Alfaisal University: Setting New Benchmarks in Medical Education Globally
Alfaisal University | the education magazine

‘The most wonderful discovery the humankind has ever made, is that of medicine.’

The purpose embodied within the discipline of medicine is inevitably as vital as the expertise, the sophistication and the complexity encompassed within its practice. The implications of this profundity lead us to the root of this discipline which is an educational institution for medical studies. Thus, with and implied emphasis on discovering and bringing into spotlight, exemplary institutions, striving to deliver topnotch education and are reforming the landscape of the medical studies ecosystem, we at The Knowledge Review present to you Alfaisal University.

Alfaisal University was founded by the highly reputed King Faisal Foundation in 2002 as one of the first private nonprofit, research and teaching universities in the kingdom, committed to achieving international standards of excellence. The university has the support of national and international co-founders and distinguished Board Members that have been continually supporting the university in its mission to remain a student-centered institution committed to research. The university holds in high regards, the words of his majesty, late King Faisal Bin Abdulaziz, “the education of our youth rests on three foundations: faith, knowledge, and performance,” and believes that these pillars have constituted the vision of late King Faisal in determining the future of education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Alfaisal University avidly exhibits its motto of serving humanity and the community through the best medical practice. Today, it competes to be the best College of Medicine in the region and aims to be ranked among top international colleges. With a state of-art campus and labs, and with the help of its distinguished faculty, the university’s students are achieving the top scores in national and international exams, publishing in the top journals and presenting their own research in the best worldwide medical conferences.

The University is recognized as ‘One of the World’s Top 150 Institutions under 50 Years Old’ and in ‘The Top 30 institutions globally for universities established after the year 2000’ as per the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018. Alfaisal University has succeeded to improve its ranking from Top 501-600 globally in 2018, to 301-350 globally as per the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings (THE) 2019. At the Kingdom level, it ranked 2nd overall and 2nd for the Arab region. For Medicine, the university ranked 1st in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and 3rd in the Arab Region.

A new College of Medicine building is under construction. The postgraduate program is continuously updated and new fields will be launched. Library building expansions and sports center are being considered.

The Guiding Light of Aspiring Doctors

Alfaisal University’s College of Medicine has been ascending the stairway to progress and development, under the proficient and inspirational leadership of Prof. Khaled Al Kattan, the Professor of Surgery and the Dean of the College of Medicine.  “I am looking forward to seeing the College of Medicine rising and shining like a star, and its graduates serving humanity in the best medical practice.” Prof. Khaled expresses.

The College of Medicine is supported by the vision of its overall management represented by the University President, H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al Hayaza and Prof. Khaled. Both work to provide the optimal environment that would enable students to progress at different academic, clinical, research, national, and international levels, by supporting all programs that raise the educational standards and facilities’ capitals. It is their hard work and dedication that is leading the university on the track of its mission and vision.

Striving for Excellence

The management elucidates over the University’s mission and vision in the words below:

– Our Vision:

Alfaisal University is a private non-profit institution, which aspires to be a world-class research university, committed to the creation, dissemination and application of knowledge in the fields of business, engineering, science, medicine and health sciences.

– Our Mission:

Alfaisal University is a student-centered university which creates and disseminates knowledge through world-class undergraduate and graduate education programs, research, and service that will benefit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the region and the world in the advancement of a knowledge-based economy.

Alfaisal College of Medicine is accredited by several international accreditation and licensing parties such as, International Medical Education Directory (IMED), Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER), and the World Health Organization (WHO) directory of medical schools, The Medical Board of California, The United Kingdom General Medical Council (UK-GMC), Accreditation authorities in several states in Germany, The Jordanian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and The Sri Lanka medical council.

College of Medicine at Alfaisal University offers an undergraduate program and many graduate programs. MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) is a student centered, problem based, integrated, and community oriented undergraduate program which is offered over a span of six years. Students spend three years in learning basic sciences and two years in clinical sciences followed by one year of internship. This hybrid curriculum emphasizes on small group and problem-based learning, integrated with clinical skills training and community-based experiences, alongside lectures. College of Medicine is affiliated with Partners Healthcare International (PHI) USA, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre (KFSH&RC), in addition to other local collaborations.

A Balanced Perspective

On the pretext of the continuous advancement in the sphere robotics and its effects over the medical discipline, The College of Medicine’s discernment over the fact is that artificial intelligence being implemented in the form of robotics is a very important revolutionary advancement in analyzing complex medical data and assisting physicians in improving patient outcomes. However, the college believes more important is the humanitarian patient to physician interaction and chemistry of comfort that a robot cannot offer, especially while dealing with sensitive situations or vulnerable populations. Here, medical ethics versus human and community wellbeing flag is to be raised. Robotics implementation is not a cheap process and limited centers can afford it, taking rural situations into consideration. Although a robot can one day abridge all the educational efforts and costs put by a medical student, still the need for a physician competent enough, by education, training, research, and experience to translate a robot finding never fades.

Opening the Doors to Opportunities

Throughout the clinical training years, the College of Medicine’s students receive a comprehensive, hands-on, and wide exposure and training to different clinical scenarios and cases encountered throughout their future medical career, in the different local hospitals involved in collaborations with the college. In addition, the choice of and matching success in international residency programs adds a lot to this career.

The College of Medicine’s candidates’ success rate in matching in a residency program in the U.S. National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) is 80%. The college’s U.S. NRMP match rate ranks as second best in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and seventh across the Middle East. Many of the graduates are currently training in residency training programs in Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom in the specialties of Surgery, Medicine, Psychiatry and Anesthesiology, following their full registration with the health authorities in those countries. In addition to the international residency programs, the college’s graduates have succeeded in obtaining residency in several well-recognized local hospitals.

Alfaisal College of Medicine’s students have harnessed the highest results among 25 other medical schools in the Kingdom on the nationwide Progress Test (PT) for six consecutive years. All medical students appear for this exam at the same time and are tested on their comprehensive understanding and knowledge of all the subjects they learned throughout medical school. Alfaisal College of Medicine students are passing all parts of the USMLE (The United States Medical Licensing Examination) at a much higher percentage (85%) than other International Medical Graduates in performance, clinical knowledge and skills.

The management is of the opinion that medical research is nowadays viewed as the key point in establishing promotion criteria and assessing a physician’s advanced clinical practice standards. Accordingly, Alfaisal’s College of Medicine has been a pioneer in medical and educational research in the Kingdom. The respective publications are covering a wide range of medical and medicine related disciplines. The College’s collaborations with King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center deliver an added value. Students enjoy facilitated research opportunities with international research universities and clinics such as Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, and Harvard University, through the Summer Program for International Research and Internship Training (SPIRIT). Many students are also sent abroad for clinical electives through the International Clinical Electives (ICE) program.

Alfaisal University also hosts several national and international conferences featuring a huge variety of elite speakers delivering high yield keynotes, several symposia, hands-on pre-conferences’ workshops, alongside impressive educational exhibitions and several innovative scientific contests and competitions that students participate in and always guarantee high rank prizes, thanks to the quality of students, supervising investigators, and novel work presented.

Advocating Reformative Learning

Alfaisal University’s College of Medicine takes the following efforts in order to create a proficient learning culture or environment for its students:

  • Implementing Team Based Learning and Problem Based Learning educational programs.
  • Establishment of Student based Clubs such as Medical Students Association under which falls a program called Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) where students help each other in the information acquiring process.
  • Parallel laboratory sessions in advanced laboratory settings covering all medical fields of Anatomy, Physiology, Histology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and Clinical Skills through an advanced Simulation Lab.
  • Encouraging students to participate in local and international conferences as attendees or speakers presenting oral or poster communications.
  • College of Medicine embraces a unique multidisciplinary and well experienced faculty pool specialized in all medical fields, and constantly familiarizing their expertise with medical updates.
  • Students at Alfaisal University have access to huge, updated, and up-to-date reliable library databases including high impact factor Scholarly journals and Magazine articles, available through an established Library building that is managed by experienced personnel.
  • Research in the field of medical education is active at Alfaisal University, and the College tries to implement the results in program amendments in favor of a better learning outcome.

Student Testimonials

“My experience at Alfaisal University’s College of Medicine was very productive, exquisitely unique, and enjoyable. I have learnt that success is the direct outcome of persistent attempts empowered by determination and optimism, regardless of the outcome of the attempts. A strong and academically competent individual is not the person who doesn’t make mistakes, but rather the person who acknowledges and learns the most out of her/his mistake. I feel very grateful for all the support I have received from the College of Medicine throughout the past 5 years.” – Haya Jamal Azouz, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, First Honor.

“My journey at the College of Medicine has been extraordinary. Looking back at us in our freshman years, it is truly amazing how our experiences have transformed us into the bright and refined individuals we are today. I feel extremely blessed for the many opportunities that Alfaisal CoM has given me, for being taught by such a diverse and brilliant faculty, and for having made the most incredible friends here at Alfaisal – all of this was only possible by the Grace of Allah. Becoming a doctor is and honor, it entails lifelong learning and we must remember to chase excellence, no matter what path we choose.” – Ameera Elias Musa Sheikh, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, Second Honor.

“I studied in the master’s program of Radiological and Imaging Sciences (MRIS) in an extremely unique educational environment of higher education at Alfaisal University. In this program, I acquired the knowledge and skills which have greatly improved me as a researcher, scientific writer, presenter, and educator.” – Fahad Abdulrahman Alabdulrazzaq, Master of Radiological and Imaging Sciences.

Objective: The Alfaisal College of Medicine follows a problem-based, self-directed curriculum, in which patients and problems are studied from multiple standpoints and wherein learning is integrated with appropriate clinical skills training and community-based experiences.

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