February 15, 2006

Weill Trains in Qatar

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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 Rizvi
Sun Staff Writer