Qatar University (QU) College of Pharmacy (QU-CPH) MSc graduate, Ms. Nour Hisham Al-Ziftawi, has recently won the 2nd place in the National Three-Minute Thesis Competition (National 3-MT) in Qatar.

The 3-MT is a well-recognized academic competition on the post-graduate level where a Master’s degree student or a PhD student gives a compelling presentation on his/her research topic and its significance in just three minutes. The goal of this competition is to enhance the communication skills of the students and convey the key point of the research output in layman language. Most of the universities worldwide hold this competition on an annual basis. In Qatar, this competition is held annually in nine post-graduate academic institutions: Qatar University (QU), Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, University of Calgary-Qatar, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, HEC-Paris in Qatar, Stenden University in Qatar, and University of Sussex (ROLACC) in Qatar. The top three finalists of each institution advance to the National 3MT Competition where they all compete together.

The National 3-MT took place on October 09, 2021, where 17 postgraduate students from the different universities and research institutes in Qatar participated in the competition. The 17 students were chosen after they won in the 3-MT competition from their local universities. For the QU-CPH graduate, Nour Al-Ziftawi, she advanced to the National 3-MT after winning 3rd place at the Qatar University 3-MT that was held on April 10, 2021.33 postgraduate students from the Master’s and the PhD programs from 10 different colleges of QU participated and gave great presentations about their theses and dissertations.

At both the National 3-MT and the local 3-MT QU, Nour has presented a brief 3-minute presentation on her MSc. research project entitled: “Clinical and Pharmacoeconomic Analyses of CDK4/6 Inhibitors Use in Stage IV Breast Cancer Females in the State of Qatar: A Comparative Retrospective Observational Study with Cost-Effectiveness and Cost-Utility Analyses”. The MSc project was supervised by QU-CPH Professor of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, Dr. Mohamed Izham Mohamed Ibrahim, QU-CHS Associate Professor of Health Sciences, Dr. Mohamed Fasihul Alam, University Sains Malaysia School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Professor of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcome Research, Dr. Asrul Akmal Shafie, and the Assistant Director of Pharmacy Department, National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR) Dr. Shereen El-Azzazy. The project is also in collaboration with the NCCCR Pharmacy Director Dr. Anas Hamad, and the NCCCR’s Oncologist Dr. Salha Bujassoum.

The significance of this study lies in the fact that it does not only address the clinical aspects of two of the primary medications in the treatment of stage IV breast cancer, but also, it addresses the economic aspects. Locally, cancer is a well-established challenge in Qatar that was chosen as a major research topic in the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS), and breast cancer was at the top of all cancers. Therefore, the findings of this research will directly serve the QNRS mission and would be utilized by stakeholder decision makers to inform them about the most cost-effective use of these two medications. In addition, the findings of this study can be used regionally by countries that have similar economic profiles, healthcare systems, and similar populations to Qatar, such as some GCC and Middle Eastern countries, since this research is considered novel to the region. Moreover, the findings can be used internationally for countries that have similar healthcare systems and health economic considerations to Qatar.

Nour Al-Ziftawi said: “My experience throughout the Master’s journey was not an easy one. I passed through many ups and downs. However, reaching to the point of getting fruitful results that would directly impact the patient’s health outcomes was my greatest reward”. She added: “Winning at the National 3-MT competition was a great accomplishment that I am really so proud of! It was a great opportunity to deliver the significance of my entire MSc journey to the public. I want to thank my primary supervisor Dr. Mohamed Izham for motivating me to participate and win in this competition, and of course I want to thank the rest of my supervisors and the research team members for their continuous help and guidance”.

Professor Mohamed Izham said: “Nour’s research work is great and will significantly impact the healthcare system and society”

Dr. Fatima Mraiche, Section of Head of Research and Graduate Studies at the College of Pharmacy-QU highlighted that “We are proud of our students at CPH-QU whose accomplishments continue to be recognized through national and international awards and making impactful changes to the profession as a whole”

The 3MT QU was not the only research accomplishment that Nour Alziftawi has achieved. She has also received a recent award on her MSc research as 2nd place best research in the Third Youth Research Forum 2021: Identity and Cultural Tourism: Towards a Culture of Sustainable Legacy in Qatar (Hosted by Qatar University’s (QU) Young Scientists Center (YSC), in cooperation with the Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture and Science. Also, she had different scientific representations at regional and local scientific conferences. We wish her all the best for her academic life and career.