Posted on September 18, 2017

Qatar Genome Programme (QGP) concluded its third annual summer internship recently, titled ‘Genome Interpretation: from Sequencing to Counseling’. It was attended by a group of resident physicians and nurses at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), as well as biomedical graduates and pharmacists from Qatari universities.

The two-week internship is designed to enhance the knowledge of healthcare providers with the latest genome issues related to the medical sector. The initiative aims to develop the skills of interns in genomics to help them understand the future of precision medicine, with Qatar being one of the pioneering nations in this area. The course includes an in-depth discussion on a number of issues from genome data, genomic reports, and some clinical issues related to precision medicine.

Professor Asma Al-Thani, Chair of the Qatar Genome National Committee, said: “This internship aims to support workers in various health sectors to open up to the future of precision medicine, and to demonstrate its importance in all different stages of research, analysis, and treatment options, and genetic counseling; as both genomic research and medicine will play a key role in the future of healthcare worldwide.” Dr. Said Ismail, Manager, QGP, said:  “In Qatar, we aim to create a medical community that is ready to integrate with genomic advancements, to provide optimal and specialized healthcare, based on our belief that the efforts of all medical institutions should be combined to practically apply precision medicine.”

Fifteen interns were selected through a competitive screening process, due to high demand, including resident physicians, nurses, and graduates from pharmacy and biomedical sciences faculties across Qatari universities. “It was a unique experience. The subjects and the selection of lecturers were distinctive, and the best part was our sense of mutual benefit, since each of us came from a different medical background,” said Dr. Sumaya Abdul Aziz, whose colleague Iman El-Ezzouani, a researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar, added: “The program helped me understand the future prospects of medicine.”

Another intern, Dr. Ahmed Al-Ghabawi, a resident at HMC, described his experience, saying: “I hope that all healthcare providers become aware of the applications of precision medicine, to provide better care for patients.” The interns were mentored by a group of experts in Qatar, comprising members of various national institutions, including: Dr. Said Ismail, Dr. Amal Hassan, and Raja Baji from the QGP; Dr. Wei Liu, Dr. Hakim Mabrizi, and Dr. Zafir Stavili from Sidra Medical and Research Center; Dr. Reem Al-Sulaiman, a Genetic Counselor at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research; and Dr. Mohammed Ghaly, Academic Director of the Center of Islamic Legislation and Ethics.

QGP is a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF). For more information, please visit: