Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) has moved to an online admissions process in order to continue to recruit talented future doctors from across Qatar and all over the world during the global coronavirus lockdown.

With applicants to the elite medical college unable to travel to Qatar, the face-to-face on-campus interviews that normally form an integral part of the admissions process could no longer take place. Senior faculty, admissions professionals and ITS specialists at WCM-Q quickly moved to set up a process where selected applicants could be interviewed remotely using a video conferencing software. WCM-Q is a partner university of Qatar Foundation.

To comply with public health guidelines, WCM-Q decided that candidates who live in Qatar can also take their interviews via video conference, the same way as candidates from abroad.

Dr Ravinder Mamtani, Dr Marco Ameduri and Farhan Aziz
(From left) Dr Ravinder Mamtani, Dr Marco Ameduri and Farhan Aziz

Dr Ravinder Mamtani, WCM-Q professor of healthcare policy and research, professor of medicine and vice dean for student affairs-admissions, population health, and lifestyle medicine, oversaw the transition to online interviews. He said that given the current global coronavirus crisis, recruiting medical students has never been so important.

We were determined that there must be no disruption whatsoever to our admissions procedure. We also had to ensure that the process remained comparable to the normal one.

He added that he is extremely proud of his colleagues for managing the transition with minimum ‘upheaval’. Thanks to their dedication, the admissions procedure has continued without a hitch.

We fully expect to recruit a new class of extremely talented young men and women from all over the world to begin classes when the crisis has abated.

WCM-Q recruits students from all over Qatar and across the globe to its Six-Year Medical Program, Four-Year Medical Curriculum and Foundation Program. To apply, students must submit an online application and the required documents following the deadlines indicated on the WCM-Q admissions website.

Applicants are then invited for an interview, with the final decision on admission made by a committee of senior WCM-Q faculty, WCM-Q students, and a representative of the Ministry of Public Health, who convene via video conference. Participants report that the virtual, online process of conducting admissions meetings has been working very well.

According to Farhan Aziz, director of admissions at WCM-Q, they have been pleasantly surprised by how smoothly they were able to make the transition to online interviews.

Candidates selected for interviews understand the change to online, and some of them were relieved not to have the stress of travel during the COVID-19 outbreak. Aziz added that the most important aspect is that connectivity or technical issues with the online interviews did not pose any difficulties – the interviews have gone well and the quality of modern video conferencing technology allowed them a good glimpse of each applicant’s attributes.

Students who complete the WCM-Q Medical Program receive the same MD degree as their counterparts at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. Graduates of WCM-Q go on to secure places in residency training programmes at elite academic health centres in Qatar and the US. Many of them opt to work in Qatar to serve the health needs of the community after they have completed their residency programmes.

Dr Marco Ameduri, WCM-Q, senior associate dean for premedical education and Education City collaborative curricular affairs, said they are all very appreciative of the enthusiasm with which the applicants have embraced the online interviews.

For more information about the WCM-Q medical programmes, visit qatar-weill.cornell.edu.