Thousands of healthcare professionals across Qatar have taken advantage of the COVID-19 Live Webinar Series at Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q), to learn of the latest advancements in COVID therapies, helping them to treat patients and save lives.

The hugely beneficial webinars were developed at the beginning of the March lockdown to meet the clinical needs of the local healthcare community, who were battling to treat patients afflicted by the virus. WCM-Q Division of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) realised that to aid recovery, Qatar’s physicians and healthcare workers needed a trusted online source for the latest news about treatments and therapies.

WCMQ covid lecture series

With new facts, theories and discoveries about the virus being made daily across the world, it was vital for the health of patients in Qatar that doctors had the latest information. With this as their mission, the CPD team urgently assembled a huge variety of leading clinical experts and topics to keep the medical profession abreast of the latest, cutting-edge updates.

When launched, healthcare workers across Qatar rushed to register for the accredited webinar series and thousands have since attended the online lectures.

According to Dr Salman Al Jerdi, assistant professor of neurology at WCM-Q and one of the co-directors of the series, doctors fought to keep patients alive, researchers studied the novel coronavirus in laboratories and new information discovered on an almost daily basis as countries across the world entered lockdown in March.

In some instances, this information was vital for improved patient outcomes but because it was coming from discrete sources, it was a challenge for the medical community to avail itself of all the updates. So, the COVID-19 Live Webinar Series was conceived out of an idea to help keep Qatar’s medical community abreast of the rapidly changing clinical situation.

So far, there have been 33 presentations and a total of 36 speakers, including presentations by WCM-Q faculty, WCM-Q alumni, physicians from Sidra and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), and experts from foreign institutions. Each online lecture attracts over a thousand virtual attendees and since the lectures began, 22,000 healthcare professionals have participated, majority from Qatar.

The series has been tailored to information that has been specifically needed during the pandemic. Whether it related to pulmonary care or paediatrics, different aspects of the crisis have been covered to support the entire healthcare community.

WCM-Q Dean Dr Javaid Sheikh delivered a valuable lecture on the vital importance of maintaining close social relationships while keeping to physical distancing guidelines; while and Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, senior consultant in infectious diseases at HMC, discussed the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WCM-Q alumni were also invited to take part and deliver a lecture in the series. Dr Mahrukh Rizvi, Dr Karima Becetti, Dr Ghaith Abu Zeinah, Dr Mohamed Elshazly and Dr Salman Al Jerdi discussed subjects such as therapeutics for COVID-19 pneumonia, the pandemic’s impact on cardiovascular diseases, and how COVID-19 affects the brain.

A particularly high-profile lecturer Dr Howard Markel, delivered a webinar that looked at previous pandemics, ‘When Germs Travel: Coronavirus, and the Long History of Contagious Crises’.

WCM-Q Professor and the second co-director of the webinar series, Dr Thurayya Arayssi, said their mission was to inform and empower the healthcare community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an incredibly fluid and fast-moving crisis, both literally and in terms of our clinical knowledge, and the CPD team had to work incredibly fast to develop and deliver this webinar series.

Their aim, he said, has always been to provide high-quality presentations from highly credible experts discussing relevant and timely topics.

Given the popularity of the series among healthcare professionals, we hope that we played a small part in improving healthcare and clinical outcomes for COVID-19 patients in Qatar and the wider region.

The COVID-19 Live Webinar Series continues until the spring of 2021. Past presentations can be viewed online at the CPD’s online archive.

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