Qatar invests in medical brain gain

Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar inspires next generation of physicians with overseas medical doctorate degree – the first US University to do so

Qatar is beginning to reap the benefits from attracting regional and international students to study for an overseas medical doctorate degree at first class educational institutions such as Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar. (WCMC-Q)

Fouad Otaki, a fourth year medical student at WCMC-Q, suitably attired in white coat complete with stethoscope and looking every inch the ‘young doctor in training’, was ‘guest of honour’ at the Qatar pavilion last week, during the Arab Health exhibition in Dubai.

Otaki chose Qatar and WCMC-Q in particular because it offers the Cornell medical doctorate degree course, the first US University to do so and Otaki is not alone. It is worth noting that WCMC-Q now attracts medical students from all over the region and internationally, even one from the US.

“The course is the same and the qualification is the exactly the same. The added benefit for many students including me is that we don’t have to travel to the US, we can study right here in Qatar, closer to our families. Qatar is gaining a reputation as one of the most dynamic healthcare hubs in the region,” said Otaki.

Otaki has been impressed by the commitment that Qatar has shown towards developing its healthcare sector and in education. However, the intense diversity of Qatar’s population also intrigues him.

Otaki explained, “One minute I can be examining a Qatari national, the next a European expatriate and the next an Asian labourer.” The medical conditions he confronts are also equally diverse, ranging from obesity to diabetes and stress disorders. “I am also attending to patients with Tuberculosis, Malaria and even the rare genetic disorder MEN. Where else in the world could I gain such valuable experience?”

Rich in gas reserves, Qatar is investing heavily in future generations of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and health scientists recruited regionally to deliver a knowledge-based economy for the long term. This has been evident in a number of regional firsts including a centre for robotic surgery as well as a biomedical research programme developing research capacity whilst focusing on diseases specific to the area such as diabetes, heart disorders and cancers.

The 24 year old Undergraduate, a Syrian national with US passport has lived and studied in US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Syria, Lebanon, UK, and now Qatar. His main interest is in internal medicine/gastroenterology and he has completed clinical electives at the University of Michigan and at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Eager to conduct his own research, Otaki remarked, “One of my hobbies is photography and I am keen to explore how photographic processes can be adapted and integrated for screening processes. I admire pioneering Arab doctors who return to the region from positions overseas and give something back to the region – ultimately that is my ambition,” he said.

Source: Al Bawaba

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