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WCM-Q alumnus scoops Intern of the Year award

Dr. Ayman Jurdi (right), with Richard Dr. Leiter, the chief medical resident at NewYork-Presbyterian.
Dr. Ayman Jurdi (right), with Richard Dr. Leiter, the chief medical resident at NewYork-Presbyterian.

Class of 2015 WCM-Q graduate Dr. Ayman Al-Jurdi has been named Intern of the Year of his internal medicine residency program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Dr. Al-Jurdi, who is moving into the second year of the residency program, was awarded the prize in recognition of his knowledge, mastery of the program material, and his dedication to his patients and the medical students he teaches.

Impressively, Dr. Al-Jurdi, aged 24, was chosen for the award from a cohort of approximately 50 residents.

Speaking from his new home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, just across the street from NewYork Presbyterian, Dr. Al-Jurdi said:

“I was very happy and surprised to win. To me, it was a really nice and unexpected reward for a year of hard work in terms of patient care, medical education for my students, and working on my research. But winning this prize was really only possible because of all the support I received from the program, my family and my friends, and the excellent education I received back in Qatar.”

Ayman, who has Lebanese heritage, was born and raised in Qatar. He completed the two-year premedical program and the four-year medical program at WCM-Q, during which time he distinguished himself as a highly able student and a talented researcher. His education at WCM-Q, coupled with hard work, earned him a coveted place on the Weill Cornell Medical Center internal medicine residency program, competition for which is fierce.

Explaining his interest in internal medicine, Ayman said:

“Internal medicine is a very cerebral field - it’s all about critical thinking and complex diagnosis and complex management, so it’s more of a thinking than a procedural field and that’s what attracted me to it. It’s very diverse and gives you opportunities to pursue careers in education, and in clinical care with several sub-specialties that you can go into.”

Ayman has a passion for the laboratory and spent last year focusing on gastroenterology research.

“This year I’m focusing more on nephrology, so I’m really still exploring what I want to specialize in,” he said. “Fortunately, we get a lot of support here. It has been great: the education is excellent and they have very advanced technologies and some really state-of-the-art facilities."

He is also enjoying the diversity of his new environment and the learning opportunities it affords him. He explained:

“Life here is very interesting because we all have different backgrounds, different cultures. There are lots of students and residents here from all over the world: I work with people from Colombia, Mexico, Kuwait – many, many different countries. And of course with people from all different parts of the US, from the West Coast, from the South, from Puerto Rico – from all over. So you learn a lot about different cultures. You also get to explore different kinds of food through meeting these people, which is great fun.

It also gives you a global perspective about healthcare because medicine in different parts of the world is very different in terms of the diseases that are more prevalent and the way patient care is delivered. So you get to learn a lot from everyone’s different experiences.”

Although moving away from his family in Qatar took a little while to get used to, he is still surrounded by plenty of familiar faces: two of Ayman’s fellow Class of 2015 graduates – Dr. Tariq Chukir and Dr. Supriya Geradine – are in his class on the internal medicine residency program. He said:

“In fact, there are lots of us flying the flag for WCM-Q here. There are two or three WCM-Q students in almost every class of the IM program, so I still feel a connection to Qatar and WCM-Q.” He added: “I feel like we were very well prepared at WCM-Q for the challenges of the residency program. The medical education we received was excellent and the faculty based in Qatar and the visiting faculty from New York, plus the faculty from Hamad Hospital, they all had such high expectations of us and they challenged us to reach and exceed them, so when we came we were very able to adjust to the new system and do well.”

During his six years at WCM-Q, Ayman was particularly inspired and encouraged by his research mentor, Dr. Naim Haddad, WCM-Q’s associate professor of clinical neurology. He said:

“Dr. Haddad was a great role model. Not only did he integrate me into clinical research but he also showed me what it was like to be a clinician, a researcher and an educator. To be able to combine those roles is important for me because they are all rewarding in different ways. I feel like I will have a truly fulfilling career if I can reach my potential in each of these roles.”

When not busy at the hospital, Ayman enjoys exploring New York and its many different cuisines with his friends.

“I spend a lot of my free time with Tariq and Supriya and there is never a shortage of things to do or different types of food to try,” he said. “This year has been incredibly rewarding in so many ways, and winning this award is a great bonus.

I am really grateful to everyone who supported me and made this possible.”