Posted on April 11, 2017

Twenty-eight high school students have this year completed the Qatar Aspiring Doctors Program (QADP), providing them with an insight into what life would be like as a physician.

The year-long program is run by Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q), and is designed to show promising high school students a window into life as a student at the college, as well as helping them to evaluate their career options and support their academic success at high school. A total of 35 students enrolled in the program and 28 have now completed it, receiving certificates at a special ceremony at WCM-Q. Of those 28, 27 are Qatari. The students come from a total of 16 schools, seven of which are independent and nine of which are international. Noha Saleh, director of student recruitment at WCM-Q, explained how the program works.

She said: “The QADP aims to prepare students for college and the rigors of a medical degree, as well as helping them to improve their college applications. The college’s faculty concentrate on teaching the sciences, English and research skills so as to improve the students’ readiness for the study of medicine, and to some extent this mirrors their own schools’ curriculums, so improving their chances of exam success. The QADP also has the advantage of flexibility, allowing the participants to work remotely and independently when school or family commitments demands it.”

Teaching for the QADP is by a range of WCM-Q faculty and staff, but special mention was given at the ceremony to Dr. James Roach, associate professor of chemistry, Dr. Rachid Bendriss, associate professor of English as a Second Language and assistant dean for student recruitment, outreach and foundation programs, Dr. Ghizlane Bendriss, lecturer in biology, and Reya Saliba, learning & student outreach librarian. Razan Al-Mousawi, who currently attends Qatar International School, was one of those who completed the QADP. The 18-year-old, who has applied to join WCM-Q’s six-year integrated medical program in September, said the program has been hugely beneficial and very enjoyable.

Razan said: “I had previously been on WCM-Q’s Summer Explorer Program and from that I was nominated to participate in last year’s QADP. “I wanted some insight into life at WCM-Q specifically as my parents don’t want me to travel outside Qatar. I’ve now decided that I do want to study medicine, and hopefully become a surgeon eventually. “The course itself was really good. The topics were not taught in parallel with those at school but the curriculum was practically the same and the research skills that we were taught on the QADP really helped with preparing for the Qatar High School Medical Conference that is happening later this year.” Dr. Rachid Bendriss, WCM-Q’s assistant dean for student recruitment, outreach and foundation programs, praised all those students who had completed the program.

He added: “The Qatar Aspiring Doctor’s Program is an excellent opportunity for students with an interest in medicine as a career to receive support, both with their learning but also their college applications. It also eases students into studying at WCM-Q; if they are successful in their later application to WCM-Q, they already know what we expect academically and they have had the chance to meet faculty, staff and students. “So far, the program has proved to be highly successful, and many of the students who take part in the QADP go on to apply and study at WCM-Q. Through the program we are helping to create a new generation of doctors who otherwise may not have applied to study medicine, and in doing so we are helping to build medical capacity within Qatar and the wider region.”

The 16 schools the students came from were: Michael Debakey High School, Al Wakra Secondary School for Girls, Ali Bin Jassim Mohammed Al Thani Independent School, The Gulf English School, Al Maha Academy for Girls, Qatar Academy, Al Bayan Secondary School for Girls, Amna Bint Wahab Secondary School for Girls, AlKawther Secondary Girls School, Omar bin Al Khattab Independent School, International School of London-Qatar, Tariq Bin Ziyad Independent School for Boys, The Cambridge School, Aljazeera Academy, Qatar International School and American School of Doha.