Sidra Medical and Research Center (Sidra), the groundbreaking hospital and research center for children and women, today announced the appointment of Muhammad Waqar Azeem, MD, DFAACAP, DFAPA as its inaugural chair, department of Psychiatry. In this key leadership role, Dr. Azeem will be responsible for setting new standards for world-class patient and family care, outstanding medical education and innovative research in psychiatry. In addition, Dr. Azeem will hold the position of Founding Chair of Child Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q). Through these joint appointments, Dr. Azeem will play an integral role in improving mental health services for children and families in Qatar and the region.
Dr. Azeem joins Sidra from Albert J. Solnit Children’s Center, one of the premiere child and adolescent psychiatry teaching facilities in the U.S., where he held the position of Chief of Psychiatry and Medical Director. He also served as an Associate Clinical Professor at Yale Child Study Center / Yale University School of Medicine and Associate Residency Training Program Director for Yale Child Study Center / Solnit Center Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship.
“We are incredibly pleased to welcome Dr. Azeem to Sidra, where he joins a world-class team of peers and specialists who bring in unparalleled skills and knowledge from the world’s most distinguished academic medical centers,” said Dr. Ziyad Hijazi, Acting Chief Medical Officer. “Dr. Azeem has an exceptional background in both psychiatric clinical care and research, and he will be instrumental in ensuring that the mental health services we bring to the children and women of Qatar and the region represent the highest possible standards of patient care.”
Dr. Azeem is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in both Adult Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), as well as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). His research has been presented internationally and published in peer-reviewed journals. He has also collaborated with psychiatry professionals and medical schools in South East Asia and the Middle East on various projects covering autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities, psychiatric co-morbidity in medical conditions, as well as improving child and adolescent mental health services and child and adolescent psychiatry training.
“Joining Sidra at this crucial stage in Qatar’s healthcare development is a unique opportunity for any clinician. Knowing that you will have tangible impact on the way care is provided for future patients is a once-in-a-lifetime-chance and I am honored to be part of this talented team,” said Dr. Azeem.
In December 2013, the Supreme Council for Health announced Qatar’s National Mental Health Strategy: Changing Minds, Changing Lives. The strategy – the first of its kind in the region – is based on recommendations from the World Health Organization and sets out a five-year plan to design and build a broad and integrated system to promote good mental health and wellbeing and deliver quality services to the people of Qatar.
“Through patient care, education and research, Sidra will play an important role in supporting the delivery of the National Mental Health Strategy for Qatar and Dr. Azeem will spearhead our efforts,” said Dr. Abdulla Al Kaabi, Executive Vice Chief Medical Officer at Sidra. “He has a proven track record of teaching and training in some of the top academic medical centers in the U.S., and we are delighted to welcome him to the Sidra to the rapidly growing Sidra staff.”