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Weill Cornell Medical College Announces First Commencement of Its New Medical School Graduates in Doha, Qatar, May 8, 2008

Cornell Is First American University to Give the M.D. Degree Outside of the

United States

NEW YORK, May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Weill Cornell Medical College announced today that its branch campus, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q), part of Cornell University and the first American medical school ever established overseas, will graduate its first class in Doha, Qatar, on May 8, 2008.

The graduating class of 15 students - 9 women and 6 men - represents seven different nationalities. These include Qatar, Bosnia, India, Jordan, Nigeria, Syria, Palestine and the U.S. In attendance at the Qatar commencement will be senior officials from the health, public and private sectors in Qatar and the region; leaders from Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development; leaders from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), the state health service provider; and dignitaries from Cornell University and from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. David Skorton, President of Cornell University; the student commencement speaker will be Jehan Al Rayahi, a female Qatari student selected by her classmates. The Qatar graduates will also attend the Medical College's general commencement at Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 29, 2008.

"Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar is one of our institution's proudest achievements," said Dr. David Skorton, President of Cornell University. "Its development, and the plans for the opening of the Sidra Medical and Research Center by the Qatar Foundation, will make world-class medical care available to the people of Qatar. I offer my sincere congratulations to this notable first class of graduates."

The program in Qatar replicates the curriculum taught at Weill Cornell Medical College, with WCMC-Q students introduced to patient care from the earliest stage of their medical education. This takes place in the hospitals and clinics of Hamad Medical Corporation through an affiliation agreement signed in 2004. Students start observing the doctor-patient relationship in the first year, and go on to take their clinical clerkships at the hospitals in the third and fourth years. In addition, collaboration is under way with HMC in the fields of research and clinical care.

"This is an historic day for Weill Cornell Medical College and for the Qatar graduates," said Sanford I. Weill, Chairman of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College. "These enormously gifted students are living proof of the global reach of Weill Cornell and testament to the outstanding job that our dean, Dr. Tony Gotto, is doing. Under his leadership, and with the skilled guidance of Dr. Daniel Alonso, the Dean of the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, we are now well on our way to establishing a world- class medical center in the gulf region. I also would like to pay special tribute to His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, and the Qatar Foundation, who have been our true partners in this endeavor."

"We are immensely proud of our first group of WCMC-Q graduates," said Dr. Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. "I am confident these exceptional young doctors will provide excellent patient care, engage in important medical research, and help to share their experience and knowledge with their peers and colleagues in Qatar or wherever they may ultimately work."

"Today marks not just the beginning of these graduates' promising medical careers, but the beginning of a new era in medical training in this region," said Dr. Daniel R. Alonso, Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. "We are extraordinarily grateful to Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al- Missned and the Qatar Foundation for their leadership, vision and commitment to the historic establishment of a world-class medical college in Qatar."

"I am lucky enough to be one of the first graduates of Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar," said Jehan Al Rayahi, WCMC-Q graduate and Commencement Speaker. "I can attest to the incredible education my classmates and I have received, and I wish to express my gratitude to Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned, the Qatar Foundation and Weill Cornell for helping to inspire and train a new generation of doctors and researchers. I hope we are able to make you proud."

Notes to Editors

1. About Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar

Established by Cornell University in partnership with Qatar Foundation, WCMC-Q is part of Weill Cornell Medical College and opened in 2002. A member of the Ivy League, Cornell is the first American university to offer its M.D. degree overseas. WCMC-Q offers a complete and integrated educational program, comprising the two-year Pre-medical Program, followed by the four-year Medical Program, with teaching by Cornell and Weill Cornell faculty. There is a separate admissions process for each Program, guided by the standards of admission in use at Cornell University in Ithaca and its Medical College in New York City. For more information visit

Future plans

Qatar Foundation plans to construct a 382-bed Sidra Medical and Research Center (SMRC) close to the Medical College in Education City. Set to open in 2011, the Center will have state-of-the-art clinical programs focused on women's and children's conditions, and academic research programs in which WCMC-Q faculty and students will participate. Together, the SMRC and WCMC-Q will constitute a major American-style academic medical center in the region together on one site in Education City. For more information on Sidra, visit

2. About Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College-Cornell University's Medical School located in New York City-is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Weill Cornell, which is a principal academic affiliate of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, offers an innovative curriculum that integrates the teaching of basic and clinical sciences, problem-based learning, office-based preceptorships, and primary care and doctoring courses. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research in such areas as stem cells, genetics and gene therapy, geriatrics, neuroscience, structural biology, cardiovascular medicine, AIDS, obesity, cancer, psychiatry and public health-and continue to delve ever deeper into the molecular basis of disease in an effort to unlock the mysteries behind the human body and the malfunctions that result in serious medical disorders. The Medical College -- in its commitment to global health and education - has a strong presence in such places as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria, and Turkey. With the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical School is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances-from the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer to the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the world's first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and, most recently, the first indication of bone marrow's critical role in tumor growth. For more information, visit

3. About Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development

Founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, and chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned, Qatar Foundation is a private, non-profit organization committed to the principle that a nation's greatest natural resource is its people. The headquarters of Qatar Foundation are located within its flagship project, Education City, a fourteen million square-meter campus that hosts numerous progressive learning institutions and centers of research, including branch campuses of five of the world's leading universities, plus a cutting-edge research and development center. Qatar Foundation also works to enhance the quality of life in Qatar by investing in community health and development. For more information, please visit:

4. For further information on Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), visit

SOURCE Weill Cornell Medical College
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