The Class of 2023 of Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q) donned the white coat and stethoscope for the first time during the ‘White Coat Ceremony’ witnessed by faculty, family and friends.

In total, 40 students are starting the four-year medical curriculum, eight of whom are Qatari, and the white coat is symbolic of the humanity, perseverance and academic excellence that they will need as a physician.

The students will now follow the same curriculum as that operated in Weill Cornell Medicine – New York, which will be taught by both faculty in Qatar and in New York via video link. As they become more experienced, they will begin training in partner institutions and will also have the opportunity to work under the guidance of experienced doctors at the New York – Presbyterian Hospital – one of the world’s foremost teaching hospitals. If successful in their training, they will then receive a Cornell University medical degree.

WCM-Q Dean Dr Javaid Sheikh
WCM-Q Dean Dr Javaid Sheikh

WCM-Q Dean Dr Javaid Sheikh said the White Coat Ceremony is one of the highlights of the college’s academic year and is a memorable and significant milestone for trainee doctors.

The white coat is recognised throughout the world as a symbol of compassion and healing and it gives me great pleasure to present them to our new medical students.

These young people are the very future of medicine in Qatar. During their careers, they will learn new medical techniques and use technology that physicians today can only dream about. They will innovate, they will conduct new research, and they will gain new knowledge, but some things will always remain the same; they will save lives and they will bring hope and relief to those in distress.

Together with Weill Cornell’s other alumni, they will be the backbone of Qatar’s medical system, delivering world-class healthcare to all of the country’s citizens for decades to come.’

Dr Sarah Al Khawaja
Dr Sarah Al Khawaja

The White Coat Ceremony is the culmination of the WCM-Q orientation period when new students are welcomed to the college, meet their classmates and faculty members and learn the standards of professional conduct expected of them.

It is also an opportunity to formally welcome students onto the six-year medical programme, which integrates two years of pre-medical training with the four-year medical curriculum. This year, 46 students were inducted, with each student presented with an Ibn Sina pin, in honour of Ibn Sina, one of the most significant physicians of the Islamic Golden Age.

The keynote speaker for the White Coat ceremony, Dr Sarah Al Khawaja told the medical students that medicine is a journey, not only to acquire knowledge and progress professionally, but also of self-discovery.

How can we use our time and our talents to help others? You don’t need to have the answer to this question now, but you need to have and cultivate the intellectual curiosity to ask and find out.’

Dr Al Khawaja is Chief Resident of Dermatology and Venereology at Hamad Medical Corporation, and is a clinical associate in dermatology at WCM-Q.

Among those who received their White Coat is Korean student Sang Gon Yi. One of the reasons he opted to join the six-year programme at WCM-Q is the atmosphere.

In Korea I think it’s very competitive and there’s no sense of community but having been here for just two weeks I can see that everyone works really well together.’

For more information about the Medical Programme at WCM-Q, visit