In response to the emerging and re-emerging of diseases, the shortage of medical professionals in Hong Kong and the increasing demand for community-based care, this two-year, full-time Bachelor of Science in Community Health Practice articulation programme is designed to equip students with public health knowledge and skills of community health education and practices. Graduates are expected to play diverse roles in helping to resolve a range of societal health issues, in order to promote the health and quality of life of the community.
The teaching is linked to the core competencies of community health practitioners, taking reference from the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, USA, and the Galway Consensus Conference Statement on health promotion and education of 2007. Students enjoy a wide variety of practicum opportunities made available by the programme’s strong and extensive network with local community organizations.
Promoting Community Health Through Service
We all know when it comes to health that prevention is better than cure. Advocacy for health education and promotion within the community is gathering momentum, and the Bachelor of Science in Community Health Practice is precisely designed to prepare the workforce for a growing demand for health management services.
Prof. Yeoh Eng-kiong, Director of the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, said that the programme is offered in response to the increase in non-communicable diseases, emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, and the increasing importance of community-based care. The two-year, full-time programme welcomes application from associate degree and higher diploma holders who graduated from science or social science disciplines.
Vestina Wong, a graduate who also holds an associate degree in food safety and environmental health, wants to build a career in tailor-made health services and health education.
Vestina said her training at CUHK changed her idea about health. She used to assume that staying healthy was only about diet and medication, but now she regards primary care and health education as the most important component in disease prevention.
Students enrolled in the programme are expected to help reduce health and social care costs by preventing health problems, promoting healthy lifestyles, improving compliance with medical advice, enhancing self-care and self-management skills, and facilitating access to appropriate health and social services. The ultimate objective is to equip individuals and families with the knowledge and skills in making informed choices for their health.
The students can embark on their careers or pursue postgraduate studies in the fields of patient empowerment, social care and community health education. Some graduates are employed as executive assistants in governmental organizations, project assistants in non-governmental organizations, and assistant production officers in pharmaceutical companies.
Hong Kong’s population is ageing fast, and our sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet are not helping, either. To prepare students for the diverse needs of the people they are going to serve, they are required to participate in a 250-hour practicum.
‘The practicum is the most valuable part of my learning. I was placed in the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, responsible for programme preparation, designing promotional materials and planning for future activities. My practicum showed me the challenges faced by the NGOs in Hong Kong, but then it also reaffirmed my confidence in the healthcare practitioners and the sector,’ Vestina said.
Time management is essential for almost all disciplines and the programme in Community Health Practice is no exception.
‘We have to take courses and participate in practicum in the second year of our programme, not to mention the group projects. It’s important for us to manage our time wisely,’ she said.
To Vestina, her knowledge of health promotion is useful for jobs outside of the healthcare industry as well. Her training has taught her to be more mindful of other people’s physical and psychological needs, as well as being more communicative and empathetic.
‘Such qualities can be put to good use in a wide range of professions, including the service industry and social services,’ said Vestina.
She thinks that this programme is suitable for civic-minded young people. ‘If you wish to seek fulfillment through service, then Community Health Practice is your best bet.’
Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2019