Head: Professor W K Lam (2001 - 2004)

Message from the Prof WK Lam

The Department of Medicine underwent a major re-organization of administration in 2001. The previous Senior Staff Committee and Clinical Management Committee merged to form the Department Board. The Head of Department, who is responsible for all academic matters including teaching and research, also chairs the Department Board, whereas the Chief of Service (Prof K N Lai) is in charge of clinical services. The Deputy Head and COS are Prof Karen Lam and Dr Raymond Wong respectively. Five departmental committees have been formed to oversee matters relating to teaching, research, human resources, continuous professional education and IT, and each of the 14 subspecialties is headed by a division chief. E-administration has now been further strengthened with database established on staff teaching portfolios, research portfolios including grants and publications, and examination questions. Most communications within the Department are now electronic. 

With the new MBBS Curriculum initiated in 1997, the new curriculum in Medicine, which involves more than six other Hospital Authority hospitals (in addition to Queen Mary Hospital) and many family physicians and private sector medical specialists in teaching, have been implemented smoothly and successfully. The new final summative examination in Medicine, which combines continuous assessment with a MCQ paper, a short questions paper, a clinical competence test and an objective, structured clinical examination (OSCE Stations), has also been implemented since 2002, and has been highly commended by external examiners. 

Research has been vibrant and is largely collaborative and multidisciplinary with matrix interactions between our 6 research platforms (molecular medicine, immunology, cellular biology, medical physics, clinical trials methodology and epidemiological tools) and 14 clinical divisions and collaborations within and outside the University of Hong Kong. Currently we have over 25 national and about 40 international collaborative research projects ongoing. Significant boosters to our research infrastructure and capacity include our 1730 M2 new laboratory space in the New Laboratory Block in the New Faculty Building opened in mid-2002, our successful nurturing of research culture in HA colleagues, Departmental Research Mini-Grants from our Supplementary Account, and our Annual Research Conference which provides a forum for all academic staff, including senior academic staff, RAPs, PDFs, PGSs, HA colleagues, all mini-grants holders to meet and discuss. In 2003/04, we have been very successful in our RGC CERG exercise and secured over $11.3 M funding from 12 successful proposals. (P.S. In 2004-05, we further set our new record by securing $14.1 M funding from 13 successful proposals.) In the past two years alone, the Department has published over 560 peer-reviewed full publications including over 160 papers with impact factor > 5. 

In 2003, we stood up to the challenge of SARS, and our clinical staff , led by Associate Professor Ken Tsang, were in the forefront of the clinical battlefield and demonstrated the highest level of professionalism. In the end, we also published over 20 papers on the epidemiology, diagnosis, clinical features, and management of SARS, including one in the New England Journal of Medicine, and one in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the two top journals in internal medicine. 

Currently, the Department is adapting itself to the re-organization of the Faculty of Medicine including formation of five Research Centres basing on 5 research themes of Healthy Aging, Cancer, Infection and Immunology, Public Health, Reproduction, Growth & Development. Another great challenge is the funding reductions faced by the University – on top of a salary cut of 6% spreading over two years 2004 – 2005. Two Chair Professors will be retiring in the summer of 2004, and all vacant posts will now go back to the University Central. The Department is prepared to face all these challenges, and will strive to work with all colleagues in the Faculty to achieve our mission of making our Medical School among the best in the world.