The community outreach health program Medicine & U was started at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar in March 2009 and continues to attract international health experts who share their expertise to provide advice on a variety of common illnesses prevalent in Qatar.
The program focuses on common health issues widespread in Qatar such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, hypertension and a range of other common diseases and illnesses. The program, which runs annually from September through June, has been well received by locals and ex-pats alike with ever increasing numbers attending the monthly sessions at Education City /WCMC-Q. The aim is to provide the general public with interactive basic health education in a simple, easy to understand format and in a friendly atmosphere that promotes good health and healthy living.
Acting Associate Dean for Medical Education Professor Marcellina Mian designed the Medicine & U program to introduce the general public to the world of medicine with topics important to the health of the community. She continues to be an active participant in the activities.
At a recent meeting, Dr, Mian advised families and child carers to be alert to the dangers of accidents in the home in keeping with their child’s developmental age.
“Children are vulnerable to a wide variety of injuries and accidents around the home, in playgrounds and in any number of situations that may pose danger. Parents need to be vigilant to prevent these injuries and also know some basic first-aid techniques that can be life saving”, Dr. Mian told the audience.
The Medicine & U public lecture series is an integral component of the mission of WCMC-Q to provide quality education, research and patient care and to provide the highest quality of care to the community. Vice Chair and Professor of Neurology and Director of Neurology Clerkship at WCMC-Q, Dr. Basim Uthman has been planning and hosting the programs since September 2009, assisted by other faculty and staff from the Office of Curriculum Support and Public Affairs. WCMC-Q faculty, faculty from Hamad Medical Corporation and other internationally renowned specialists have provided their expertise in helping to understand complicated health issues for the people of Qatar.
Dr. Uthman began the lecture series in April 2009 with a discussion of a common neurological disorder; epilepsy. During the lecture he summarized the scope of the problem and its impact on society. Various presentations of seizures and their causes were addressed and myths and facts in regards to public opinions of epilepsy and patients with epilepsy were discussed.
In working closely with speakers, a fact sheet and a press release is generated, in Arabic and English, with highlights of practical information that attendees and the audience at large can take home. Following each lecture, Professor Uthman moderates a question-and-answers session that addresses general concerns of the audience and all are invited to participate. A certified translator provides Arabic translations of the lecture and Q&A sessions real-time
WCMC-Q Director Assessment & Academic Achievement Dr Mary Anne Baker coordinates the Medicine & U series.
There have been sessions that focused on stroke in pregnancy, particularly in older women, the prevalence of heartburn, the role of the pathologist when diagnosis is uncertain, and schizophrenia
During Medicine & U 2013, Dr. Hina Ghory focused on the need for emergency services in Qatar. Dr. Ghory is an Assistant Attending Physician at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital and holds two separate academic appointments as clinical instructor in medicine; one at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York in the division of emergency medicine and the other at WCMC-Q in the medical education department.
“Medical emergencies such as skin wounds and amputations, burns, strokes and seizures, medication overdoses, choking, allergic reactions and heart attacks are among the more common events that may require initial out-of-hospital management. This is where basic training in first aid is very helpful and is something that should be encouraged here in Qatar,” Dr. Ghory said.
Professor Mark Pecker discussed problems with high blood pressure and he warned that it posed among the greatest health risks because most people remain unaware that they have this condition until it is too late.
Uncomplicated high blood pressure often causes no symptoms for many years, even decades, until it finally damages certain critical organs, Professor Pecker said. He advised greater public awareness and urged regular screening for hypertension, especially for pregnant women and the obese. Poorly controlled high blood pressure ultimately can cause damage to blood vessels in the eye, thickening of the heart muscle and heart attacks, hardening of the arteries, kidney failure, and strokes all with severe consequences.
Professor Pecker is Attending Physician at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital, Professor of Clinical Medicine Weill Cornell Medical College and Professor of Clinical Medicine in Physiology and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medical College
Dr. Abdelmoneim Abdelhakam, senior consultant in psychiatry at Hamad Medical Corporation, also delivered a talk entitled “Brain, Mind and Body Connections”.
Dr. Abdelhakam discussed somatoform or psychosomatic disorder, an illness that refers to several conditions that all involve physical symptoms that have no physical cause, but rather are caused by psychological factors.
“Somatization disorder causes pain, as well as symptoms including headache, fatigue, and a variety of stomach problems including nausea and diarrhoea, and sexual dysfunction. These symptoms all begin before the age of 30, and patients generally will have a medical history full of doctors and specialists and a variety of prescribed medications,” he said.
Associate Professor of Public Health Dr. Ziyad Mahfoud highlighted the dangers of shisha smoking with a talk entitled The Health Risks of Smoking Shisha: Facts and Fiction.
He warned that shisha smokers as compared to non-smokers are at a higher risk of developing cancer (such as lung cancer), respiratory illness, and periodontal disease. Shisha smoking has also been linked to low birth weight.
“Tobacco use and tobacco smoke produced during shisha smoking contain similar toxic substances and known carcinogens; generally in stronger concentrations than found in cigarette smoking. The charcoal and aluminium foil used in burning the tobacco produce high levels of carbon monoxide and heavy metals that are also dangerous to health,” Dr. Mahfoud said.
With growing public interest in this outreach lecture series and the commitment of WCMC-Q in supporting the vision of the Qatari leadership and partnering with Hamad Medical Corporation and other Health Care Institutions of the country we plan to continue providing Medicine & U lectures to the public. WCMC-Q leadership believes that providing practical medical information to the public leads to better-informed citizens and, hopefully, healthier individuals.
“The Medicine & U lecture series is not intended to provide medical advice for attendees of the lectures or readers of the press release. We hope that the knowledge gained will boost public awareness of common medical conditions relevant to the society of Qatar and empower the residents of this nation to seek appropriate and timely medical advice and lead healthier life styles,” Professor Uthman said.