Around 70 high school students experienced life as medical students at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) when they took part in the college’s two Summer Enrichment Programmes organised by the Office of Student Recruitment and Outreach.
The 34 grade 10 and 11 students on the Qatar Medical Explorer Programme (QMEP) and 35 grade 11 and 12 students on the Precollege Enrichment Programme (PCEP) spent two weeks at WCM-Q taking a series of classes modelled on the real curriculum followed by WCM-Q students.
The students, aged 15-17, had the opportunity to take classes on infectious diseases, neurology, psychology, emergency medicine and cancer research, as well as lab safety, the history of medicine, DNA extraction techniques and human anatomy. They also had the chance to take a dissection class in the WCM-Q biology lab, learn about the human heart by working with Harvey – a hi-tech robotic humanoid learning aid – in the Clinical Skills Centre and visit Hamad Medical Corporation, WCM-Q’s clinical partner.
Overall, the students gained a comprehensive snapshot of what it is like to study medicine while also discovering some of the many career paths that a WCM-Q MD degree can lead to which broadly include practice in a variety of medical specialties, biomedical research, and teaching, or a combination of all three.
Other highlights of the two-week programmes included classes on animal care and use in research, an introduction to medical ethics, and a chance to meet current WCM-Q medical students and graduates for a Q&A session. The programme culminated with the students giving presentations about a medicine-related topic and taking part in an academic debate.
Participating students were drawn from 34 schools in Qatar and across the wider region. Students were selected using an application system that mimics the admissions process for the WCM-Q six-year Medical Programme. Selection is based on the candidate’s English skills, demonstrated aptitude for the sciences, their interest in pursuing medicine as a career and their academic achievements. The two programmes, QMEP and PCEP, are part of the Summer Enrichment series organised annually by the Office of Student Recruitment and Outreach at WCM-Q. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Summer Enrichment Programmes.
Dr Clare McVeigh, senior lecturer in biology, guided the visiting students through a dissection class, said: “Dissecting a frog for the first time is an excellent learning experience for prospective medical students, giving them an opportunity to develop their manual dexterity and also to apply what they know from textbooks to a real organism. The students responded extremely well and took full advantage of the learning experience.”
Tariq Nasir from Jordan and Qatari student Noor Faisal Alsayegh lauded the PCEP and QMEP programmes, respectively, and stressed their importance.