"Cornell's place in the heart of Education City is indeed a central one, as it stands as an embodiment of excellence in medical education, research and community involvement."
Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, at the dedication of the new building of WCMC-Q
A groundbreaking project
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) offers young people an unprecedented opportunity to access a world-class medical education in the Persian Gulf region.
Cornell is the first American university ever to offer its M.D. degree outside the United States. In the context of Qatar, WCMC-Q is leading the way as the country's first medical school and coeducational higher learning institution.
The establishment of the Medical College followed the signing, on January 25, 2001, of an Agreement between Cornell University and Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, a private, not-for-profit organization set up in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar.
Cornell was only the second university to open a branch in Education City in Doha. The flagship project of Qatar Foundation, this campus has a key role in transforming Qatar into a knowledge economy for the twenty-first century.
Teaching started in the two-year Pre-medical Program in fall 2002. The Medical Program opened two years later.
WCMC-Q shares the triple mission of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, of which it is a branch: a commitment to excellence in education, patient care and research.
WCMC-Q's unique, integrated, six-year program of pre-medical and medical studies leads to the M.D. degree of Cornell University. With teaching by Cornell and Weill Cornell faculty, academic standards are consistent with those of the University and its Medical College in the U.S.
There are separate admissions processes for Pre-medical and Medical Programs, and admissions requirements are the same as those at Cornell and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
The Pre-medical Program
The Pre-medical Program consists of courses in the sciences basic to medicine; humanities, in the form of writing seminars and an introduction to medical ethics; and social science, with students following, via e-Learning technology, the Psychology 101 course taught at the Ithaca campus.
Work in the laboratory has an important place in the program, enabling pre-medical students to understand how new knowledge in science is generated and to develop their analytical and motor skills.
The Medical Program
The Medical Program replicates the curriculum taught at Weill Cornell Medical College. This highly motivational program features a variety of learning experiences, including problem-based learning in small groups, seminars, lab work and lectures.
It is an important principle of the Program that medical students begin to develop an understanding of the doctor-patient relationship from the first year. Following the signing of an Affiliation Agreement with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), a significant part of the introductory clinical courses (Medicine, Patients & Society I and II) occurs in primary healthcare centers and clinics of HMC.
The clinical clerkships in the third year, and electives in the fourth year, will take place in HMC hospitals; there are five such hospitals in the capital city, Doha, with major facilities now under construction in the new Hamad Medical City.
WCMC-Q is committed to the highest standards of patient care. The Medical College continues to work closely with HMC, building on the Affiliation Agreement signed in 2004, to educate the physicians of tomorrow in Qatar and the wider region.
Established in 1979, HMC is the state health care provider in Qatar. The Corporation manages a network of hospitals and is now undertaking a major expansion, with construction of Hamad Medical City in Doha and additional hospitals elsewhere in the country.
HMC physicians holding Weill Cornell appointments teach medical students during the Medicine, Patients and Society I and II courses, and play key roles in the Clinical Clerkships. A number of fourth year electives are offered in the Corporation's facilities.
Collaboration among clinical faculty at Weill Cornell and HMC is increasing. Experts from the Medical College in New York City present Grand Rounds and give lectures at HMC during their visits to Qatar.
In addition, leaders of Weill Cornell Medical College in the U.S. and Qatar are supporting Qatar Foundation on the implementation of the Foundation's Sidra Medical and Research Center.
This state-of-the-art, all-digital facility of approximately 380 beds will be constructed in Education City. Together, the Medical College and Hospital will form an American-style academic medical center, with clinical programs focussing on women's and children's health, residency training for the graduates of WCMC-Q and biomedical research programs that focus on diseases of concern in the region.
The future biomedical research program for WCMC-Q, now in the planning stage, will make an important contribution to building Qatar's research capacity.
Senior Weill Cornell faculty and staff will collaborate with colleagues in Qatar's National Health Authority (NHA), HMC, Qatar Foundation and Sidra Medical and Research Center in building biomedical research capacity. This will be carried out at WCMC-Q and HMC, and once the Medical and Research Center opens in 2011, it too will become a site for clinical and translational research.
Two clinical research projects were initiated in 2006, headed by faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and carried out in close collaboration with HMC consultants and WCMC-Q faculty. The Medical College is now building its research team ahead of the launch of the program.
Daniel R. Alonso, M.D., Dean, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar.