Newsletter No. 171

2 No. 171 19th October 2000 CUHK Newsletter Nursing Students Serve Community T we l ve Year 4 students f r om the B a c h e l or o f Nursing (Honours) —Pr e - r eg i s t r a t i on Programme o f the D e p a r t m e n t o f Nursing participated in a health promotion activity organized by Tai Po Hospital on 17th June 2000. They d e s i g n e d e y e- catching posters and d i s s e m i n a t e d i n f o r m a t i o n o n common health problems of elderly people. A New Year for Health Diploma Course A bout 200 teachers, school administrators, and social workers participated in the opening o f the Professional D i p l oma Course i n Health Pr omo t i on and Health Education wh i ch took place on 26th September at Shaw College. The course, launched in 1999, is part of the H e a l t h y S c h o o l s Programme initiated by t he S c h o ol o f Public Health. Guests attending th e ceremony included Mr. Irving Koo Yee-yin (left 5), chairman of the Quality Education Fund Steering Committee, Mr. Anthony Tong Kai-hong (left 6), deputy director of education, Prof. Jack Cheng Chun-yiu (left 2), sub-dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University. New Department Head Series O& G Department Strives for Overall Excellence The new chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O & G), Prof, Tony Chung, believes the department's mission is to seek continuous improvement in its teaching, research, and clinical service and achieve higher levels ofexcel lence. Curriculu m Refor m Prof. Chung has been in charge of a subject panel on Human Reproduction, Sex, and Development in the curriculum reform of the Faculty of Medicine. The new curriculum, he said, emphasizes integrated teaching and promises to be a substantial improvement on the present one. Learning the art and science o f medicine w i l l henceforth become more challenging and self-directed for the students. And just as importantly, the new curriculum promises to be much more fun. The O & G department was also one of the first in the Faculty of Medicine to pioneer cyber teaching, and Prof. Chung anticipates that virtually all the topics in the new curriculum w i l l be available on the Web within a few years. Students can look forward to accessing the departmental web site for most of the core syllabus by the beginning of the 2001-2 academic year. And there has been a 'cyber tutor' for a number of years already. Sub-Specializatio n The department is in the process of formalizing sub-specialization in O & G as a part of a rolling programme by the Hong Kong College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. When the process i s complete, the department w i ll be formally recognized as a centre for all sub-specialty areas. Prof. Chung w i ll also serve as junior vice-president of the Hong Kong College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologyfrom 2001 . He looks f o rwa rd to mak i ng greater contribution to O & G in Hong Kong and internationally in this new capacity. Researc h Focu s Prof. Chung's research interests i n c l u d e m o l e c u l a r b i o l o g y o f g y n a e c o l o g i c al cance rs and t h e psychosomatic aspects of O & G. These are also the two major areas of research in his department. 'I'd like to think that we can continue to bring together people from different fields with different talents and expertise in our effort to achieve research excellence. In the area of gynaecological cancers, for example, we have scientists from other departments in the University and overseas working together to tackle issues related to molecular biology. As for the psychosomatic aspects of O & G, we draw on the experience of psychiatrists and psycho l og i s ts f r om w i t h i n the University.' While he would have less time f o r r esea r ch because o f h is new administrative duties as department chairman, most o f his efforts w i l l go towards developing his staff professionally and intellectually. 'Just because I can't do frontline research doesn't mean I cannot contribute to research,' he said. Academi c Ex hang e The department has academic links with the University of Nottingham in the UK , the University of California at San Diego in USA, as well as the Universities of Melbourne, Newcastle, and Adelaide in Australia. While existing links w i l l be nurtured and opportunities for new links explored, Prof. Chung also wishes to forge greater c o l l a b o r a t i on w i t h institutions on the mainland. Cha l l enge o f Secu l ar T r e n ds According to Prof. Chung, certain secular trends have influenced and w i l l continue to influence the department's teaching, research, and clinical service. The first is the global decrease in birth rate. With the sustained decrease in birth rate, every pregnancy becomes more precious, and expectations o f c h i l d b i r th are increasing not only in terms of physical, medical but also psychological outcomes. One consequence has been the greater attention paid to psychological outcomes of reproduction. Another secular trend i s women delaying childbirth. As a group, women are more likely to encounter infertility and other age-related comp l i ca t i ons o f reproduction. These are new challenges for the specialty. Furthermore, women can now expect to live on average for more than 80 years. New initiatives need to be devised to maintain their health as these women enter into old age. Prof. Chung said the explosion i n scientific knowledge, with concommitant advances in information technology, has significantly impacted on the discipline of O & G. Developments in molecular biology, for example, have revolutionized prenatal diagnosis and promise to provide better solutions for the prevention and treatment o f gynaecological cancers. S c i e n t i f i c advances i n a s s i s t ed reproduction also continue unabated. These deve l opmen ts open up new opportunities for research and call for long term strategic investments before the impact of research can be maximized. Roo m fo r Improvemen t There are two areas in particular Prof. Chung would like to see improvements in: space, specifically laboratory space which he described as being in 'extremely short supply', and greater f l ex i b i l i ty in the appointment o f staff. Cu r r en t ly the department follows across-the-board rules regarding the proportion of junior and senior staff it can hire. However Prof. Chung believes that these rules may not always meet the particular needs o f departments and that more flexibility in the system would be helpful. P r o f. Chung feels e n o rmo u s ly p r i v i l e g ed t o have been appo i n t ed chairman o f the department. I t is his greatest w i sh that he can he lp a l l members o f s t a ff r ea l i ze t he ir f u l l potential. He believes this is the best and most logical way to ensure effective t each i ng, qua l i ty pa t i ent care, and excellence in research. Piera Chen