Message from the President, Dr. Donald Li, May 2013
Dear Fellows and colleagues,
The maintenance and renovation work at the Academy Building has commenced since April. After 15 years, a lot of repairs and upgrading are necessary. We have spent almost 6 months planning for the changes. I have been personally involved, and after seeking comments and opinions of College representatives and Fellows, I was reminded to be sensitive to their expectations regarding the changes I plan to make. Rest assured the mission of the Academy of Medicine as a statutory body established and empowered to set and maintain standards for the training of specialists will always remain and be upheld by your President, Officers, and Council. Ultimately the objective of the renovation is to provide an improved modernised venue for examinations, continuing medical education, and continuous professional development activities for our Fellows. Hopefully the improvements will make Fellows feel “more at home”, such that they will make the Academy more attractive simply to come to for a drink or social gathering. Of course the other important task of the renovation is to set up the Simulation Centre on the 7th floor, and hopefully this will be ready in time for the 20th Anniversary celebration in December.
During the period of renovation work, there will be inconveniences, for which I urge all of you to bear with us. We have made careful plans to avoid major disruption to day-to-day College activities. All staff have been alerted to make sure examinations, meetings etc can still be carried out in appropriate rooms.
I feel that it is important for the Academy to remain well connected with Government and public bodies, academic institutions and organisations both locally and internationally. Since January, the Council has hosted four dinners with guests from the Food and Health Bureau, the Department of Health, the Hospital Authority, and the Medical and Dental Councils. It has been an effective way to improve communication and pave the way for future cooperation. In the future we intend to continue the dinners after Council meetings, so as to meet with other important stakeholders and partners. The highlight, however, will be a dinner in the summer to honour outstanding young Fellows, which will be to recognise those who have demonstrated outstanding achievements through receiving honours and prizes from their respective colleges. We are privileged to have good support from our resident kitchen staff and caterers, who are able to offer something special to our dinner guests at modest cost. We are thus able to be generous hosts without extravagance. Trying to offer the best we can afford is a show of respect to our honoured guests and not a show of opulence. I hope this will alleviate the worries of those with concerns.
Recently, I led a delegation to study simulation training at the Centre for Medical Simulation (CMS) in Boston so as to gain knowledge in the setting up of such a facility at the Academy. This was an eye-opening experience and we were truly inspired. One important message I came away with was that a prime objective of simulation training was to improve patient safety. The CMS started its work encouraged by medical insurance companies that were willing to reduce indemnity premiums for those who underwent simulation training, for example in anaesthesia. During a recent meeting with the Medical Protection Society (MPS), I immediately introduced this idea for discussion, and it was well received. I hope we can have more discussions with the MPS when the Simulation Centre becomes a reality. During my trip to Boston I also spent an afternoon at the Harvard School of Public Health and learnt quite a lot about disaster preparedness and management, and the value of simulation training in these areas. It was indeed also a valuable continuous professional development exercise for me to learn about environmental epigenetics, intergeneration inequality issues of the ageing population, as well as the extinction of bees as a result of pesticides. After the Boston visit, Vice President Prof CS Lau and I attended the annual meeting of the American College of Physicians (ACP) in San Francisco. This was truly an international gathering of medical leaders and a great opportunity to network. I am happy to report that the ACP and others from the UK, Australia, Thailand, and elsewhere have promised to send representatives to our 20th Anniversary Conference in December.
In conclusion, as we prepare to celebrate the achievements of the Academy and the hard work of everyone concerned with it over the past 20 years, we can see that improvements and changes are inevitable. As your President, let me assure you that whatever changes I propose will be for the better and sensitive to the aspirations of all its stakeholders.
Dr Donald Li