0712-Preliminary Ideas Thinking Aloud About The New Jeddah Medical School as of 19th December 2007

By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. MB ChB (MUK), MPH (Harvard), DrPH (Harvard) Professor of Epidemiology at the Institute of Medicine University of Brunei and Faculty of Medicine University of Malaya.


1.1 Immediate start: From experience in Malaysia and Brunei the project must start within one year of getting political support. After 2 years the political support will evaporate and will not come back. It is therefore suggested that the faculty should start teaching in September 2009 at the latest.

1.2 Enhancing political and financial support: Once a gut decision is made to start there will be more political support and many small and big investors will come on board. People do not put money in something that does not exist.


The following steps will be needed to start the temporary project:

2.1 Leadership: A founding dean should be appointed immediately to coordinate project development. He should have 4 support staff who will be the secretariat for the project. Once teaching starts 3 deputy deans should be appointed (academic affairs, student affairs, and postgraduate & research).

2.2 University affiliation: Agreements should be concluded with the university that will award the degrees: MBBS / MD (for those who complete 5-6 years of both pre-clinical and clinical training), Bsc (for those who cannot proceed with the clinical training), and Msc (for those who want to follow an academic/research track).

2.3 Government approval and license: Approval should be obtained to start the faculty of medicine. Preliminary discussions should be held about future accreditation.

2.4 Student recruitment: Recruiting the first batch of students should be completed at least 3 months before the start. The first batch should be 120 students to ensure that 50-60 graduate after attrition over 5-6 years. The students should be well prepared in English and science competence for 3 months before starting the course and English should continue throughout the course of medical study. For competitiveness at least 10% of the students should be international.

2.5 Temporary campus: Operations should start in 15,000 square meters of rented premises for pre-clinical programs with males and females being fully separated.

2.6 Clinical training facilities: Agreement should be reached with the Ministry of Health to use government hospitals and health centers for clinical training. Agreements should also be concluded with universities to provide clinical rotations for students within Saudi Arabia and overseas (UK, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong).

2.7 Franchising a curriculum: Under franchise obtaining the curriculum, teaching material, and examination system of an established faculty of medicine (Saudi or British). There is no time to prepare a curriculum if the faculty is to start immediately.

2.8 Academic staff: faculty appointments should be made as follows: 10 pre-clinical lecturers, 20 part-time lecturers from the local area, and 4 laboratory assistants. Teaching staff must be recruited from successful universities in the west and Muslim countries with the aim of internationalization to make sure that no one nationality pre-dominates. The optimum ratio of Saudi to international academic staff should be 7:3. Administrative positions should be reserved for Saudi nationals.

2.9 Quality assurance: It is highly desirable to appoint a first class faculty of medicine to undertake quality assurance and help with obtaining international accreditation.


3.1 Permanent campus master plan: Alongside the immediate and temporary arrangements that can last 5-10 years, planning should proceed for the long-term and permanent arrangements. The start will be appointing a Jeddah-based architectural firm to produce preliminary artists’ impressions and line drawings of the complete project for purposes of promotion and cost estimates.

3.2 Holding company, sharikat qaabidhat: I propose a holding company with a wide vision and scope of investment in health-related projects including education and training (medicine, public health, pharmacy, nursing, and allied health professions), manufacture and distribution (equipment, supplies, pharmaceuticals), services (research, health management, disaster relief, and for-profit-research). The shares of the company should be sold only to people who have the vision of the project. A wide base of shareholders should be sought to include individual businessmen, governmental bodies (eg Makka Emirate or Jeddah Municipality), and charitable organizations. Shareholders can only resale shares on approval to others of similar vision. The shareholders can also be encouraged to reinvest all profits accrued for a period of 10 years until the project can stand on its own.

3.3 Relation between the faculty of medicine and the holding company: The faculty of medicine should be registered as an affiliate of the holding company. The holding company will oversee financial operations of the faculty but shall not intervene in the academic governance of the faculty. The faculty should be run independently under its own board of trustees, senate, faculty council, and dean. All land and assets used by the faculty should belong to the holding company rented at a nominal annual amount of SR1.0. Its income should come from the holding company supplemented by tuition payments and income from professional services. Profits made by the medical school shall be turned over to the holding company.

3.4 A not-for-profit waqf foundation: I propose setting up a not-for-profit foundation with the same name as the holding company. It will receive profits from the holding company or donations from people who want to support the project but do not want to buy shares in the company. The foundation will use this income to acquire assets that can be used to generate income for specific projects like scholarships for students.

3.5 Building up an asset base: The holding company should in its first years aim at building up its assets base by acquiring land and buildings in various places in the western region or other regions. These assets will improve its balance sheet if decides to offer shares to the public to raise more capital. Assets such as land, buildings, and major equipment will belong to the holding company and it in turn will rent them out to the faculty of medicine and other institutions at a nominal annual amount like SR1000.

3.6 Developing the future curriculum: The curriculum can be similar to what public Saudi universities are offering or can be from one of the British universities. The American system is too unfamiliar for the Middle East. The curriculum as an added value can incorporate an Islamic input (details at http://omarkasule.tripod.com).

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. December 2007