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WCM-Q alumnus made chief resident at elite US teaching hospital

Dr. Awab Ali Ibrahim of the Class of 2012.
Dr. Awab Ali Ibrahim of the Class of 2012.

An alumnus of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) has scored a double success by being appointed chief resident of his residency training program and winning the program’s Student Teacher Award.

Dr. Awab Ali Ibrahim, who graduated WCM-Q in 2012, was made chief resident following his successful completion of the three-year Pediatric Residency Training Program at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile, Alabama.

The position of chief resident carries great responsibility and demands not only exceptional clinical skills but also superior leadership and organizational ability. In this new position, Dr. Ibrahim will now remain at the University of South Alabama for a further year and will be leading a group of doctors on the pediatric residency program, overseeing their progress, serving as their mentor and advocate, and ensuring that the program’s high standards are met.

Dr. Ibrahim said: “I’m extremely proud and happy to have been made chief resident - it’s really an exciting start to the next phase of my career. I love my residency program, the community here in Alabama and the children we work with, so I am absolutely delighted to be staying for another year.

“We serve a lot of children who come from less privileged backgrounds and I am very pleased that I will be staying so that I can continue to try to give something back to Alabama, which has given me so much.”

Of the Student Teaching Award, Dr. Ibrahim said: “Teaching is one of my passions. I love it, it’s so rewarding and fun, so I feel very fortunate to be honored like this for doing something that brings me so much pleasure. I aim to go into academic medicine so I hope I can continue to develop as an educator.”

Originally from Sudan, Dr. Ibrahim arrived in Qatar in 1996. He hails from a medical family.

“I saw the dedication of my parents to their patients and how rewarding they found their work,” he said. “That is what attracted me initially. But after that, it was just curiosity and a need to understand things. I’m a simple person and I wanted to take all this complex information and understand it in simple terms. To me, that’s what medicine is about. Making complex things simple so that we can understand them and take action. I think that’s an important process for patients, too.”

Following his graduation, Dr. Ibrahim, a keen researcher, joined the lab of WCM-Q’s associate director of research, Dr. Khaled Machaca, where he worked on a project investigating microvilli and published a paper with Dr. Raphael Courjaret, WCM-Q’s assistant professor of research in physiology & biophysics. Dr. Ibrahim then moved to the Harvard laboratory of Dr. Alessio Fasano, one of the world’s leading experts on celiac disease research, developing an abiding interest in gastroenterology, the microbiome and the impact of diet on health.

Looking to the future, Dr. Ibrahim, hopes to take a fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology and pursue research in this field.

He added: “Obesity and diabetes are emerging as two of the biggest healthcare challenges facing children today. As such, I would like to spend a big part of the rest of my career conducting research and making innovations to improve children’s health and healthcare, with a particular focus on gastroenterology, the microbiome and the role of diet.”

Dr. Thurayya Arayssi, senior associate dean for medical education at WCM-Q, said: “Being made chief resident is an absolutely fantastic achievement and we are very proud of Dr. Ibrahim. It is extremely gratifying to see him making such a positive difference to the lives of his patients and to the young doctors he is now guiding.”