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Medical Colleges after the Covid-19 Pandemic

New majors and programs that simulate the future

Many researchers and stakeholders have talked about many changes that the world will witness after the coronavirus subsides. Among these changes are the emergence of new specializations that are expected to receive great demand after the pandemic subsides, amid expectations that the crisis will lead to millions of unemployed people in the world. It is expected that there will be high demand for crisis management consultants and financial consultants. Experts expect that a large number of companies will work remotely, so the demand for programmers and time management specialists will increase. 

After the spread of the coronavirus crisis, medicine has proven that it has regained its position as the most important science for humans, as the status of doctors in the whole world has risen after medicine became the first and last hope in discovering the treatment that would save the world. The world no longer cares about any of the other sectors. Flights, factories and events have stopped, but the concern was that a hospital would not stop providing service to an infected person. Therefore, according to the opinion of many experts in the medical and educational fields, the study of medicine will move to a higher position, and specializations that were not known before become essential with the great transformations caused by the pandemic.

After the expected demand for medical specialties, universities are expected to expand their medical faculties of all kinds, and it will become important to develop medical sciences and the institutions that teach them in order to keep pace with this increasing demand. Also, institutions that teach medicine will put the issue of saving the world from pandemics as their top priority given what we have seen in the past months, which will affect the curricula and their development, and increase the attempt to focus on instilling medical values ​​in medical students.

The coronavirus crisis has proven the urgent need for personnel specialized in Emergency Medical Sciences, Respiratory Care Sciences, Medical Laboratory Analysis and Laboratory Research, Health Management and Disease Outbreak Control, medical assistance and support experts and biotechnology. 

Post-pandemic transformations

Many specialists assert that epidemiology has increased in importance after the emergence of the coronavirus crisis, and it is a science specialized in the study of epidemics and the analysis of their data and their impact on societies and the world. After the Covid-19 crisis and its major repercussions, this science related to medicine will be greatly activated. It is expected that the interest to study and research it, learn about its details and dive into it, will increase. Epidemiology has become one of the most important sciences affected by the coronavirus crisis, especially after it became widespread in all countries of the world.

University hospitals have always played a major role in containing the medical isolation for coronavirus in all countries affected by the pandemic. This has led universities to significantly increase investment in these hospitals, which will enhance the medical education process everywhere. It is also expected that grants in this field will increase in various universities around the world, whether to fill the gaps in dealing with the virus, or to meet the increasing demand in medical specialties, especially new ones. 

Universities started announcing new Master’s programs related to medical sciences, which were launched in line with the Covid-19 outbreak, such as Master of Science in Adult Critical Care Nursing in the Health Sciences Faculties, Master of Science in Environmental Health, Master of Science in Environmental Engineering in Colleges of Engineering in a number of well-known universities. In addition to doctorate programs in pharmacy that are compatible with the updates and developments imposed by the pandemic, in terms of new medicines or the development of the relationship between the pharmacy and the patient.

Multiple disciplines have emerged, representing technology as the common factor among them, developing programs that focus on applied work and not only theory, developing curricula for supportive healthcare disciplines, strategic planning and crisis management to deal with non-traditional developments, where the traditional framework of curricula and teaching methods is no longer effective.

University and medical institutes officers consider that there is no alternative to finding radical changes in educational outcomes and evaluation mechanisms and the use of many methods that combine the virtual and the conventional. This requires special teaching skills and the use of educational, technical and behavioral resources and sources.

Universities say that they are in the process of updating and developing all their current specializations in the medical, administrative and information fields, especially those related to crises and disasters, in addition to preparing educational programs that take into account the economic and digital transformation, reliance on artificial intelligence, and programs on future foresight through big data analysis.

New Colleges and Majors

The Medical College recently started introducing new programs that fit with the new medical reality after the Covid-19 experience, including a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care and a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Services with the aim of diversifying medical programs in the specialties required locally and internationally while focusing on preparing specialized personnel in medical fields due to the urgent need for specialization within the medical sector.

Medical college officials in the Gulf region believe that the medical sciences and technology majors will witness an increasing demand due to their proven importance, and the human need for them during the coming period locally and globally, in addition to the great need for specialized personnel in times of crises and disasters. They point out that the most important disciplines that will be introduced and will witness an increase and momentum are digital crisis management, crisis logistics, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and decision-making, in addition to bioengineering, medical laboratory analysis sciences, viral and laboratory research and supportive medical services in its various branches. They state that most of these majors exist on a global level and some of them are the result of recent developments, expecting that introducing these programs in the region will increase soon during the next two years with a new perspective focusing on the global experience of the coronavirus pandemic and with advanced technical educational methods. 

This aims to prepare specialized staff to benefit from their capabilities during crises, including a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology, a minor in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence in computer engineering and computer science, as well as a minor in mechatronics.

Some universities have included in the programs new materials in various scientific disciplines related to crisis management, first aid and emergency handling, because of their great role in supporting students to be active within their current specializations. Managers and university professors suggested merging disciplines to graduate multi-skilled generations, constantly studying market needs, and focusing on specializing in digital crisis management. 

The Gulf and Keeping Pace with Modernization

The fight against the coronavirus in the world showed the urgent need for every student to arm themselves with the knowledge related to crises of all kinds in order for them to possess the necessary skills to be more resilient in the future. This is what universities around the world have been working on vigorously, including, of course, universities in the Arab world in general and the Gulf in particular.

Among the main disciplines are new programs in Health Science colleges related to medical analysis, molecular genetics, molecular and cellular biology, specializations in crisis management, future foresight through big data analysis, a postgraduate diploma in ultrasound technology applications in the College of Medicine and a minor in mechatronics as well as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, a master’s degree in digital transformation and information systems, as well as in healthcare management, in addition to updating and developing current specializations in the medical, administrative and information fields, especially those related to crises and disasters. 

Prestigious universities launched new programs in Faculties of Health Sciences, namely medical laboratory analysis, molecular and medical genetics, nutrition and diets, in order to keep pace with the current needs in light of the present health crisis as well as the future one associated with the labor market, indicating that they focused their attention on the opening of these faculties in line with the expectations of an increase in the local universities’ interest to introduce scientific, medical and technical specializations and crisis management.

New colleges of engineering and health sciences programs meet the needs in the engineering and technological fields, including biomedical engineering, cybersecurity engineering and industrial engineering, all of which are very important programs with great demand.

The aforementioned universities confirmed that new specializations are expected to open later, indicating that the market needs are continuously studied within a meticulous plan to develop and approve new programs in cooperation with the Ministries of Education in the GCC countries, seeking to ensure the introduction of programs that meet the needs and aspirations and attract students to study them. In this context, introductory seminars are held constantly to introduce the currently available programs in the disciplines that are in an urgent situation, either now or in the future.

A Master’s degree in counseling and psychology was introduced, in response to addressing the major psychological repercussions caused by the coronavirus pandemic in societies. Some of them intend to reintroduce the Master’s program in healthcare management soon. New Master’s programs are currently being prepared and are expected to be launched in the academic year 2021-2022. 

According to doctors and academics, over time, practice may show the need for other specializations, and universities will not hesitate to include them in their programs to meet the demand and improve the medical and hospital level in the region. 

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