The Business Year

Dr. Kim A. Critchley

QATAR - Health & Education

The Will to Care

Dean, the University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ)


Dr. Kim A. Critchley was named Dean and CEO of the University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ) effective January 2013. She came to UCQ from the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) School of Nursing, where she served as Dean between 2004 and 2012. She also holds adjunct appointments with the University of New Brunswick School of Nursing (Honorary Research Assistant), the University of New Brunswick, Dalhousie University, and the Memorial University Department of Graduate Studies. She earned a BSc in Nursing from St. Francis Xavier University, a Master’s in Nursing from the University of Calgary, a Diploma of Primary Health Care and Quality Improvement from the University of Helsinki Department of Primary Health Care, and a PhD from the University of Helsinki Faculty of Medicine.

"The University of Calgary in Qatar exists to train nurses to the highest technical standards."

How would you describe some of the landmark achievements of the past year?

Launching the Master’s in Nursing Leadership program in January was an enormous achievement. The program grew out of feedback we received from our students, many of whom are already in senior nursing positions and wanted more education in leadership. These were people who had tremendous skill and talent, but who wanted to continue building their expertise so they could be the best possible supervisor of those working for them, and to have the ability to lead the improvement of health and wellness in Qatar. Our program helps them acquire theoretical knowledge so they are equipped to be visionary leaders, in addition to practical skills such as budgeting, management, and quality control so they can achieve their vision effectively.

Recently, the University of Calgary signed an MoU with Primary Health Care toward developing the skills of healthcare professionals. What was the significance of this MOU?

The University of Calgary in Qatar exists to train nurses to the highest technical standards. As part of this, we have had a close relationship with the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). HMC sponsors some of their nursing employees to attend UCQ in our Master’s program so they can upgrade their skills and have the costs of this additional education covered. As a result of the MOU with Primary Health Care, some of their employees will now have a similar opportunity to study with us. This is important because Primary Health is looking to expand its community nursing and public health nursing programs, and we can help deliver on this vision. We also expect to be able to sign similar sponsorship agreements with Sidra and the Supreme Health Council, which deepens our partnerships and expands the expertise of those delivering healthcare in Qatar.

What are some of the key strategic points of the University of Calgary Strategic Plan 2015-2018?

Students are the most important aspect of UCQ. That’s why they’re the first of the four key elements of our strategic plan. We strive to provide a positive student experience through excellent teaching and learning, which in turn attracts Qatar’s best and brightest to the nursing profession. Secondly, we focus on stability, which is about having the resources to train an increasing number of students for the future. Our third priority concerns stakeholders, which means building positive relationships with the community around us. Finally, we have to think about systems for delivering high-quality programming to our students and the wider Qatar community.

In what ways is UCQ establishing partnerships to continue building Qatar’s healthcare sector?

Advancing health and wellness in Qatar is fundamental to what we do, and we pursue every opportunity to do so. In addition to our partnerships with a wide range of healthcare providers we conduct research with other disciplines and organizations. Our research program at UCQ has gone from nothing to $4.5 million over the past few years and has involved professionals from HMC and a variety of other institutions. We are particularly proud of our leadership role in research and professional healthcare.

The GCC’s healthcare sector as a whole is one of the most dynamic investment opportunities in the region. It is enjoying YoY increases of public healthcare spending, and Qatar alone has over 70 private projects in the pipeline in addition to the public $660 million Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City project. How would you say that UCQ fits into the growth of the healthcare sector on the regional and global level?

UCQ is not a huge institution, but we have been given the opportunity to have a major impact in Qatar. We are involved in many important initiatives and sit on major committees that are directing and structuring healthcare in this country. We are also involved in continuing professional education for health care professionals, and this is important because, to my knowledge, Qatar is the only place that is wisely taking a national approach to professional development and professional certification. I personally sit on a number of committees and it has been an extraordinary privilege to be consulted as the Ministry of Health and others chart the course for healthcare in Qatar.

What are your expectations for the year ahead?

The year ahead is set to be particularly exciting. We have recently become an accredited provider of continuing professional education for healthcare professionals, which means we will need to provide a program that meets the needs of the Qatar health care community, particularly nurses—something we are already well prepared to do. We are also working with the medical community to identify the next area of specialty for our clinical Master’s program. The program is currently focused on oncology, but this will change in 2017 based on need. We have also begun a space plan with a view to opening a new building that will help us take the next step in educating nursing professionals. Finally, we have the largest ever class for the 2015-2016 academic year and are looking forward to getting to know these bright, motivated students. Of course, that also means that we have already launched a number of students into their careers, including a record high number of graduates who are Qatari citizens, and our first ever Master’s program graduates. We see a very positive future ahead.



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