Forty students from high schools across Qatar have completed the challenging Qatar Aspiring Doctors Programme (QADP), an initiative run by the Office of Student Outreach and Educational Development at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q).
The programme, which runs from October to March each year, provides rigorous tuition in the physical sciences, biology, research skills and English for academic purposes to both inspire and prepare motivated students to study medicine at WCM-Q.
Having successfully completed the programme, the 40 students from grades 10, 11 and 12 at both private and government schools were presented with certificates of achievement in an online ceremony.
Dr James Roach, associate dean for Pre-medical Education and professor of Chemistry, who delivers the physical sciences modules said: “First and foremost, it’s a recruitment programme and an effective one. The vast majority of our Qatari students in Foundation and Premed came through the QADP, but the benefits of the programme go beyond recruitment.
"QADP gives students a familiarity with WCM-Q, its personnel and its facilities, before they matriculate as students. It serves to ease that transition from high school to college. QADP’s academic content prepares students better for the rigors of a college curriculum.”
In addition to Dr Roach, the QADP curriculum is taught by Dr Rachid Bendriss, associate dean for Foundation, Student Outreach & Educational Development and associate professor of English as a Second Language, Dr Ghizlane Bendriss, lecturer, Biology, and Reya Saliba, librarian, Education and Research.
The QADP is primarily aimed at Qatari nationals. Entry to the programme is through nomination by school counsellors who put forward students who have shown academic excellence during their school years, particularly in the sciences and mathematics. Students must also have a good understanding of English and show a keen interest in pursuing a career in medicine.
The QADP is delivered alongside the students’ normal school curriculum and is customised to fit the timetables and academic requirements of each individual participant.
This year’s programme was the first since the launch of the QADP in 2015 to be delivered entirely online, owing to lockdown measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Student Reema Mohamed Ali al-Emadi from Al Maha Academy for Girls completed the QADP with honours. Speaking at the completion ceremony, she said: “This experience showed me what academic life at WCM-Q is like and gave me a better understanding of university curriculums, learning methods and tools and - most importantly – what the university expects from us. Today’s accomplishment is just the beginning for me, and I hope one day my dreams to be part of Weill Cornell will become true, but I know that a dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
Dr Rachid Bendriss added, “The QADP has been remarkably successful in recent years at attracting Qatari students to apply to join WCM-Q’s Six-Year Medical Programme or the Foundation Programme, which provides further tuition in math, the sciences and English, preparing students for the six-year course. Indeed, a good number of Qatari nationals currently enrolled in the Foundation Programme and the Six-Year Medical Programme at WCM-Q completed the QADP. That testifies to the importance of the QADP, among other outreach programmes, in attracting and retaining a talented student population at WCM-Q.”
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