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WCM-Q’s online Covid lecture series attracts thousands of healthcare professionals

Lecturers Dr. Javaid Sheikh, Dr. Karima Becetti and Dr. Salman Al-Jerdi.
Lecturers Dr. Javaid Sheikh, Dr. Karima Becetti and Dr. Salman Al-Jerdi.

Thousands of healthcare professionals across Qatar have taken advantage of Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar’s Covid-19 Live Webinar Series to learn of the latest advancements in Covid therapies, helping them to treat patients and save lives.

The hugely beneficial webinars were developed at the beginning of the March lockdown to meet the clinical needs of the local healthcare community, who were battling to treat patients afflicted by the virus. WCM-Q’s Division of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) realised that to aid recovery, Qatar’s physicians and healthcare workers needed a trusted online source for the latest news about treatments and therapies.

With new facts, theories and discoveries about the virus being made daily across the world, it was vital for the health of patients in Qatar that doctors had the latest information. With this as their mission, the CPD team urgently assembled a huge variety of leading clinical experts and topics to keep the medical profession abreast of the latest, cutting-edge updates.

When launched, healthcare workers across Qatar rushed to register for the accredited webinar series and thousands have since attended the online lectures.

Dr. Salman Al Jerdi, assistant professor of neurology at WCM-Q and one of the series’ co-directors, said: “As countries across the world entered lockdown in March, doctors fought to keep patients alive, researchers studied the novel coronavirus in laboratories, and new information was discovered on an almost daily basis. In some instances, this information was vital for improved patient outcomes but because it was coming from discrete sources, it was a challenge for the medical community to avail itself of all the updates. So, the Covid-19 Live Webinar Series was conceived out of an idea to help keep Qatar’s medical community abreast of the rapidly changing clinical situation.”

So far there have been 33 presentations and a total of 36 speakers, including presentations by WCM-Q faculty, WCM-Q alumni, physicians from Sidra and Hamad Medical Corporation, and experts from foreign institutions. Each online lecture attracts more than a thousand virtual attendees and since the lectures began, 22,000 healthcare professionals have participated, the majority from Qatar but some from across the world.

The series has been tailored to information that has been specifically needed during the pandemic. Whether it related to pulmonary care or pediatrics, different aspects of the crisis have been covered to support the entire healthcare community.

Dr. Javaid Sheikh, dean of WCM-Q, delivered a valuable lecture on the vital importance of maintaining close social relationships while keeping to physical distancing guidelines, and  Dr. Abdullatif Al-Khal, deputy chief medical officer, director of the Department of Medical Education and senior consultant in infectious diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation, discussed the national response the Covid-19 pandemic.

The WCM-Q alumni who were invited to deliver a lecture were Drs. Mahrukh Rizvi, Karima Becetti, Ghaith Abu-Zeinah, Mohamed Elshazly and Salman Al-Jerdi. They discussed subjects including therapeutics for COVID-19 pneumonia and the pandemic’s impact on cardiovascular diseases, to how COVID-19 affects the brain.Other speakers and topics include Dr. Randi R. Diamond, assistant professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, who discussed ‘Palliative Care and Covid-19, The Weill Cornell Medicine Experience’, and Dr Evelyn C. Granieri, professor of medicine at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in the US, who spoke about the effects of Covid-19 on older patients.

A particularly high-profile recent lecturer was Dr. Howard Markel, the George E. Wantz distinguished professor of the history of medicine, director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan and member of the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Markel’s webinar looked at previous pandemics to affect the world in a lecture entitled ‘When Germs Travel: Coronavirus, and the Long History of Contagious Crises.’

Dr. Thurayya Arayssi, professor of clinical medicine and senior associate dean for medical education and continuing professional development at WCM-Q, was the second co-director of the webinar series.

Dr. Thurayya said the series’ mission was to inform and empower the healthcare community.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been an incredibly fluid and fast-moving crisis, both literally and in terms of our clinical knowledge," she said, "and the CPD team had to work incredibly fast to develop and deliver this webinar series. Our aim has always been to provide high-quality presentations from highly credible experts discussing relevant and timely topics. Given the popularity of the series among healthcare professionals, I hope we have done that and played a small part in improving healthcare and clinical outcomes for Covid-19 patients in Qatar and the wider region.”

The Covid-19 Live Webinar Series continues until the spring of 2021 and past presentations can be viewed online at CPD’s online archive.