare to welcome the first cohort of students by September 2015, I would like to assert the Ministry of Health’s commitment to supporting and encouraging Qatari students admitted to the college in any way possible, including providing full student sponsorship with monthly salaries from their first year at the College and throughout their education.”

QU President Prof Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad had announced earlier this week that the university has accomplished a host of timelines that demonstrate its readiness to welcome the first batch of QU’s future doctors this Fall. 

Vice President for Medical Education and Dean of the College of Medicine Dr Egon Toft noted that since its inception, the College has organized a myriad of activities to attract high-school students through several online campaigns, schools visits, and participation in career fairs on and off campus. The College also recently organized an orientation event hosting 200 prospective students and their parents to learn more about the College, its program and curriculum, and to articulate their expectations and concerns.

Dr Toft also referred to QU’s recent initiative of early conditional admission to attract applications to undergraduate programs from high-achieving secondary school students. “We are very optimistic of the results of this initiative, as it will contribute to attracting highly-competitive students eager to pursue the high-quality MD 6-year program that CMED offers.” he said.

A recent CMED Steering Committee meeting showcased the level of progress made -- the physical building is on schedule, College leaders and faculty members have been recruited, student applicant numbers exceeded expectations (over 500 to date and growing), and the study plan and curriculum are being finalized. Outreach activities have been successful, engaging a wide spectrum of the society and engendering positive public and media interest. 

Additionally, a number of partnerships are underway which include healthcare providers in Qatar such as Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) and Sidra Medical and Research Center (Sidra), as well as international academic partners such as the medical schools at Johns Hopkins University, Maastricht University and Groningen University. 

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In the meeting of the College’s International Advisory Board last Sunday, experts and leaders of established medical schools also highlighted the progress and contributed opinions on developments. Member of the Board Prof Charles Wiener (Johns Hopkins University), said: “I have seen first-hand the remarkable progress towards establishing an outstanding world-class medical school. From its initial conception to address national needs for quality health care professionals, the university and the founding team have adhered to the mission statement to develop a high-quality medical curriculum, build excellent facilities, and recruit an outstanding academic and administrative staff. I am confident that CMED will recruit high-quality students who will benefit from an active learning curriculum and supportive mentorship. I think the College is well on its way to meeting or exceeding international standards and contributing to improving the health of Qatar and the world.”

Prof Al-Misnad said: “We are pleased to have guidance and support from current and former leaders and members from international medical schools.”

The College International Advisory Board includes current and former leaders of medical schools at Stanford University, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, University of Heidelberg, American University of Beirut, University of Sharjah and leading agencies such as the US Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), among others. At the steering committee level, the College engages national leaders in healthcare and education, including the PHCC and HMC Managing Directors and several key HMC members such as the Chief of Scientific, Faculty and Academic Affairs, Deputy Chief of Medical Education, Head of Trauma and Vascular Surgery, and others.

On this mix of local and international expertise Prof Al-Misnad said: “Input from both local and international experts ensures that while the needs of the local healthcare sector are our priority, international best practice is a key guiding element in how these needs can be met.”

CMED Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Ms Ghada Al-Kuwari said: “We are pleased to know that many students have applied already to join the first national College of Medicine in Qatar. CMED students will be engaged in a vibrant curriculum, problem-based and team-based learning, and collaborative research activities that will prepare them as the first cadre of medical professionals trained in Qatar and who will be the next leaders in advancing quality healthcare in Qatar in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.”

A noteworthy development in the College’s progress is the adoption of the most current student-centered approaches in problem-based, research-based and team-based learning. A workshop on latest trends in such methods in medical education was offered to members of various colleges and healthcare providers in Qatar last week. This will contribute to ensuring the success of the College’s competency-based curriculum which is a blend of these techniques with traditional teaching methods.