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Qatari high school students win WCM-Q Healing Hands essay contest

WCM-Q's Healing Hands Future Doctors Scholarship program gives Qatari high school students an early glimpse of medical education.
WCM-Q's Healing Hands Future Doctors Scholarship program gives Qatari high school students an early glimpse of medical education.

Four talented high school students have won two-week scholarship experiences in Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar’s (WCM-Q) annual Healing Hands essay competition.

Students Aisha Hassan Alabdulmalik and Moza Fahad Alkaabi of Al Bayan Independent School for Girls, Aljoud Nasser Al Darwish of Park House English School, and Reema Khater Al Bouainain of Vision International School each won the WCM-Q Doctors of the Future scholarship for being judged to have written the best 800-word essays on the implications of social media for human health and wellbeing.

Once coronavirus restrictions are lifted, the winning students will spend two weeks on an educational trip of a lifetime to the US, where they will first visit Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City to observe classes, attend lectures, visit NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and participate in supervised research projects in the university’s world-class laboratories. They will then travel to Cornell University in Ithaca, upstate New York, to experience life as a student on campus at an Ivy League college. The scholarships also provide for a family member to accompany the students on their trip.

The contest, which is run by the Office of Student Outreach and Educational Development at WCM-Q, is open to Qatari students in grades 10 and 11 and is designed to inspire young nationals to think about careers in medicine and biomedical science, as well as giving them an accurate idea of what life as a medical student is like and encouraging them to think critically about healthcare. Many previous winners of the Healing Hands contest have gone on to join WCM-Q as students.

In her essay, which was praised for being extremely well-researched, balanced and confidently argued, winning student Moza Fahad Alkaabi wrote: “Social media affects people’s well-being and health positively and negatively. The positive effects include offering social support and enabling social disclosure. However, social media can cause negative outcomes such as addiction disorder, which is characterized by escapism, mental preoccupation, and distraction from personal life. It also increases a person’s susceptibility to stress and low self- esteem.”

Noha Saleh, , director of student outreach and educational development at WCM-Q, said: “I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to the winners and my sincere plaudits to everyone who took part for writing such engaging, insightful and well-argued essays. I am sure that all of the participants will go on to have great careers in the sciences and in so doing will make important and meaningful contributions to Qatar’s national development.”

The following students received honorable mentions for their essays: Sara Nasser Alkaabi of Aljazeera Academy, Moza Mohammed Al-Tamimi of Al Ebb Secondary School for Girls, Deema Mohammad Assami of Amna Bint Waheb Independent School for Girls, and Layan Abdulla Al-Ansari and Mohammad Mansoori of Qatar Academy Doha.

Dr. Rachid Bendriss, assistant dean outreach, educational development and Foundation Program said: “Outreach programs, such as the Healing Hands Future Doctors Scholarship program, provide an early exposure to medical education as a track, which is critical in fostering an appreciation for medical careers and attracting young students to the study of medicine.”