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Attracting Local Students To Medicine

The students, 90 per cent of whom were Qatari, were drawn from a number of schools across Qatar.
The students, 90 per cent of whom were Qatari, were drawn from a number of schools across Qatar.

High school students from across Qatar spent two weeks at WCM-Q learning what life as a doctor would be like as part of a strategy designed to inspire them to take up medicine.

The Qatar Medical Explorer Winter Program has been running since 2011 and gives high school students in years 9, 10, 11 and 12 the opportunity to attend WCM-Q as a student, attending lectures, experiencing healthcare lessons and having one-on-one contact with college faculty. They also get to see the world-class facilities that are available to students at WCM-Q.

This year’s program was the biggest yet, with 33 students in attendance – 90 per cent of whom were Qatari. All the students were nominated by their schools for the explorer program based on their academic scores and interest in medicine.
Noha Saleh, director of student recruitment and outreach at WCM-Q, said the scheme was a great opportunity for interested students to learn more about a career in medicine.

She said:

“The winter explorer program, like its summer counterpart, provides young people with the chance to explore the college and learn more about what the medical curriculum comprises. They have the chance to talk to faculty members about life as a doctor, but perhaps most importantly they are able to speak to our current medical students. No doubt they will explain that a medical degree is very hard work, but our students are also our greatest advocates, telling their peers of the highly rewarding nature of medicine along with the wonderful camaraderie within the college.”

The two weeks at WCM-Q included sessions about research, strategies for being accepted onto a medical degree, and time management, along with more traditional medical lectures like pharmacology and adolescent health.

WCM-Q’s Drama Club devised a play about mock interviews, which was very successful, and many of the explorer students praised Dr. Kuei Chiu Chen’s Introduction to Biology class. They also got the chance to give presentations about current medical issues such as diabetes, cancer and stroke that were judged by current medical students Zahra Rahman and Bushra Zakzouk. The winners of the best students’ presentation were Ayah Salameh from Al Aqam Academy, Lama Al-Ghamdi from Al Wakra Secondary School for Girls, Maryam Al-Thani from Al Bayan Secondary School for Girls, and Reem Hamed from Michael E. DeBakey High School-Qatar. The topic of their presentation was about the diagnosis, cure and prevention of osteoporosis.

The explorer program also offers two distinguished awards; the first is the Excellence Award that is presented to students who demonstrated excellence, leadership and motivation throughout the program. This year’s Excellence Award went to Mahdi Salah Mahdi and Reem Hamed, both from DeBakey.

The second award is the JO Achievement Award, which is named after Dr. Jehan Al Rayahi and Dr. Osama Al Saied, graduates of the Class of 2008 who initiated the first Summer Explorer Program back in 2008. The award is given to the students who show the most marked improvement during their participation in the program. The JO award went this year to Hussain Abdulali Hussein from Debakey and Maryam Al Thani from Al Bayan Secondary School for Girls.

The explorer students were drawn from a variety of schools across Qatar; in addition to the schools mentioned above, students came from the Academic Bridge Program, Al Wakra Independent School for Boys, Omar Bin Al Khattab Independent School for Boys, Qatar Academy, and Qatar Secondary School for Girls. In all, 20 of the attending students were girls and 13 were boys.

Students interested in joining any of the Summer Enrichment Programs are advised to check the WCM-Q website. Entry into these programs is through an application process that will be available online by early March.