Posted on November 26, 2018

Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q) has held its first Lifestyle Medicine Week to reinforce messages about leading healthy lives among Education City (EC) staff, faculty and students.

The week-long event was organized by WCM-Q’s Institute for Population Health, and featured workshops and demonstrations designed to improve EC community members’ health and remind them of the need to make good lifestyle choices. The event began with the Walk for Life in Qatar Foundation’s Oxygen Park, which was attended by EC staff, faculty and students as well as their friends and families.

The week continued with cookery demonstrations by Jens Heier (pictured), executive chef at the Millennium Hotel, Doha, who made Vietnamese chicken salad and sea bass with cucumber and dill, among other dishes, before an appreciative audience. Russell Clarke who works in Information Technology Services at the college, said the recipes were quick, healthy and most importantly, tasted great. He said: “It was really impressive watching Jens cook the meals so quickly. I’m not sure I would be as quick but the demonstration really made you think about the food that you eat and how you can improve your diet with just a few tweaks.”

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Other events included ‘Get Connected’, a seminar on building and maintaining good relationships with others, which was presented by Sobia Rahman, psychologist and learning support specialist at WCM-Q; and ‘Quiet your busy mind and body’ presented by Jacki Woodworth, learning facilitator and mindfulness teacher with Qatar Development and Consultancy Centre, who provided attendees with ideas of how to build healthy habits that promote improved health and wellness. The final day of the week saw the Tobacco Control Center at Hamad Medical Corporation visit WCM-Q to deliver messages and techniques for stopping smoking to those who use cigarettes and shisha, and also to their friends and families via pamphlets and advice groups.

Dr. Sohaila Cheema, director of the Institute for Population Health, said it had been a fascinating week. She said: “I’d like to thank everyone who attended the various activities hosted during the week. I think everyone has picked up tips and ideas for improving their health and wellness in small but significant ways and we will look at hosting the week again next year.” Dr. Ravinder Mamtani, professor of healthcare policy and research and senior associate dean for population health, said the aim of the Lifestyle Medicine Week was to make people consciously think about their health and consider ways in which it could be improved.

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Dr. Mamtani said: “Non-communicable diseases are the biggest causes of premature deaths in the world today. These chronic diseases, examples of which include heart disease, strokes and diabetes can all - for the most part - be prevented or in some cases even reversed by eating healthily, taking regular exercise and curtailing known health risks like smoking cigarettes and shisha. “Although all EC employees work in institutions for higher education, we all at some time or another fall into bad habits, so this week was a chance to remind everyone of how they can improve their health.”

The Lifestyle Medicine Week followed the inaugural meeting of the recently established Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group- Middle East (LMIG-ME), which was convened at WCM-Q in late September. The meeting drew a large number of healthcare professionals as participants and also saw delegates attend virtually via an online video-link. The meeting was hosted by Dr. Cheema and Dr. Mamtani and featured a discussion of the aims and strategies of LMIG-ME, followed by an interactive Q&A session. The Institute for Population Health is planning to host its first Lifestyle Medicine Symposium in February 2019.