Posted on November 11, 2014

Following the approval of the plan for the new College of Medicine by the Board of Regents at Qatar University (QU) during its meeting on October 30, Qatar University announced the key highlights of these plans covering broad areas such as student enrolment, program design, and new appointments.

The university confirmed that admission to the College will be open for the academic year 2015-2016, with courses beginning in Fall 2015.  The College will seek to enroll up to 50 students in its first academic year.  Efforts will be made to attract Qatari students to pursue careers in medicine with support for enrolling long-term expatriates as well.

The College will offer a 6-year program, which leads to a Doctor of Medicine degree (MD). The study program will be student-centered and delivered through a problem-based learning approach. The program will combine coursework and clinical learning, and students will be working with patients in a clinical setting from the first year while medical sciences coursework will extend throughout the course of the study in an integrated way. Clinical teaching will be arranged in cooperation with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) as well as other leaders in the healthcare sector in Qatar. The program will also benefit from collaboration opportunities with important partner programs within QU such as pharmacy, biomedical sciences, nutrition and public health.

The program will be available to both male and female students. Students will attend general courses in other colleges -- such as biomedical sciences, chemistry and others-- in a gender-segregated environment, while specialized courses and clinical teaching will be offered jointly. The design of the new college will emphasize societal values by providing gender-segregated leisure facilities. The College will also provide a guidance program to advise students and unlock their potential to succeed in a stimulating and supportive environment. 

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During the meeting, the Board also approved the College’s organizational structure, its budget, and the appointment of Dr Egon Toft as Vice President for Medicine and Health and Dean of the College. “The establishment of the College addresses the need for Qatar-trained physicians and medical professionals and will make invaluable contributions to strengthening the healthcare and education sectors in Qatar overall”, Dr Toft said. “Communication and interactive programs will be implemented with schools in Qatar with the aim to encourage students – in particular, Qatari students -- to pursue a career in medicine.”

As with other QU programs, focus will be on providing a quality education and expecting students to meet an international standard of attainment. Dr Abdulatif Al Khal member of the College’s Steering Committee and HMC Deputy Chief of Staff for Graduate Medical Education said, “The College aims to attract highly-competitive students and outstanding local and international academics. The classes will be limited in number and highly-focused on delivering a high-quality education, leveraging the most advanced learning systems. Students need to achieve a high standard that allows them to meet the requirements for moving smoothly in their undergraduate studies and onto residency or fellowship programs at HMC and other healthcare systems in Qatar and abroad in order to prepare them for their professional lives as highly-competent and independent physicians.”

Also commenting on the subject, Dr Asmaa Al Thani a member of the Steering Committee, Head of the Department of Health Sciences at QU College of Arts and Sciences and Director of the organization’s Biomedical Research Center said, “Our aim is to create a sustainable source of highly-qualified physicians to serve the needs of the Qatari healthcare system. We need to attract more Qatari students to pursue careers in medicine, and also to support long-term expatriates interested in pursuing the profession, in order to contribute to the rising demand for locally-rooted family physicians. This will not happen overnight but an important first step has been taken and I am confident that Qatar University has what it takes to make this promising project a great success.”

The second phase of the implementation plan for the college begins immediately where new members will join the Steering Committee including leaders and experts from QU, HMC and PHCC, in addition to a new member from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in the US being appointed to the College’s international advisory board.