Qatar University (QU) Health has concluded the ninth round of the 'Empower Generation Consortium', it was announced Wednesday. The initiative, launched in QU in 2013, in support of Qatar National Vision 2030, aims to invest in Qatari capacities in life sciences, health sector and scientific research.
It brings together more than 11 partners in the health and educational sector. This year is considered an exceptional turning point for the programme, as it attracted for the first time non-Qatari students.
There were more than 45 virtual training sessions for three tracks offered under the umbrella of the Consortium, including: the Health track, which includes colleges of health specialties at QU, and Qatari scholars in biodiversity, genomics and precision medicine, and other partners from the health sector in the country.
The first part comprised 25 interactive training courses provided by experts, researchers and specialists in the health and research sector. The second part focused on interviewing experts and specialists, providing the students with in-depth knowledge of research courses and the nature of work in the various health tracks. There were more than 20 interviews.
The number of participants in this round reached 1,147 students from 74 schools in Qatar, 28.3% of whom were Qataris. The training was carried out by colleges of QU Health Cluster, the Biomedical Research Center, QU Library and the Academic Advising Department at QU, in co-operation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (all state schools) as well as partners in the health sector in the country.
This includes the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Interior, the Forensic Research Department, Hamad Medical Corporation, the Primary Health Care Corporation, Sidra Medicine, Qatar Al-Gannas Association, Qatar Falcon Genome Project, the Equine Veterinary Medical Center (EVMC), Qatar Biobank, while the official sponsor was Qatar Genome. The programme had two external partners: the Fractal AB Research Center for Artificial Intelligence and the Africa Flagship Project for Research.
The training took place under the guidance of the Consortium’s founder, Prof Asma al-Thani, Professor of Virology at QU's Department of Biomedical Sciences and assistant vice president for Medical and Health Sciences for Strategic Development.
"This year, circumstances have demonstrated the importance of specialising in various fields of health, whether it is academic, research or clinical. With this interest from the young generation, we look forward to a promising future in the health sector in Qatar, God willing," she said.
The content of the training was designed under the supervision of Dr Hanan Abdel-Rahim, dean of the College of Health Sciences and associate professor of Epidemiology at QU. She said: “The programme is designed to provide a real sample of all health sectors in Qatar and the academic disciplines offered in this field within QU. Since the trend was for virtual training, we wanted this year to take advantage of the opportunity to offer disciplines to school students on a more comprehensive and wider scale than ever before.
"The partners - on the campus, from the health sector in Qatar and even those outside Qatar - did not hesitate to present vital and attractive experiences for students. This co-operation directed at schools aims to educate the young generation about health specialties, and provide them with an actual sample about education fields and job opportunities and introduces them to the differences between the various disciplines in the health sector. As well, meeting specialists in the field created an opportunity for students to have all their questions answered at the end of the programme".
The closing ceremony, held virtually on November 19, was attended by nearly 200 people. Dr Hanan Abdel-Rahim and Prof Asma al-Thani spoke.
Dr Dima Darwish, head of Scientific Education Department at Qatar Genome, the representative of the official sponsor, said: “Healthcare specialties have always been very important, and these challenging times have provided tangible evidence that, around the world, we need more healthcare professionals, especially in cutting-edge disciplines such as genomics and precision medicine.
The participating schools and students were honoured with a speech from QU Health Cluster vice president and Medical College dean Prof Egon Toft who described the Empower Generation Consortium programme as a source of pride and honour for being a bridge that strengthens relationships, and combines efforts between education and work sectors in the field of health.
"High attendance in the Health Programmes witness a growing interest to pursue a career in the health care system," he added.
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