Qatar University’s (QU) Health Interprofessional Education Committee in collaboration with the Interprofessional Education Students’ Association Qatar organized its first virtual debate with the motion: This House believes that considering the continuous quarantine and precautionary measures should be of a priority over lifting the restrictions to avoid the negative economic and social consequences.
The event lasted for 2 hours and was conducted online through Qatar University WebEx application. The event was attended by around 250 local and international participants. Vice President for Medical and Health Sciences in Qatar University Dr. Egon Toft welcomed attendees followed by Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at College of Pharmacy (CPH) and QU Health Chair of the Interprofessional Education Committee Dr. Alla El Awaisi. This was followed by an overview of the association’s vision, mission and activities presented by the Vice President of the IPE Student Association and CMED third year medical student Ms. Jawaher Baraka.
The debate was moderated by the President of the IPE Student Association and CPH MSc graduate Ms. Sawsan AlMukdad.
Members of the affirmative side included CPH student Fatima Nazar, College of Health Sciences (CHS) student Shaza Malik and College of Medicine (CMED) student Ahmed Daniyal- College of Medicine. The negative side team included CHS student Bana Salim, University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ) student Aysha Saeed and Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q) Shahryar Rana. The debate followed a format where each student was given a 5 minute for a speech, a 2-minute caucus and a chance for a cross examination from the opposing team. The audience were allowed to ask questions directed to the teams after the debate and the judges also gave their clarifications and comments on both teams. The winning team was determined after receiving the votes from both the audience (50%) and the judges (50%). The judges included: CHS Dean Dr. Hanan Abdul Rahim, QU Health Director of Research and Graduate Studies Dr. Feras Qasem and, CMED Head of Department of Population Medicine Dr. Suhail Doi. The affirmative team stood out and was held the winner.
Dr. Egon Steen Toft congratulated the winner and said: “The initiation of this interprofessional debate format for our students is an excellent idea. The pandemic has shown the importance of working together more than ever and the potential online fora for high level of discussions and patient treatment is an obvious future solution for the benefit of patients and improving health care system care.”

As both sides comprises an interprofessional team, the debate contest opened an opportunity to see the perspectives of various healthcare students and allowed the participants to increase their knowledge on the different issues concerning the novel coronavirus that is currently affecting the lives of everyone around the globe through reliable data and evidence based research. Dr. Hanan commented: “Debates provide an excellent medium for stimulating critical thinking and for engaging students deeply. It was really gratifying to see students across health professions and across institutions working together as a team and engaging with such enthusiasm on the topic of COVID19 public health measures. I look forward to future debates on further topics of interest to the health sector and to society as a whole.”
Fatima Nazar from the winning team said: “We would like to thank QU Health and Student Interprofessional Education Association for giving us this wonderful opportunity to work together and collaborate as a team. We were able to explore in depth the different policies that were applied around the world, and the consequences of these policies. We were also able to define the different axes that the virus affected, such as health, economic and social aspects’. She thanked the opposing team for presenting different arguments and possible solutions, which enabled them to debate the topic effectively. She added: ‘We would like to thank the judges for their remarks, as they were very beneficial for us and will help us improve and polish our skills for our academic as well as professional life. As healthcare students, we believe that only by working together can we achieve success against the virus, and one such example can be seen in this IPE Virtual Debate, where we all worked together to find the best strategy to fight COVID-19 that ensures minimal economic, health and social losses”.
Shahryar Rana from the negative team commented: “A welcome challenge. I learned a lot from my interlocutors. Yes, there were heated moments but I left having learned more from my teammates as well as my opponents, and the panel’s thoughts were enlightening on the overall scope of the issue. There were dimensions that I was simply not aware of from my vantage point as a medical student and I hope to learn more from such experiences in the future.”
The Interprofessional Education Students’ Association Qatar will organize two new debates on August 10, 2020, entitled ” This house believes that, in public health emergencies, the necessity to protect the public should outweigh personal freedoms” and another one on August 17, 2020 entitled ” This house believes that, telehealth can provide patients with more cost effective and better quality care than the current practice”. Many are looking forward to attending these debates following the success of the first debate.


Source: Qatar University