The 6-year full-time Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery programme (MBChB) (JS4501) adopts a unique SMART medical curriculum, allowing us to nurture competent and compassionate doctors who are amply qualified both to meet the challenges of modern-day health care and to serve the community with clinical excellence and passion. Students with an outstanding academic performance are also given the option to enter Year 2 directly.
In addition to MBChB curriculum, students admitted to the Global Physician-Leadership Stream (JS4502) will attend leadership skills training courses to nourish their global perspectives and leadership competencies, as well as become future physician leaders in health policy, education, research or other promising fields in medical and health sciences.
After the successful completion of a one-year internship in an approved local hospital, graduates become registered medical practitioners in Hong Kong.
Innovative Medical Education: Helping the Best Give their Best
Established in 1981, CU Medicine has thrived to become one of the world’s top medical schools and the youngest in the top 10 league in Asia. With a mere 40 years of establishment, the Faculty has succeeded in becoming a world-recognized hub of excellence in education, research and service. The Faculty’s ranking success is reflective of its commitment to innovation, a trait that has made its mark on the Faculty’s curricular design and pedagogy.
CU Medicine adopts an innovative approach to education development to respond to students’ diversified needs, backgrounds, and interests. Crafted from the perspective of students, the Personalised MBChB Curriculum is a student-centred programme designed to train a new generation of doctors in a new nonlinear way, substituting traditional system and problem-based models with active, self-directed and mentorship-based learning, where ethics and professionalism take on a new focus.
On top of the core medical training, the Faculty launched the Global Physician-Leadership Stream in 2013 in response to changes in the healthcare sector and the challenges ahead, aiming to help promising students pursue their studies in an accelerated and streamlined manner through customized teaching, leadership training, mentorship, humanitarian expeditions and more. The objective of GPS is to meet society’s demand for knowledgeable, civic-minded, and caring healers who put their patients’ interests first.
Our GPS students Katsie Tang and Tiffany Sham (Class of 2023) reflect on their medical training at CUHK, making a good example of how the determination to serve with humility can help us be our best and to give the best.
Picture from left: Katsie Tang and Tiffany Sham (MBChB-GPS 2023)
A TRIBUTE TO SLIENT CONTRIBUTORS OF LOCAL HEALTHCARE SCENE
Inspired by the immerse effort of whom have been working round the clock at hospitals beyond spotlight to care for large influxes of patients during COVID hard time, Katsie and Tiffany published a book on silent contributors of the Hong Kong healthcare system in June 2022, titled 《杏林深處》. The idea of collating the stories of these silent contributors stemmed from their learning experiences as medical students, during which they encountered many dedicated employees working day and night to support frontline healthcare workers and provide quality care for patients. Amidst their tight school schedules, with the help of over 15 medical students, Katsie and Tiffany managed to conduct interviews and record the stories of 21 silent contributors, which included an ethnic minority language interpreter, a hospital chef, a mortuary worker, a doctor who has spent his life caring for prisoners, and a hospital cleaner, just to name a few. Through the publication of this book, they hope to show respect to their future colleagues as medical students, as their contributions are indispensable for providing smooth, quality care to patients.
Picture: Katsie (left), Tiffany (right) and Professor Francis Chan (centre, Faculty Dean of Medicine) holding their publications at the Hong Kong Book Fair 2022.
THE COVID LESSONS
COVID-19 has definitely been a tough challenge in the past few years, limiting students’ clinical exposure and chances to learn about healthcare practices overseas. The Faculty has supported students throughout the process by providing opportunities for enrichment amidst the pandemic. Over the holiday before they transitioned into clinical years, Katsie and Tiffany attended online trainings provided by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Disaster Preparedness and Response Institute (HKJCDPRI) on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Basic Sign Language in Health Emergencies and Disasters. The course on IHL gave them new insights into the important role healthcare professionals play in times of conflict, which is becoming increasingly relevant in this modern era. Learning how to communicate with deaf patients in simple sign language also prepared them to better serve in the future. Recently, the two of them also virtually attended the Asia Student Leadership Conference (ASLC) in Singapore, initiated by the Smile Asia Student Chapters, as final-year medical students. These extracurricular opportunities are open to all students, and is one of the many ways through which the Faculty hopes to shape medical students into caring doctors, who are not only competent, but also eager to serve.
During COVID times, Katsie also enrolled in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for a course on “Applying Public Health Principles”, that focused on improving healthcare policies in less developed countries. Despite being unable to attend the course face-to-face, learning with medical students and doctors from around the world was still fruitful and stimulating. Experiences like these are an important element of university education, shaping young students into individuals who are receptive to new ideas and innovation.
The misfortune of COVID-19 presented new opportunities for students to collaborate with global health experts to conduct timely research on COVID-19. Not only being offered the opportunity to prepare narrative reviews on non-pharmaceutical primary prevention strategies of the virus under the lead of her GPS mentor, Professor Emily Chan, Tiffany was also able to share her findings with other medical students at The 3rd Korea University International Medical Student Research Conference, where she got to connect with research talents from around the world. Besides, volunteering at the CU Medicine Community Outreach COVID-19 Vaccination Programme enabled her to be part of the pandemic workforce for the very first time as a medical student. She further had the opportunity to disseminate COVID-19 relief bags to less-privileged households in local community under another community outreach programme by CCOUC in collaboration with GX Foundation. As part of the outreach, the project team conducted field-based surveys and delivered health education programmes to enhance the locals’ understanding about necessary behavioural measures and precautions during home-quarantine care. These experiences under the pandemic were unarguably valuable.
HUMANITARIAN SERVICE AND FIELD RESEARCH
Motivated to help others, many medical students are driven to make a difference before getting a qualification. Tiffany is one of the committed students who has made her mark early by actively involving in various community service and humanitarian actions via the unique platforms at CU Medicine. “The medical education here nurtures us to become not only competent doctors with a heart to serve, but also compassionate individuals with a global perspective,” said Tiffany. As a field trainee, she dedicated herself to be part of the Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response (CCOUC) Ethnic Minority Health Project, which focuses on empowering villagers through health interventions on disaster preparedness in earthquake- and flood-stricken provinces such as Sichuan, China. Being intrigued by the experience in the field, Tiffany further engaged in field research and service in Cambodia as part of the cataract blindness and vector-borne disease elimination projects, led by her GPS mentor Professor Emily Chan. The opportunity to witness healthcare in low-resource contexts, with contrasting resource availability, different patient needs, and distinct dynamics from the city of Hong Kong, reshaped her worldview and offered her with new perspectives on humanitarian medicine. The multitude of experiences at CUHK medicine has taken her one step closer to her aspiration of serving the vulnerable and impoverished in the future.
Picture: Tiffany (third from left) was awarded the CCOUC Humanitarian Scholarship for her active participation in humanitarian field-training programmes.
As part of the Global Physician Leadership Stream (GPS), Katsie participated in a study led by Dr. Allen Lee that investigated the potential application of computerized cognitive training in improving geriatric depression. This invaluable experience allowed her to follow the project from its conception, data collection, to finally writing up her own report and poster as student investigators. Aside from clinical research, there are also programmes that allow undergraduates to participate in basic biomedical research. In the first summer at CUHK, Katsie worked in the School of Biomedical Sciences as an intern under the summer research internship programme for 2 months. Working on a project involving fibroblast regeneration, she was able to participate and learn the laboratory skills required in each step, which gave her a perspective into biomedical sciences and made her realize the value of translational research in clinical medicine. “The Faculty is immensely generous in offering undergraduates opportunities to pursue their areas of interest. It is incredible how welcoming professors are to students who would like to explore academic research beyond the curriculum,” said Katsie.
The Faculty is intent on providing early research experience to students such that they can enrich their medical practice with biomedical knowledge and clinical research. A memorable part of Katsie’s university life was going to the summer school hosted by University of Utrecht together with students from Spain, Poland, France and many other countries. Taking a break from the usual medical curriculum, Katsie enrolled in courses on European politics and economics, where she visited the European Parliament in Brussels and many other important monuments that shaped the modern European cultural landscape. “It was a truly eye-opening summer, during which I had the privilege of learning from many brilliant minds and exchanging ideas with those who had grown up in an entirely different cultural and geographical background,” said Katsie.
Picture: Katsie visiting the European Parliament during her summer school at the University of Utrecht.
Tiffany, on the other hand, chose to indulge herself in a research internship at the University of California, San Diego, where she had the chance to attach to a renowned neuroscience lab, learning from expert researchers and high-caliber students from all over the world. Tiffany joined the team to study the potential use of bacteria-derived nerve growth factors in treating peripheral neuropathy. “The 8 weeks in San Diego encouraged me to step out of comfort zone as I immersed myself in a whole new academic culture,” said Tiffany.
Picture: Tiffany during her GPS research internship at Wu Lab, Department of Neurosciences, UC San Diego School of Medicine.
Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2022