HE Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari
Minister of Public Health
Managing Director of Hamad Medical Corporation

Qatar is a country of boundless ambition. We are lucky to have a highly enlightened leadership that has charted a course for our national development towards an increasingly knowledge based economy in the Qatar National Vision 2030. Our program to become an Academic Health System exemplifies that ambition. An academic health system – sometimes called an Academic Medical Center or an Academic Health Sciences Center – is a partnership between leading universities and healthcare providers. They are recognized internationally as a model for pioneering medical discoveries and for making them available to patients. They are synonymous with academic excellence and with the very highest quality patient care. Here in Qatar our public hospital sector, run by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), is already the first outside of the US to have all of its hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI). We aim to go further still and to lead medical research in the Arab world through the development of our Academic Health System. 

So, there can be no doubt that we have the ambition. We also have strong partnerships that share this level of ambition and will stand the test of time. HMC and Weill Cornell are working with SIDRA, the University of Qatar, the University of Calgary in Qatar, the College of the North Atlantic and Primary Health Care Corporation. Our distinctive ability to work in partnership to integrate education, research and clinical practice will make us the leading healthcare partnership in the region. Together we will be greater than the sum of our parts. We can create a healthcare system that operates at the limits of human science. 

However, this is not a distant academic venture, separate from the lives of our people. Of course, it will reflect extremely well on the international reputation of our organizations, our scientists, researchers, clinicians and all of our staff. But the attainment of an academic health system is not the end in itself – it is the means to the end of improving patient care and extending healthy lives. That is the real purpose of our AHS ambition. 

Our AHS will be about ‘translational research’, by which we mean pioneering new research and discoveries and bringing them directly to the wards and bedsides to treat patients as soon as they have been safely tested. Put simply, it will mean that we can make the best medicines and treatments available for our patients more quickly and more effectively. 

That is why the development of an academic health system is so relevant and important to our nation. I hope that all of our staff and the the whole community will be encouraged to support this ground-breaking partnership.