Center for Global Health

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Qatar: Weill Cornell in Qatar

Established in 2001 as a joint venture between Cornell University and Qatar Foundation, WCMC-Q is part of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and shares its mission of dedication to excellence in education, patient care and research. 

The first medical school in Qatar and a pioneer of coeducation at the university level, WCMC-Q offers an integrated program of pre-medical and medical studies leading to the Cornell University MD degree. It is the first time an American University has offered its MD degree overseas. Teaching is by Cornell and Weill Cornell faculty, including physicians at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) who hold Weill Cornell appointments.

Learning to examine a patient, WCMC in Qatar. (Photo taken by Martin Marion) 

Enrollment has grown rapidly, from 25 first year Pre-medical students in the fall of 2002 to over 240 students from more than 30 countries as we entered our seventh year of operation in September 2008. Covering 335,000 square feet, the WCMC-Q building provides generous accommodation and a superb environment for all the operations of the Medical College.



The Pre-medical Program at WCMC-Q comprises courses in the sciences basic to medicine and seminars in the humanities (medical ethics and writing.) The Program is delivered by a variety of methods:  lectures, small group work and sessions in the lab.  

The Medical Program replicates the highly successful curriculum at WCMC-NY.  With a variety of learning methods and early introduction to patient care, the program is strongly motivational for students.  It features:

  • Problem-based learning in small groups:  treating the student as an adult learner, developing critical thinking skills
  • Evidence-based medicine:  keeping in touch with the latest research
  • Lab sessions:  developing skills of practice and analysis
  • Lectures:  including video streaming of lectures by experts at WCMC-NY, supplemented by interactive videoconferences with them
  • Observation and experience of patient care:  attending clinics from the first year, under the guidance of HMC preceptors - a gradual, comfortable preparation for the clinical clerkships and electives at HMC hospitals in the third and fourth years
  • Objective structured clinical examinations:  using laymen and women trained to act as standardized patients, medical students learn to practice the art and science of medicine in a consistent way


Qatar Foundation and WCMC-Q have launched a major initiative to establish a world-class biomedical research program, the first of its kind in the Middle East.  

The program aims to form a bio-medical research infrastructure, developing a scientific and technical workforce for the benefit of the region at large. 

Laboratory in Qatar. Photo taken by Martin Marion.

Central to this endeavor is a partnership approach, bringing together institutions that have overlapping missions in medical education, research and healthcare. 

Specific objectives include:

  • Development of first rate, translational and clinical research projects that establish Qatar as a center of excellence with a focus on improving the health of the population
  • Development of the bio-medical research infrastructure to include laboratories, compliance and regulatory functions
  • Creation of a critical mass of research faculty in Qatar and developing a regional scientific and technical workforce
  • To draw on the strengths of existing and future organizations in the Qatar healthcare sector such as HMC and Sidra Medical and Research Center
  • To create a conduit for commercialization of discoveries through the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP)

In five years, approximately 120 people will be engaged in the program, establishing a critical mass which will give Qatar a sustainable scientific research community. These include principal investigators, post doctorates, technicians, admin staff for shared use core facilities, clinical and translational investigators and clinical research support staff. 

The program will support high quality research in the fields of genetic and molecular medicine, women's and children's health, gene therapy, stem cells, and vaccine development. Specific disease areas important in the Gulf region, namely diabetes, heart disease, and cancer will be a focus of investigation. 

Meanwhile, WCMC-Q students have opportunities to take part in biomedical investigations in Qatar, guided by faculty and funded by the Undergraduate Research Experience Program of Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF).

Patient Care

Delivering top-quality patient care is central to our mission.  We maintain close links with HMC, the premier, not-for-profit healthcare provider in the State of Qatar established by Emiri decree in 1979.  It manages five hospitals in Doha, one hospital in Al-Khor and a network of primary healthcare centers across the country.  Since its establishment, HMC has developed specialized medical facilities that offer levels of diagnosis and treatment that were previously only available overseas. HMC has also embarked on a major expansion of facilities in recent years.

In addition, the Qatar Foundation's Sidra Medical and Research center due to open in 2011, will form, together with WCMC-Q, an academic medical and research center of the highest quality. Specializing in women's and children's conditions, it will be a model of outstanding health care for the country and the region with WCMC-Q faculty and students working in it. Having a teaching hospital and medical college on one site represents one of the most ideal situations in healthcare. Joining forces with HMC, Sidra and WCMC-Q will unite in a collaborative effort providing one program in multiple institutions for the benefit of all who live in the country.

Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Global Health 402 East 67th Street, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10065 Phone: (646) 962-8140 Fax: (646) 962-0285