Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, which this year is celebrating its 20th anniversary, awarded Cornell University medical degrees to 42 new doctors on May 9 at the institution’s annual commencement ceremony.
The Class of 2023 comprises 23 women and 19 men from 13 countries, including 12 Qatari nationals, and brings the total of doctors educated at WCM-Q to 546 since its inaugural graduation ceremony in 2008.
President Martha E. Pollack conferred medical degrees upon the WCM-Q graduates and reminded them of their extraordinary role as doctors.
“The Hippocratic Oath demands that doctors commit to science, recognizing and always expanding the boundaries of their knowledge; and that they commit equally to the service of humanity and the joy in healing,” she said. “For 125 years, Weill Cornell Medicine has fully honored that tradition: combining world-class academics with a deep dedication to humanity. I am delighted to congratulate our 2023 Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar graduates, and to wish them long and productive careers.”
This is the first class of students to have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic across all four years of their medical education.
“Despite the stern challenges posed by the pandemic, you demonstrated determination and steely resolve to continue with your studies. You discovered the spirit of friendship, the power of teamwork and the ingenuity of new strategies to overcome incredible hurdles,” said Dr. Javaid Sheikh, dean of WCM-Q. “Your burning desire to become truly world-class doctors, to show that medicine is more than just a profession to you – that it is a calling, a dedication to the service of humanity – has been evident to all of us at WCM-Q.”
Sheikh also gave thanks to Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Qatar Foundation, and Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, vice chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, along with the leadership of Qatar, for providing support and guidance.
The new doctors will begin the next stage of their careers as they take up residency positions at leading health care institutions in Qatar and the United States, including Hamad Medical Corporation, Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Case Western/University Hospital Cleveland, University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Massachusetts General Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
“We are extraordinarily proud of the achievements of the Class of 2023, especially as they had to complete a large portion of their studies during a period of unprecedented upheaval and uncertainty,” said Dr. Thurayya Arayssi, vice dean for academic and curricular affairs at WCM-Q. “Throughout that challenging period they stayed calm and composed and showed total dedication to their studies, demonstrating many of the most essential qualities demanded of truly excellent physicians.”
Dr. Francis Lee, interim dean for Weill Cornell Medicine and interim provost for medical affairs at Cornell University, challenged the graduates to embrace service and benevolence as their guiding principles.
“The skills you have learned here at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar will serve you everywhere,” he said. “Our global society needs you in ways you have not yet imagined, and you will certainly face challenges. If you lead with service, if you consistently put those who can benefit from your knowledge, education and experience at the forefront of your decision-making, you will inevitably make this world a better place.”
Alumnus speaker Dr. Nigel Pereira, M.D. ’10, urged the new doctors to make use of the support available to them to help them meet the challenges of their future careers.
“Remember that you have three sets of families: your family of colleagues that surround you today, your WCM-Q family of mentors and, most importantly, your own family, who will always support you unconditionally,” he said. “With these words, I would not only like to congratulate all the students in the graduating Class of 2023, but would also like to welcome them as my future colleagues who will carry on the legacy of WCM-Q globally.”
The student Arabic address was given by Dr. Najla Ali Al-Eshaq, and the student English address was by Dr. Jungyoon Jung.
“Above all else, we must remember that our work is not just a job, but a calling,” Jung said. “As doctors, we have been given a unique opportunity to impact the lives of our patients in ways that few other professions can match. We will be there for patients in their times of greatest need, offering comfort, guidance and healing.”
“I stand here to witness the reaping of the harvest of long years of perseverance and diligence, during which we made tremendous strides,” Al-Eshaq said. “Those were years of great sacrifices, assiduousness, sleepless nights and working hard to achieve our dream. Now we have become like a family, supporting each other to overcome the many challenges along the path, for we are all united by one heart and one goal.”