Four students with their eyes set on a career in medicine will soon be jetting off to the US on a two-week research experience after winning the Healing Hands Essay Contest at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q).

The annual essay competition challenges local high school students to write the best composition on a given topic. This year, the subject was ‘Lifestyle Medicine Practice in Qatar’, with students asked to write an eight-hundred-word essay with consideration of the community and explore the challenges and benefits of integrating lifestyle medicine into the Qatari healthcare system.

In all, 21 essays were successfully submitted by students from 10 different schools across Doha, including the Academic Bridge Program of Qatar Foundation. Of those students, 14 received certificates of participation and three received honourable mentions. Only four winners were chosen: Aisha Rashid Al Marri (Al Eman Independent School for Girls); Dalal Khalid Al Fadli (QF Academic Bridge Program); Dyana Hamad Alblooshi (Qatar Academy Doha); and Haya Khalid Rahimi (Newton International Academy, Barwa City).

The four, along with their chaperone, will fly off to the US, where they will spend one week gaining work experience at Weill Cornell Medicine’s world-class biomedical research laboratories in New York, as well as attend lectures with faculty and meet students. They will then move upstate to Cornell University in Ithaca where they will stay at the campus and tour the wide-ranging facilities that the Ivy League university offers.

Winner Haya Khalid Rahimi said her essay discussed consumption in Qatar and the need for balanced diets, sufficient sleep, and reduction in stress. She also talked about how the Qatari climate, particularly in summer, can demotivate people from exercising.

 I entered the competition because I want to see the Weill Cornell campus in New York and learn how the medical college system works in the US.’

Aisha Rashid Al Marri said her essay examined cardiovascular diseases and how lifestyle medicine – balanced diet, increased exercise, reduced stress, and smoking cessation – can prevent them. She said that cardiovascular disease is common in Arabic society and people need to take care of themselves to root it out.

The Healing Hands Essay Contest is held annually and is designed to encourage high school students think critically about relevant healthcare and scientific topics. Students who join the contest are most likely considering a career in medicine.

For more information about Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, visit