Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q) has offered 83 students the chance to learn what life as a medical student is like during its two summer explorer programmes.
Both the Qatar Medical Explorer Programme (QMEP) and Precollege Enrichment Programme (PCEP) provide students with a snapshot of what life would be like at WCM-Q by giving them the chance to take a series of classes that have been modelled on the actual curriculum followed by WCM-Q students.
The students, who were all aged between 14 and 17 years, came from a wide variety of schools across Qatar, with international students travelling from Kuwait, Jordan, the US and Canada to participate.
Depending on the programme they were on, the students took classes in infectious diseases, neurology, emergency medicine and cancer research, as well as lab safety, the history of medicine, DNA extraction techniques and human anatomy.
They also had the chance to take a dissection class in the WCM-Q biology lab, learn about the human heart by working with hi-tech robotic mannequins in the state-of-the-art Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre and visited Hamad Medical Corporation and Sidra Medicine.
Jude El Shaarawi was one of those on the QMEP stream.
Students who participated in the summer programmes of WCM-Q.
The 14-year-old, who lives in Canada but whose father works in Qatar, said she had considered a variety of careers, including teaching and the law, but settled on medicine because of the influence of her aunts and grandfather who had also studied medicine.
She said, “I’ve learned many new things as the Canadian curriculum is very different to the one taught here.
I’ve learned the names and functions of body parts and new chemistry and biology terms.
I’ve never dissected anything in my life, either, and I really enjoyed that."
Other highlights of the two-week programmes included classes on animal care and use in research, mock interviews, and a chance to get hands-on experience in the premedical labs and to use an ‘anatomage’ table – a technologically advanced electronic anatomy visualisation system.
The programme culminated with the students giving presentations on a medicine-related topic and taking part in an academic debate.
By offering sessions on presentation skills, personal development and career guidance, the programmes provided the students with ample chance to receive feedback to help them develop their soft skills, WCM-Q said in a press statement.
Maha al-Nuami (16), who attends Qatar Secondary School and was on the PCEP, said: “I applied to learn more about the university and what the requirements are to apply.
I also wanted new experiences and learned a lot; I’ve dissected a frog, which was really interesting, we visited Hamad Hospital and saw the emergency room and MRI machines, and we also visited Sidra, where I would ultimately like to work as an obstetrician and gynaecologist.”
The prospective students came from a total of 32 schools and were selected using an online application system that mimics the admissions process for WCM-Q’s Medical Programme.
Selection is based on the candidate’s English skills, demonstrated aptitude for the sciences, their interest in pursuing medicine as a career and their academic achievements.
The two programmes, QMEP and PCEP, are part of the summer enrichment series organised annually by the Office of Student Recruitment and Outreach at WCM-Q.
This year, more than 25 faculty members, staff, current students and graduates took part in delivering the two programmes.
This is also the first year that five selected students will participate in an additional one-week observership programme at Sidra Medicine.