Sheikha Moza attends launch of Academic Health System
Lani Rose R Dizon
Qatar Academic Health System (AHS), which is aimed at bringing the very best of international health care practices to Qatar, was launched here on Monday in the presence of Her Highness Sheikha Moza. Others also present on the occasion were Minister of Health HE Abdulla bin Khalid al Qahtani, Minister of Education HE Saad bin Ibrahim al Mahmoud and a host of regional and international health care experts.
A joint initiative of the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q), the AHS is the first attempt anywhere in the world to bring together all of a nation's medical institutions and health care centres working as partners towards realisation of a shared vision and strategic plan to develop high-quality patient care and a healthy population through academic excellence and pioneering research.
An agreement to this effect was signed during the event by the HMC and its partners including WCMC-Q, University of Calgary Qatar (UCQ), Primary Health Care (PHC), Qatar University (QU), Sidra Medical and Research Centre and College of the North Atlantic Qatar (CNAQ) which pledged their commitment to promote healthcare partnership in the region by integrating health care agencies, medical education and research.
Speaking on the occasion, HMC Managing Director Dr Hanan al Kuwari said, "Qatar has a strong research platform in the academia and healthcare sector and we plan to exploit the full potential of the resulting synergies. Our Academic Health System will be all about pioneering new research and discoveries and bringing them directly to the health care centres for the benefit of patients as soon as they have been tested for safety. It will mean that we can make the best medicines and treatment available to our patients more quickly and more effectively."
WCMC-Q Dean Dr Javaid Sheikh said, "The introduction of an AHS should make it attractive for our medical graduates to come back to Qatar to join us in pushing back the boundaries of knowledge for improving health care in the country. The AHS will provide unique opportunities for inter-professional education and contribute significantly to building a skilled biomedical workforce for Qatar. This should also accelerate our pace for discoveries and developing novel therapeutic strategies." Qatar's AHS is in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030 which seeks to transform Qatar into a knowledge-based economy. It is a five-year plan with special thrust in the areas of clinical education, research, community engagement, human resources and information systems. During its first year, it will focus on developing research programmes which will address cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, neuroscience, and work-related accidents.
The pioneering initiative is also open to collaboration with international institutions. Dr al Kuwari said, "We're now exploring a number of partnerships with Duke University in the United States."
Within the next five years, the Qatar AHS aims to have the best and safest clinical care in the region and be recognised as the leading health research organisation in the Middle East. The AHS will follow the confederate/cluster model which allows each partner- institution to retain its own identity and leadership but to work in partnership by aligning their vision, values, goals and processes.
Dr. Victor Dzau, Chancellor of Health Affairs at Duke University and President and CEO of Duke University Medical Center in the United States was the keynote speaker during the event. He said, "Even though your AHS is in many ways a physical entity based in Qatar, there will be no boundaries when it came to its functioning."