Faten Aqeel, a Qatari graduate from Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q), has close links to the college even before enrolling in its medical programme.
In 2011, Aqeel was named the winner of ‘Healing Hands’, an annual competition that aims to inspire Qatari high school students to follow a career in medicine. As a result, she received a scholarship to travel to New York City for two weeks, and took advantage of the opportunities in clinical medicine and medical research at Weill Cornell Medicine.
Healing Hands introduced me to a variety of areas in the field of medicine. In two weeks, I learned basic research methodology and shadowed physicians in their clinics, witnessing their compassion to treat and educate patients. After winning the competition, I realised that a career in medicine would be a perfect fit for me.’
Aqeel strongly believes in the importance of spreading awareness to encourage the community to adopt a healthy lifestyle. During her time at WCM-Q, Aqeel participated in several local and international volunteer activities and awareness campaigns organised by the college, including ‘Medicine Unlimited’.
Some of my favourite memories came from volunteering in underserved communities, such as Costa Rica and Tanzania. These were truly eye-opening experiences that enabled me to actually see and learn about common medical issues, such as diabetes and hypertension.’
According to Aqeel, the overseas experiences helped her fulfil her goal of helping improve the quality of life in communities that are deprived of medical utilities and services. She developed strong friendships with people from different cultures, and she said she will cherish the memories forever.
Aqeel visited Weill Cornell Medicine in New York when she was a first-year medical student, for two months of intense research, and another four months to participate in the delivery of healthcare to patients at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Through my experiences at WCM in New York, I realised that interacting with professionals in a hospital environment, working on complicated cases, and considering different treatment options were the reasons behind my decision to pursue a career in Internal Medicine.’
In July this year, Aqeel will start her Internal Medicine residency at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Medical Centre in the US. Aqeel believes that the healthcare system in Qatar is moving in the right direction, given the fact that it has achieved many medical accomplishments within a very short period of time. In the future, following her training at the VCU Medical Centre, Aqeel plans to work in Qatar’s healthcare sector.