Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) first-year medical student Azwa Dilawar presented her research on child and adolescent psychiatry services in Qatar at the World Congress of Psychiatry in Bangkok, Thailand.

Azwa Dilawar, as she presented her research on child and adolescent psychiatry services in Qatar at the World Congress of Psychiatry in Bangkok.

Dilawar travelled to Thailand to attend the 22nd annual congress of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) and presented a poster of her research project, Evolution of child and adolescent psychiatry services in Qatar.

The WPA is a global psychiatry association, representing 140 psychiatric societies in 120 countries and supporting over 250,000 psychiatrists. The research poster was co-authored by Dr Ahsan Nazeer of Sidra Medicine and WCM-Q.

Early in the medical curriculum of WCM-Q, medical students start to learn about psychiatric illnesses as part of their brain and behaviour unit. In the third year of the programme, they have a more immersive experience during the psychiatry clerkship. Students also complete a longitudinal research project spanning four years of the medical curriculum and receive mentorship in research from the WCM-Q faculty.

Mental healthcare in Qatar

The research poster notes that mental healthcare provision in Qatar has developed rapidly from the 1990s onwards. The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) established a formal collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2008. Qatar then established the Qatar National Mental Health Strategy 2013-2018.

With the inauguration of Sidra Medicine in mid-2016, the research states that new child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) opened in Qatar, including provisions of CAMHS in outpatient clinics, the emergency department, on medical floors, and inpatient settings. The poster also states that informational seminars hosted by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Sidra Medicine ambassador programmes in Qatar Foundation schools have ‘destigmatized’ mental health in the country.

Aleeza Azeem, a student at the American School of Doha, also contributed to the research.

Representing WCM-Q and Qatar

Dilawar said that being invited to present at the annual WPA congress was an honour and a privilege, as she represented her institution and the State of Qatar.

I was able to interact and exchange valuable knowledge with the world’s leading mental health professionals and learn about the diversity of the mental health services offered across various countries. Attending the conference inspired me to implement my newfound knowledge in my own community in Qatar and throughout my professional life.

She said that Qatar has done tremendous work towards the development of the country’s child and adolescent mental health services in recent years, ensuring the utmost quality of care for patients to promote the mental health and well-being of the nation.

WCM-Q Dean Dr Javaid Sheikh, a professor of psychiatry and of population health sciences, said that all of them at WCM-Q are extremely proud of Azwa for presenting her highly accomplished research at such a prestigious event. With this distinguished achievement, she has proved to be a wonderful ambassador for WCM-Q and for the State of Qatar.

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