Dr. Javaid Sheikh,
Dean, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar

'Be aware of your own worth, use all of your power to achieve it. Create an ocean from a dewdrop. Do not beg for light from the moon, obtain it from the spark within you'.
Muhammad Iqbal

Qatar has a visionary leadership with a clear commitment to transform it into a knowledge-based society by 2030. Very specific milestones in human, social, economic, and environmental domains have been targeted to achieve this vision. Human development, particularly improvements in education and healthcare, is the cornerstone of such a vision. Under H.H. Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser’s dynamic and inspiring leadership of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development, world-class institutions have been established in the Education City, including the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q).

It is in this larger context that we have the wonderful opportunity now to establish a unique Academic Health System (AHS) which can pull together most of Qatar’s academic institutions and healthcare systems. 
To address some of the most important illnesses afflicting the Qatari population, namely diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and neurological diseases, and working in close collaboration with our colleagues in New York and at HMC, WCMC-Q has established a world-class basic and translational research program targeting these illnesses. To cite two examples here, one of our translational research programs focuses on identifying genetic risk factors for diabetes unique to the Qatari population, while another teases apart genetic risk factors for neurogenetic abnormalities of the newborn. Discoveries from both of these programs will lead in due course to novel therapeutic interventions. 

The advent of the AHS will bring other educational and healthcare systems into the fold including Qatar University, Sidra Medical and Research Center, Primary Health Care Corporation, the University of Calgary – Qatar and the College of North Atlantic - Qatar. I believe that this will provide unique opportunities for inter-professional education and contribute significantly to a skilled biomedical workforce in Qatar. This should also accelerate the pace for discoveries and developing novel therapeutic strategies to address common ailments afflicting the Qatari population. The vision is clear, the resources are in place, the will is strong and the commitment unshakeable. The future for biomedical education, research, and healthcare delivery in the region has never looked brighter.