Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) held a Human Research Protection Training Seminar, one of the first in the Gulf region, to help prepare researchers and support staff at WCMC-Q and Hamad Medical Corporation for future clinical and biomedical research. The seminar was held in Doha, the capital of Qatar, earlier this month.
Geared toward people who may be involved in conducting research involving human subjects, the participants included physicians, nursing staff, technicians and administrators from HMC as well as faculty members, library staff, IT staff and administrative staff from WCMC-Q.
Although the seminar was held for professionals who plan to be involved in research, all who volunteer to take part as human subjects in the research carried out by WCMC-Q will benefit from a higher level of protection and better standards which were established by this seminar.
“We are about to start a series of research programs. We are preparing for these in a responsible way, because part of the research will be clinical, meaning that human subjects will be incorporated in the studies. That brings extraordinary responsibility as well as potential benefits,” said Dr. Daniel Alonso, Dean of WCMC-Q.
Besides ensuring all participants took the required course in Public Responsibility in Medicine & Research, a long-term goal of the seminar is to reach out to people in the Gulf region who consider English their second language. For the seminar, WCMC-Q produced the first Arabic translation of the 1979 Belmont Report, which lays down the ethical principles governing the conduct of research involving human subjects in the US. Materials in Arabic should soon become more readily available, and both English and Arabic online training will be soon be offered.
Sessions on the policies and procedures of Weill in New York and the ethical and regulatory framework governing the conduct of research and the operation of Institutional Review Boards were also presented.
Before the seminar, the major audience in attendance was expected to be WCMC-Q faculty and administrative staff. Over half of the participants in the seminar were, however, from the HMC, demonstrating the interest and need for this training in Qatar. Apart from this local company adding value and perspective to the discussions, cultural and religious issues were also uniquely addressed.
“I have been through this training many times, but I personally learned a great deal from this seminar based on the insights I gleaned from the discussion sessions,” said Senior Associate Dean for Research Gary Schneider, who led the seminar.
Overall, the seminar was successful in training the participants, and the discussions with colleagues from HMC were particularly beneficial.
“This was a first, and I am highly encouraged by it, based on the level of interest and participation, the dialogue that the meeting created and the very positive feedback I have received,” Schneider said.
“This is a very important activity for the country, for the Medical College and for the healthcare system of Qatar,” said Alonso.
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at WCMC-Q organized the event. Approximately 90 people were present at the opening of the seminar, and about 70 received a certificate of completion after the full two-day event.
Archived article by Noreen RizviSun Staff Writer
Female mustaches were totally in style. Or at least they used to be fashionable in Iran.
Prof. Afsaneh Najmabadi, history and studies on women, gender and sexuality, Harvard University, discussed sexuality in Iran, her native country, yesterday in the A.D. White House.
“There is a centrality of sexuality in education, family, culture, citizenship and conceptions of homeland in Iran,” said Prof. Amy Villarejo, feminist, gender and sexuality studies. “There are knots of history where there are countercurrents and contradictions to the sexuality.”
During the Qajar dynasty, which ruled Iran from 1785 to 1925, many women used mascara to create a small female mustache.
“It was a different kind of aesthetic sensibility,” Najmabadi said.
The mustache, or its imitation, signified a young man’s beauty, like that of a nawkhatt, a young male with the first trace of a mustache. Such an adolescent represented the ideal of beauty. Older men were further distinguished from younger men by having a full beard.
Younger and older men engaged in homosocial relations, such as holding hands or hugging. Men did engage in homosexual acts, but no hegemonious notion of homosexuality emerged and such acts were considered on par with sleeping with a woman who was not a man’s wife.
As Iranian men went to Europe and Europeans came to Iran, however, “Europeans misread homosociality for homosexuality,” Najmabadi said.
At the same time, Iranian men in London considered the young men there to be figures of desire because of their clean-shaven faces. But in 1892, Iran prohibited shaving beards.
“It is fascinating that throughout so many cultures there is a history of homosexuality or homosociality, and it’s not just confined to Greece or Rome,” said Joy Naifeh ’06. “It is empowering that during the eighteenth century and during the Qajar period, homosexuality or homosexual desire was OK.”
In the mid 1900s, there was a heterosocial promise where females were able to join modern men in giving birth to a new nation. Male homosociality was desexualized because such relations disrupted family life. Now, Iran subsidizes sex change surgery as a means to get rid of gay men. The resulting transsexuals are openly allowed to organize and discuss their situation. Despite the judicial and medical acceptance of such surgeries, these people are still struggling to gain social acceptance.
Today the female mustache is no longer a sign of beauty. It has become undesirable, and there is apparent discomfort and disdain when Iranians talk about it.
Villarejo said that Najmabadi’s work is “really important in helping us think about modern Iran and think about the relation between values in the West and what we need to learn about other traditions and systems of social and sexual life.”
The Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, the Departments of Near Eastern Studies, History, Government and the Society for the Humanities sponsored the lecture. The lecture shared the name of Najmabadi’s new book, Women with Mustaches and Men without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity.
Archived article by Dana MendelowitzSun Staff Writer