What started out as a long and anxious wait for 31 nervous Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar 2013 graduands ended in excitement and joy when the Match Day results announced from the US were finally released on Friday.
The students were all gathered in the main lecture hall at the Education City campus in the presence of family, friends and academic advisers where they learned where they would be doing their residency training for the next three to seven years of their medical careers.
Match Day is an intensely competitive experience that can shape budding medical careers or shatter high hopes for many. It is also the culmination of a four-year journey for graduating medical students, one of the final hurdles before graduation but equally important in their emerging careers in medicine.
More than 40,000 graduating medical students around the world competed for approximately 25,000 residency positions in the largest match in the National Resident Matching Program's history. More than half of U.S. seniors matched to their first choice and graduating students from WCMC-Q showed similar results.
Eight WCMC-Q graduates will be going to the internationally respected New York Presbyterian Hospital and others are heading off to equally impressive destinations.
WCMC-Q Dean, Dr. Javaid Sheikh congratulated all the students and wished them well for the rest of their careers. “This is a fantastic achievement by our students. These impressive results are a wonderful tribute to their hard work and effort as well as a clear demonstration of the quality of education they have received at WCMC-Q. Our faculty and staff are very proud of each and every one of them," Dean Sheikh said.
At 20 years of age, Iqbal El-Assaad was the youngest student ever to complete the medical degree at WCMC-Q. She entered medical school at just 14 and was awarded a scholarship by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser. Now she is contemplating a career in pediatrics. Iqbal will be going to the Cleveland Clinic for Pediatrics. She is also thinking about doing a pediatric cardiology fellowship some time in the future.
“I grew up in Palestine hearing dreadful stories about parents and their children suffering because they couldn’t afford treatment. Living with those children, looking into their eyes and listening to their experiences in their own words touched me deeply. Remembering their faces and the pain of my community, I felt the urge to become a pediatrician. Those children and the upcoming generations need a doctor to heal their wounds and be by their side as an advocate to guide them and light their path during their most difficult stages,” Iqbal said.
Ladan Ghajar is also looking forward to a career in pediatrics. She will soon be starting a residency in pediatrics at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, United States. “After my training, I hope to train in a fellowship program in pediatric endocrinology. There is an increasing prevalence of obese and diabetic children, and I hope to conduct research and educate my patients about preventative care such as diet and exercise. My vision as a physician is to be a leader in clinical care, medical education and research,” Ladan said.
WCMC-Q student affairs and academic counseling director, Donney Moroney said she was delighted with the impressive Match Day results and congratulated the students on reaching this destination after much hard work.
“I have had the pleasure of working with some of these students for the past six years, since their pre-medical program. Our students continue to demonstrate their high level of commitment in the field of medicine and I am confident they will continue to be ambassadors for the medical field but also for the remarkable and pioneering efforts of Qatar.”