The value of studying the Medical Humanities and the arts for healthcare professionals is now being explored in a newly launched online certificate programme at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q), under its Division of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

The six-week-long online programme emphasised that exposure to Medical Humanities helps healthcare professionals gain enhanced insight into the patient-clinician relationship and appreciate the important role narrative competence plays in medicine and self-care. Named the Certificate in Medical Humanities, the programme is believed to be the only one of its kind in the Gulf region. It will now be run on an annual basis, available each summer.

The innovative new programme is directed and delivered by English Professor Dr Krystyna Golkowska and Clinical Psychiatry Assistant Professor Dr Aicha Hind Rifai. The first instalment of the course comprised of four modules, which covered the educational goals of Medical Humanities, the role of narrative medicine in patient-centred models of care, the therapeutic value of arts and humanities in terms of the lived experiences of healthcare practitioners, and the role of the arts and humanities in patient-centred models of care. The programme also discussed the challenges of incorporating the Medical Humanities into medical education and medical practice, and the capacity of the Medical Humanities to improve physicians’ well-being and self-care.

Dr Golkowska, who teaches the first-year writing seminar on WCM-Q’s pre-medical curriculum said there is a growing appreciation and understanding that exposure to the arts and humanities helps medical professionals to develop empathy, resilience and tolerance of ambiguity, all of which are crucial in their work, particularly in their interactions with patients.

This programme provided a strong foundation of knowledge for healthcare professionals to help them understand the value of the humanities and the arts in medical education and clinical practice.

The programme employs a blended learning model in which synchronous sessions introduce the topics of the course’s four asynchronous modules that participants then complete via an online platform in their own time. During the synchronous sessions, the participants will hear from expert instructors before having the chance to engage in lively group discussions and Q&A sessions.

Throughout the course, the participants will be asked to work on a paper to present on the final day to share what they had learned from the sessions and discuss their own insights and experiential knowledge related to healthcare delivery and the Medical Humanities.

Clinical Medicine Professor and Vice Dean for Academic and Curricular Affairs, Dr Thurayya Arayssi, said that this exciting and unique new programme provides a highly effective platform for exploring and making sense of the humanistic aspects of medicine and healthcare which underpin and give meaning to the profession.

Through study and enjoyment of the Medical Humanities and the arts, healthcare professionals develop a body of knowledge and experience that helps them build stronger relationships with patients, which in turn leads to better healthcare outcomes.

The programme is accredited by the Ministry of Public Health Department of Healthcare Professions – Accreditation Section and by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). For more information, visit

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