The Department of Anatomy recently organised the Human Anatomy Expo between 5th- 7th January 2023 at the Human Anatomy Lab. The 3-day expo was open from 10 am to 4.30 pm.
The department has been organising similar exhibitions for the past few years. However, this year, the exhibition was open to the public for the first time to promote education regarding human anatomy, as well as to create awareness and generate interest in the sciences and medical field among children.
There were some exciting and eye-catching booths throughout the event, which included videos presentations, book sales, photobooths, and games with prizes. Visitors had the opportunity to take a closer look at preserved body parts such as a 45-year-old human brain (dissected in half to show what it looks like on the inside), and the growth stages of a human baby. Two microscopes were also prepared for visitors to view different cellular morphologies of tissue samples from different parts of the human body. Another highlight of the Expo was the opportunity to touch a real cadaver that has been preserved!
The expo also coincided with an organ donation campaign where visitors could pledge to donate their organs.
The Annual Universiti Malaya Research Carnival 2022 (UMRC 2022) with the theme “Connect, Engage, Partner: Accelerating Research Excellence” was held from 8th-10th January 2023. During this carnival, a competition called My UM Pitch, was held at the Dewan Tunku Chancellor on 9th January 2023. The competition aimed to provide a great platform for academicians and researchers (including post-doctoral and research fellows) to exercise their communication skills through a three-minute presentation using language that was comprehensible for a non-specialist audience.
Two academics from the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Chong Pan Pan from The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Dr. Bavani Arumugam from the Department of Biomedical Science, successfully secured the 1st and 2nd prize in the competition respectively. Dr. Chong’s award winning project was on “Autologous and Allogeneic Platelet-derived Extracellular Vesicles (P-EV) for the Repair of Knee Cartilage Injury and Osteoarthritis”, while Dr. Bavani’s project was on “Oral Insulin for Diabetes Therapy: A Point Mutation (Lys29Arg) Approach”. The prizes secured by both women were a RM30,000 and a RM20,000 research grant respectively.
Phase 3 of Etiqa's Free Cervical Screening Programme with the ROSE Foundation (Removing Obstacles to Cervical ScrEening), was officially launched by YAB Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Dr. Wan Ismail, Patron of PUSPANITA (Wives of Civil Servants and Women Civil Servants Association) as part of concerted efforts to eliminate cervical cancer in Malaysia. Funded by Etiqa and implemented by the ROSE Foundation, the one-year nationwide programme is worth RM1.22 million, aiming to screen 5,500 eligible women aged 30 to 65 from identified B40 communities.
Phase 3 of the programme introduces an on-site colposcopy treatment for women which includes an initial assessment using a mobile colposcopy device that produces high quality images of the cervix. Upon assessment, patients with pre-cancer virus will be treated at the location using a Portable Thermal Coagulator. Apart from providing an innovative solution to detecting pre-cancer-causing HPV viruses in women, the programme will now empower women to get themselves treated, which will eventually help to save more lives.
The event was graced by YAB Dato’ Seri Dr Wan Azizah Dr Wan Ismail, Patron of PUSPANITA (Wives of Civil Servants and Women Civil Servants Association). Also present at the event were Datuk R. Karunakaran, Chairman of Maybank Ageas Holdings Berhad (the parent company of Etiqa General Insurance Berhad, Etiqa Life Insurance Berhad, Etiqa General Takaful Berhad, and Etiqa Family Takaful Berhad), Paul Low Hong Ceong, Chief Executive Officer of Etiqa Life Insurance Berhad, Professor Dato’ Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Chair of the ROSE Foundation, Professor Dr. Woo Yin Ling, Founder and Trustee of the ROSE Foundation, and Puan Sri To’ Puan Seri Norizam binti Che Mohd Nor, Yang DiPertua of PUSPANITA.
The Rose Foundation hopes to reach more Malaysian women and their family members by providing accessible screening and a treatment facility. Professor Dato’ Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Chair of the ROSE Foundation said, “Thanks to Etiqa’s sponsorship, we are pleased to introduce the Mobile Colposcopy equipment that enables the volunteer medical teams to travel to rural/interior communities and treat the women screened who are HPV positive. With this new equipment, they can receive appropriate support, treatment and care.”
“Program ROSE embraces all aspects of cervical cancer screening that integrates self-sampling, primary HPV testing and the digital health platform using mobile technology, and ensuring women who require follow-up are linked to care for treatment,” she added.
Professor Dr. Woo Yin Ling, Founder and Trustee of the ROSE Foundation said that “Program ROSE has achieved another milestone in cervical screening with the mobile colposcopy, and is a step up in our outreach programme that allows on-site medical treatment for women tested positive with HPV, particularly in reaching out to remote rural areas. With the mobile colposcopy, Program ROSE can return to the location after the initial HPV PCR self-sampling screening and provide treatment for those tested HPV positive on-site. This helps boost the women’s confidence as they would be receiving linkage to care and further follow-up treatment, which is Program ROSE’s integrated approach for cervical screening.”
Thus far, Program ROSE has been introduced to over 150 health clinics across 12 states. 28 ROSE-friendly government hospitals with over 90 healthcare professionals are now engaged to provide follow-up treatment for women who have been tested positive through our programme. We are grateful for their extended support structure and achievements for Program ROSE.
The ROSE Foundation was established in 2019 as a company limited by guarantee and as a charitable foundation in Malaysia. It is a joint venture between Universiti Malaya and the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer (formerly known as VCS, Victorian Cytology Service Inc.). The ROSE Foundation has set itself the ambitious goal of making Malaysia one of the first nations in the region to be free of cervical cancer. Program ROSE offers women the choice of using a self-swab: a quick, convenient and effective approach to enable molecular tests to be undertaken, followed by prompt delivery of results straight to women's mobile phones.
The Alliance of Academic Health Centers International, also known as AAHCI, was established in 2007 as the international arm of the Association of Academic Health Centers, or AAHC. Its original goal was to encourage international cooperation and the advancement of organizational strategy and management proficiency. AAHCI serves as a forum for leaders from developed and emerging academic health centers and systems worldwide to communicate, exchange best practices, and explore various topics, several of which are specific to academic health centers. In 2022, AAHC/I merged with the Association of American Medical Colleges. AAHCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
The AAHCI Regional Offices serve the geographic region while maintaining a close tie with the AAHCI headquarters in Washington DC, USA. The AAHCI Southeast Asia Regional Office's duties include coordinating regional conferences and events, promoting discourse on critical topics relevant to academic health centers and systems in Southeast Asia, aiding in the evolution of AAHCI initiatives, and enhancing connections between present and potential AAHC and AAHCI affiliates. The AAHCI SEA Regional Office is currently hosted by the Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia and Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya will undertake the role as the next AAHCI SEA Regional Office coming July 2023.
The 2023 AAHCI SEA Regional Meeting organised by Universitas Indonesia was held on 11th – 12th January 2023 in Bali, Indonesia. This event was the first in-person meetings for all the members since Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible to have such gatherings. The theme of the meeting was ‘Partnerships for Preparedness: Improving Response and Recovery in the Southeast Asia Region and Globally.’ The meeting provided academic health center leaders an opportunity to gather and explore the challenges facing their health systems. Session topics include residency programs, medical education, leadership training, and many more.
Delegates from Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya were Professor Dr. April Camilla Roslani (Dean), Professor Dr. Yazid Jalaludin (Deputy Dean of Undergraduate), Professor Dr. Jamuna Vadivelu (Head of MERDU), Assoc. Prof. Dr. N. Vairavan (Head of IUFOM) and Ms. Caroline Chin (Assistant Registrar of PNP). Besides meeting the leaders from various member institutions to discuss and share knowledge, the FOM delegates also had a meeting with the current AAHCI SEA Regional Office host and the Director of the AAHCI to discuss the next steps for FOM to assume the role as the AAHCI SEA Regional Office for a 2-year term.
The Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Sumatera Utara (USU) organized an entomology workshop in collaboration with Universiti Malaya (Malaysia), James Cook University (Australia), and the National Research and Innovation Agency (Indonesia) in January 2023. The workshop was carried out for a week from 16th- 20th January 2023 at the Faculty of Medicine, USU in Medan, Indonesia. The workshop was officiated by Dr. Inke Nadia Diniyanti Lubis, the Deputy Dean of USU. This workshop aimed to enhance the knowledge and skills of participants in morphological and molecular identification of mosquitoes, both in the field, and in the laboratory. The workshop was facilitated by four facilitators from Indonesia and Malaysia, namely Dr. Triwibowo Ambargarjito and Mr. Mujiyono from the National Research and Innovation Agency, as well as Dr. Wong Meng Li and Dr. Nanthakumar Jeyaprakasam from Universiti Malaya. The entomology workshop was attended by lecturers, postgraduate students, research assistants, and government officers.
The workshop was divided into two components. The first component encompassed lectures in morphological and molecular identification, mosquito dissection, and blood meal analysis, whereas the second component is comprised of practical sessions, where the participants acquired hands-on experience on mosquito morphology identification, mosquito dissection, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) extraction from mosquitoes, and molecular identification using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In addition, blood-meal analysis and sequence alignment analysis were included. Besides knowledge and experience sharing, this workshop also served as a platform for future cross-national collaborations between Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia.
On 18th January 2023, the Faculty hosted the Certificate Presentation and Pledge Recitation Ceremony to celebrate the Final Year MBBS Students of the 2020/2021 academic session. The event was officiated by Universiti Malaya Pro-Chancellor Toh Puan Dr. Aishah Ong. In attendance was Professor Dr. Yatimah Alias, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic & International), Professor Dr. April Camilla Roslani, Dean of Faculty of Medicine, as well as over 100 participants including students and members of the Faculty.
On 27th January 2023, the Department of Parasitology’s Journal Club held a seminar on "Application of Spatio-Temporal Epidemiology Analysis in Tropical Disease", presented by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Romano Ngui via Zoom. He began the session by outlining the basic concept of spatial-temporal epidemiology. Spatial-temporal refers to an analysis method that uses data collected across time and space and has at least one spatial and temporal property, while epidemiology refers to the understanding of risk factors or the effect of intervention. The transmission of infectious diseases is closely linked to the concept of spatial and temporal proximity. By using the Geographic Information System (GIS), a type of database containing geographic data, we are able to create, manage, analyze, and map all types of data to help understand patterns, relationships, and their geographic context. In 1854, John Snow used the power of mapping to determine the root cause of a cholera outbreak in London, ultimately revealing contaminated water as the source of the epidemic.
In this seminar, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Romano also shared some of his collaborative work with other researchers to map the geographical distribution of infectious diseases and their associated vectors, including soil-transmitted helminthiases, leptospirosis, malaria, and dengue. One of his studies which utilised the GIS and geostatistical methods in determining the spatial dispersal of the dengue vector Ae. albopictus mosquitoes in residential areas have assisted health authorities in enhancing their current approach to vector control programmes. This was by performing more targeted residual spraying of Ae. albopictus resting sites, especially in high-density areas of the species and where hotspots have been identified. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Romano emphasised the GIS as an alternative tool for monitoring and controlling various infectious diseases, a powerful tool that has been successfully implemented to help address several major disease outbreaks (SARS and COVID-19), and a tool to provide information through the analysis of a particular disease's geographical and real-time distribution (spatial-temporal analysis).
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Romano Ngui obtained his Bachelor of Biomedical Science in 2008, Master of Medical Science in 2010 and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 2013 from Universiti Malaya, Malaysia. His PhD thesis has been awarded distinction by the Universiti Malaya. Currently, he is a senior lecturer at the Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya.
The Faculty held its Chinese New Year Celebration to welcome the Year of the Water Rabbit on 7th February 2023 at Centrepoint, FOM. The event was officiated by the Dean of Faculty of Medicine, Professor Dr. April Camilla Roslani in the presence of the FOM Management Committee. The majority in attendance, including the academic and support staff, as well as medical students, were all dressed in red as a sign of prosperity and good luck to usher in the new year. There was also a Lion Dance performance and Best Dressed competition organised to add to the festivities. Below are some of the highlights from the event.
Special thanks to members of the Dean’s Office and the FOM Technical team who worked tirelessly for days prior to the event to ensure that the event setup was well-organised and in order for the occasion.
The Department of ENT recently organised the Advanced Otology and Lateral Skull Base Workshop from 14th to 17th February 2023. The objective and outcomes of this workshop are to train current ENT Surgeons, as well as residents to the pearls and pitfalls of endoscopic surgery in Rhinology & Anterior Skullbase as well as Otology and Lateral Skullbase.
The skull base region is highly complex and requires significant training to master. Our ultimate goal is to ensure our participants are familiarised with the anatomy and surgical techniques used around the skull base, and to enhance their learning curve for future practice. The practice on cadavers ensures that they are able to perform these surgeries with no risk to any living patient and to finetune their surgical technique and skills.
The course was conducted by Professor Dato' Dr. Prepageran Narayanan, who is an expert in Anterior and Lateral Skullbase Surgery. He was assisted by Professor Dr. Tang Ing Ping (UNIMAS) who is also a renowned skullbase surgeon, based in Kuching, Malaysia. Other Faculty members include Assoc. Prof. Dr. Revadi Govindaraju, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jeyanthi Kulasegarah, Professor Dr. Zulkiflee Abu Bakar and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tengku Shahrizal Tengku Dato’ Omar.
The event began with a Welcome Address by the Main Dissector (Professor Dato' Dr Prepageran) to all 24 participants. For the Lateral Skull Base and Otology Setup, 12 participants were involved in the dissection, while others were observers. A majority of the participants were from abroad, which includes countries such as India and Pakistan, as well as countries from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The 4-day course contained a comprehensive itinerary, which were 2 days for Rhinology and anterior skull base, and 2 days for the Otology lateral skull base.
Malaria has remained a global challenge since 100 years ago as it causes high morbidity and mortality rate. On 15th February 2023, Professor Georges Snounou presented an overview of malaria control as part of the Breakfast@UMHealth, chaired by Professor Dr. Fong Mun Yik. He initiated the talk by explaining the Plasmodium life cycle. The malaria infection starts with a blood meal by the infected mosquito, then it transmits the parasites into the human body in the form of sporozoites where the parasites infect human liver cells, this then develops into mature schizonts, the burst of liver cells, followed by the parasitic infection to human erythrocytes. The erythrocytic cycle of parasites causes humans to experience disease and symptoms. Professor Georges also presented the Plasmodium landmark events from 1880 until the present day by showing the number of malaria article publications where we can see the publication numbers increased substantially for the last 20 years. This was followed by the presentation on the prevalence, and areas where malaria often occurred. He said the understanding of the malaria epidemiology can be simple as it involves malaria transmission to humans by mosquitoes, and the mosquitoes can also be infected by taking infected human blood which consists of gametocytes. However, it can also be complex given the diversity of the anopheline mosquito species in the environment with different factors.
The malaria controls involve drug prophylaxis and treatment, reducing man-mosquito contact and vaccine development. Malaria drugs were found every time a war occurred (World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War). Professor Georges explained that the major problem of malaria control is drug resistance. This was followed by the explanation of multiple malaria vaccine candidates targeted against the sporogonic, pre-erythrocytic and erythrocytic Plasmodium. To date, there is only one of these targeted antigens called circumsporozoite protein (CSP), which is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Professor Georges mentioned the major obstacle of malaria eradication specific to Southeast Asia which is the zoonotic infections that were caused by P. knowlesi and P. cynomolgi. He ended his talk by mentioning the future hopes for malaria elimination by new drugs and insecticides discovery, and implementations of the genetically modified mosquito population.Speaker’s Background
Professor Georges Snounou has been appointed as Research Director of Infectious Disease Models for Innovative Therapies (IDMIT) at Université Pierre et Marie Curie, CIMI-Paris, France since 1st January 2008. He is also the Head Unit of Comparative Parasitology and Experimental Models (USM 307), at the National Museum of Natural History, Paris, France from April 2004 until April 2008. Professor Georges has been dedicated to the research of Plasmodium protozoan parasites and the causative agents of malaria since 1984. His interest in these pathogens does not only rest on their major impact on Public Health, but also because they offer a quintessential model for fundamental biological studies.
Professor Georges obtained his PhD in Molecular Biology from University of London in 1984. He honed his molecular biology skills from 1984 to 2004 as a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Institute of Medical Research, Division of Parasitology, London, United Kingdom (1984 to 1994), Imperial College London, United Kingdom (1994 to 1999), and Institut Pasteur, Department of Parasitology, Paris, France (2000 to 2004). His research focuses on the understanding of the malaria infection from an epidemiological, immunological, clinical and biological perspective. He has devised tools and approaches that have been widely adopted by the malaria research community and now constitute a basis for the molecular epidemiological studies conducted on malaria. Professor Georges Snounou has authored over 300 peer-reviewed articles in international journals and he actively pursues the research that includes four broad topics: the genetic diversity of Plasmodium species, biology and immunology of the hepatic stage of the parasite, pathogenesis of cerebral malaria, and molecular characterization of Plasmodium species in higher primates.
The Asian Surgical Network Symposium was held in Singapore from 20th-21st February 2023, bringing together 46 surgical leaders and representatives from 17 institutions across Asia to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on surgical systems. The Symposium marked the progression of a global health research partnership spanning nine countries in Asia, aiming to understand the collateral impact of COVID-19 on surgical systems in the region.
The event was jointly organised by the Health Services Research Centre, SingHealth International Collaboration Office, and SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute, and was graced by Professor Kenneth Kwek, Deputy Group CEO, Innovation & Informatics, SingHealth, and CEO of the Singapore General Hospital. The symposium's Chairpersons, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tan Hiang Khoon, Group Director, ICO and Director, SDGHI, and Professor Pierce Chow, Academic Vice Chair, Research, Surgery Academic Clinical Programme, SingHealth, led the event.
On the first day of the Symposium, clinical leaders shared insights on the management of COVID-19 and its impact on health systems from four workstreams. These included The Impact of COVID-19 on the 3 Bellwether Surgeries, Breast Cancer Surgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic, The Impact of COVID-19 on Colorectal Cancer in South East Asia, and Surgical Systems Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Symposium served as an important platform for surgical leaders from across the region to come together and share their experiences in managing the impact of COVID-19 on their healthcare systems. Co-investigators who participated in the COVID-19 IMPACTS study had the opportunity to meet face-to-face for the first time.
The second day of the Symposium focused on addressing other pressing global surgical challenges in the region, going beyond studying the impact of COVID-19 on surgical services. The day consisted of in-depth discussions on how to collaborate to enhance surgical skills, strengthen surgical systems, drive surgical innovation, and facilitate patient empowerment.
The Symposium provided multiple opportunities for surgical leaders to discuss the future direction of collaboration and working together in global surgery initiatives. The event brought together experts from various fields of surgery, including breast surgery, colorectal surgery, and surgical systems response. The Faculty of Medicine team led by the Dean, Professor Dr. April Camilla Roslani, Deputy Dean, Professor Dr. Sanjay Rampal Lekhraj Rampal, and consultant Breast Surgeon, Assoc. Prof. Dr. See Mee Hoong, joined the symposium in their efforts to advance global initiatives on Workstreams 1, 2, 3, and 4.
The Symposium showcased the research work being done by the SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute and their partners in understanding the impact of COVID-19 on surgical systems. While collaborating for the past few years, communication had been by remote means due to travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic. The Symposium was a highly anticipated event, and it offered a full programme of in-depth panels, workgroups, and presentations. The event provided an opportunity for surgical leaders to learn from one another and develop strategies for overcoming challenges posed by the pandemic.
The Symposium was not just about discussing the impact of COVID-19 on surgical services, but it also highlighted the need to develop and strengthen surgical systems, skills, innovation, and patient empowerment. Participants shared their experiences and knowledge in handling the challenges of the pandemic and discussed possible solutions for the future. The Symposium provided an excellent opportunity to network and build relationships with fellow surgical leaders in the region. Collaborations and knowledge-sharing were at the forefront of the event, which bodes well for the future of global surgical initiatives.
In a nutshell, the Asian Surgical Network Symposium was a significant event that brought together surgical leaders from across Asia to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on surgical systems. The Symposium provided an opportunity for collaboration and knowledge-sharing, and it showcased the research work being done by the SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute and their partners. The Symposium's focus on addressing pressing global surgical challenges in the region demonstrated the commitment of surgical leaders to advancing the field and improving patient outcomes.
The Clinical Ethics Grand Round Series is a bimonthly event organized by the Medical Humanities and Ethics Unit (MedHEU) at the Faculty of Medicine, held on the last Thursday of the month from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. The series kicked off in 2023 with a session focused on the ethical complexities and issues faced by clinicians providing healthcare to undocumented children in Malaysia.
Undocumented children often lack access to health insurance and social welfare programs, making it difficult for them to obtain essential health services. They may also struggle to attend school or access other educational opportunities, which can have long-term effects on their prospects. Clinicians have a moral obligation to provide care to all patients, including undocumented children, but the legal and healthcare systems can create challenges.
This session, moderated by Dr. Chong Lee Ai, Consultant Paediatric Palliative Care at UMMC, began with a narrative case presentation by Dr. Sheila Gopal Krishnan, Head of the Pediatrics Department at Hospital Seri Manjung. Other experts, including Professor Dr. Mary Joseph Marret, Consultant Pediatrician at UMMC, and Ms. Sharmila Sekaran, Chairperson of the Voice of the Children, joined in to discuss the challenges and propose ways to provide compassionate, ethical, and culturally appropriate care that respects the fundamental human rights of undocumented children. About 40 participants from a diverse background of professional affiliations attended the webinar and contributed towards a meaningful and fruitful discussion.
The Clinical Ethics Grand Rounds Series is a Continuing Medical Education (CME) initiative that features a variety of clinical ethics topics from a diverse group of esteemed speakers. It aims to help healthcare professionals keep up with the latest advances in medicine while guiding them through everyday ethical dilemmas. The series provides a forum for participants to learn how to resolve cases based on the best ethical practices. All healthcare professionals, including physicians, clinicians, biomedical researchers, nurses, ethicists, philosophers, and students, are welcome to attend. Those interested in presenting at future sessions can contact MedHEU by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
On 24th February 2023, the Faculty of Medicine hosted a visit by delegates from the Defence Services Medical Academy, The Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Professor Dr. Saw Aik and Professor Dr. Sanjay Rampal Lekhraj Rampal were the hosts where the representatives were given a briefing of the teaching and research conducted as well as a tour of the facilities around the faculty.
Professor Dr. April Camilla Roslani, Dean of Faculty of Medicine, presented her annual Majlis Amanat Dekan Tahun 2023 on 28th February 2023 to the Faculty both physically at the Auditorium TJ Danaraj, as well as virtually on YouTube. Professor Dr. April began her presentation by sharing the Universiti Malaya Transformation Plan 2021-2030 and the nine focus areas of the UM-Health project. The goal of the UM Health Ecosystem is to facilitate and encourage optimal education, research and clinical outcomes. It is envisioned to enhance community wellbeing by delivering efficient, comprehensive and patient-centred clinical care; nurturing and developing future-ready graduates by offering high quality educational programmes; and develop and share innovative solutions for the world’s healthcare challenges.
In order to create the foundation of this future eco-system, the ecosystem shall provide a platform for UM collaborations, share public and private facilities, extend partner networks, develop ventures and specialty centres, and expand across satellites.
Key Features of the Future UM Health include:
The UM Health Programme (UMHP), an initiative consisting of five entities (Universiti Malaya Medical Centre, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Dentistry, Faculty of Pharmacy and UM Specialist Centre), had initiated Phase 3 of its planning via the UMHP 3 Feet Plan Workshop with the respective Head Entities, held on 30th August 2022 at the Pullman Hotel, Bangsar. The objective of this workshop was to consolidate all identified initiatives and to finalize the 3 Feet Plan. From this workshop, the team had identified 35 Immediate Term initiatives to be included in the concept paper for approval by the Universiti Malaya Higher Management Council (UMHMC). These initiatives included Telemedicine, UM Health Talent – Upskilling & Reskilling, Culture Transformation, Key Critical Behaviour, Grant Allocation, Philanthropy and Budget 2023.
Professor Dr. April also revisited the four thrusts of the FOM Strategic Plan 2021-2025, which are People & Empowerment, Academic Excellence, Impactful Global Research and Infrastructure & Financial Sustainability. From these four thrusts, twelve goals and strategies were devised to address: Sustainable Leadership, Talent Management, Culture and Legacy, High-Value Academic Programmes, Outstanding Teaching & Learning Experience, Student Empowerment, Skilled & Ethical Researchers, Interdisciplinary Research Partnership, Equitable Research Ecosystem, Efficient Fund Management, Sustainable Income Generation, and Enhanced Facility & Space Utilisation.
A summary of all Faculty events, infrastructure upgrades, mental health initiatives, results of the Employee Satisfaction and Happiness Survey 2022, and achievements by the Faculty, Departments as well as Academic Staff and students in 2022 were also presented. Moving forward, she reported on the planning phase of the updated Universiti Malaya Medical Programme (UMMP), which aims to address the bottleneck between the number of UMMP graduates with availability of permanent posts for medical officers, and the evolving medical community demands for multidisciplinary perspectives.
The Regional Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) Symposium 2022 was a two-day event held on December 1st and 2nd. The theme of the symposium was "A venture into a multidisciplinary application," and it was chaired by Dr. Teoh Li Ying and advised by Assoc. Prof. Dr. See Mee Hoong from the Breast Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery, UM, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Khong Tak Loon, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yoong Book Koon, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rozita Abdul Malik, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vairavan Narayanan.
The symposium was organized by the UM Faculty of Medicine, with co-organizers including the Breast Chapter College of Surgeons, Academy of Medicine Malaysia, Malaysian Oncological Society (MOS), Malaysian Association of Medical Physics (MAMP), Malaysian Nursing Association (MNA), Malaysian Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Surgeons Society (MyHPB), and the Neurosurgical Association of Malaysia (NAM).
The first day of the symposium began with a welcome reception, followed by opening remarks from Assoc. Prof. Dr. See Mee Hoong, the main advisor of the event. The Deputy Dean of Faculty of Medicine, UM, Professor Dr. Ong Teng Aik, delivered the officiating speech. The first plenary session of the day focused on IORT in colorectal cancer. Professor Dr. William Small from Loyola University, Chicago, USA, discussed the challenges of IORT in rectal carcinoma, followed by Dr. Sandya Subramaniam from the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, who gave an overview of the outcomes of IORT among rectal cancer patients in Malaysia based on institutional experience.
The second plenary session of the day focused on IORT in pancreatic cancer. Professor William Small also discussed the role of IORT in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, followed by a keynote lecture by Professor Dr. Jayant S Vaidya from University College London, UK, on TARGIT-A IORT for low-risk early breast cancer. Professor JS. Park from South Korea presented on Intraoperative Radiotherapy for Resectable Pancreatic Cancer, followed by Professor William Small's discussion on IORT in the treatment of head and neck cancer.
The third plenary session of the day focused on IORT in breast surgery. Professor Yip Cheng Har from the Subang Jaya Medical Centre discussed the evolution of Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) in breast cancer. Dr. P. Lara gave a virtual presentation on the radioimmunological basis for IORT in breast cancer. Professor Dr. Jayant S Vaidya gave a virtual lecture on the role of IORT in high-risk early breast cancer, followed by Professor William Small's discussion on the targeted IORT tumor bed boost during BCS after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Assoc. Prof. Dr. See Mee Hoong gave an update on the multicentre study on the evidence of IORT application among Malaysians.
The second day of the symposium featured a plenary live surgery session for breast IORT in the operating theater. Assoc. Prof. Dr. See Mee Hoong led the live surgery in the Breast OT at Menara Selatan, OT3. Participants could observe the live surgery and learn the steps to set up IORT services.
The concurrent session on the second day focused on IORT in neurosurgery. Professor Dr. Frank Giordano with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vairavan discussed IORT in brain metastases, rationale, and initial results. He also presented on IORT in primary GBM-INTRAGO and the introduction to ZEISS CONVIVO In-Vivo Pathology Suite ZEISS. The successful Neuro IORT program and Kypho-IORT for localized spine metastases was also discussed.
In a nutshell, the Regional IORT Symposium 2022 was a highly successful event that brought together experts in the field of intraoperative radiotherapy from across the Asia Pacific region and beyond. The theme of the symposium, "A venture into a multidisciplinary application," was well-chosen, as it highlighted the diverse range of applications for IORT and the many different specialties that can benefit from this innovative technique.
Over the course of two days, attendees were treated to a rich and varied program that included plenary sessions, live surgeries, and concurrent sessions covering a wide range of topics related to IORT. The speakers were all highly knowledgeable and engaging, and the discussions were lively and informative.
The symposium provided an excellent opportunity for attendees to learn from each other and to share their own experiences and insights. It also served as a valuable platform for networking and collaboration, which will no doubt lead to many exciting new developments in the field of IORT in the years to come.
Overall, the Regional IORT Symposium 2022 was a resounding success, and its organizers and Zeiss as the main sponsor should be commended for their hard work and dedication in bringing together such a high-quality event. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for the field of IORT and to attending future symposia and conferences.
On 1st March 2023, a delegation of five academic and administrative staff from Stikes Panakkukang Makassar, Indonesia (Panakkukang is a district in the city of Makassar, South Sulawesi) visited the Faculty of Medicine (FOM), University Malaya. The purpose of their visit was to learn and understand the ins and outs of the admission process into the UM Medical Programme as well as the courses conducted by the University in order to prepare graduates for the field. The session was chaired by Professor Dr. Shahrul Bahyah Kamaruzzaman, Deputy Dean of Postgraduate Studies, FOM, Universiti Malaya.
Stikes Panakkukang Makassar is a private university under the auspices of the Indonesian National Nursing Association (PPNI) and the Nursing Foundation South Sulawesi (YPSS) which organizes universities in health-related fields, especially for the Nursing, and Medical Records and Health Information programs. STIKES specifically focuses on the National Nursing D3 study program, which was first introduced in 1991 under the name Akademi Keperawatan (AKPER) Panakkukang Makassar. The Medical Record and Health Information study program was established in 1998, under the name Medical Recording and Information Academy Health (APIKES) Panakkukang Makassar. Both study programs are offered in private universities and higher education institutions throughout Sulawesi, and STIKES is the first to offer the Medical Record and Health Information in higher education in South Sulawesi.
The Vision of STIKES Panakkukang Makassar is to be an educational institution that produces healthcare professionals with a global vision and excellence in Eastern Indonesia.
To learn more about STIKES, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgmv1LOC4XQ
On 6th March 2023, the Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence-Based Practice (CEBP) organized a webinar titled ‘Optimizing HIV Research and Practice Impact in Resource-Limited Settings’, hosted by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rafdzah Zaki, Head of CEBP and moderator Dr. Rumana Akhter Saifi, Assoc. Director of Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS (CERIA). Dato’ Professor Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Director of CERIA, sadly had to opt out of the webinar due to urgent matters.
The webinar intended to explore the challenges and opportunities in HIV research and public health practice in resource-limited settings. Latest advances in HIV prevention, treatment, and care were heavily discussed where strategies were examined to maximize impact. Professor Dr. Sten H Vermund, Professor Dr. Frederick Altice and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sheela Shenoi makes up the expert panel that were invited to lead this discussion, all hailing from the Yale School of Public Health, Yale University, USA.
Dr. Rumana and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rafdzah began the webinar with a welcome introduction, which was then followed by the scheduled segments from the three guest speakers. Then this was immediately followed by a question and answer session that was open to the audience who had been listening in to the live session.
The webinar concluded with closing remarks from Dr. Rumana and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rafdzah.
UMeHealth organized a two-day visit by 6 delegates from The N.1 Institute for Health and The Institute for Digital Medicine (WisDM), National University of Singapore on 6th and 7th March 2023. This visit was a follow-up to an online meeting UMeHealth and N.1/WisDM had in November 2022. The objective of the visit by N.1/WisDM was to explore further the potential collaborative research opportunities with experts in Universiti Malaya and exchange notes on advancing digital health solutions in this region.
The delegates from N1/WisDM were led by Professor Dean Ho, Provost’s Chair Professor, Director of The Institute for Digital Medicine (WisDM) at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine; Director of The N.1 Institute for Health (N.1), and Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the National University of Singapore. The other delegates were Assoc. Prof. Agata Blasiak (Health of Digital Health Innovation at the N.1 and WisDM), Dr. V Vien Lee (research fellow at N.1), Dr. Kirthika Senthil Kumar (research fellow at N.1), Mr. Yoann Sapanel (Head of Health Innovation at WisDM) and Mr. Shang Wei Song (research engineer at N.1). The N.1. Institute for Health (N.1) is a clinical stage research institute focused on N-of-1 medicine.
This meeting was open to all faculty members in FOM. UMMC and UMeHealth’s collaborators from the Faculty of Computer Science & Information Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Science were also invited to meet the team from N.1/WisDM. UMHealth was honoured to have Professor Dr. Ong Teng Aik, the Deputy Dean of Value Creation & Enterprise, give an opening remark and welcome the delegates and invited guests. On the second day of visit, the delegates had discussions with several academicians from various interest research groups. The visit ended with the agreement to sign an MoU to formalize the foundation for further exploration in the shared interests, namely AI in oncology, digital health for infectious diseases, and for rehabilitation.
The 4th Symposium on Intelligent Data Science for Radiological Imaging (iDSRI) took place on 7th March 2023, at the Department of Biomedical Imaging, FOM, Universiti Malaya. This successful event was jointly organized by Universiti Malaya and Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan, with the collaboration of the Medical Physics Division of the Malaysian Institute of Physics and the Department of Biomedical Imaging, FOM, Universiti Malaya. The primary objective of the symposium was to foster research and teaching cooperation in medical physics between the two universities.
The symposium marked the culmination of a long-standing partnership between Universiti Malaya and Kyushu University, which began with the signing of a memorandum of understanding. In 2017, Professor Dr. Arimura and his team made their inaugural visit, initiating a research collaboration in radiomics.
The symposium followed a hybrid format and featured seven distinguished speakers. The invited speakers included Professor Dr. Hidetaka Arimura, Assistant Professor Dr. Masatoshi Kondo, and Mr. Takumi Kodama from Kyushu University, as well as Emeritus Professor Dr. Kwan Hoong Ng, Dr. Li Kuo Tan, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mee Hoong See, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohammad Nazri Md Shah from Universiti Malaya. Dr. Jeannie Wong and Dr. Tan chaired the symposium, which attracted approximately 60 attendees, both online, and in person.
During the symposium, various topics were presented and discussed. Professor Arimura shared the accomplishments and challenges of their radiomics AI research. Professor Ng focused on the integration of humanistic artificial intelligence in medicine. Dr. Kondo emphasized the significance of big data in data science research, including his work on the reuse of dual-energy data. Dr. Tan presented on the dual use of imaging data, specifically the generation of digitally reconstructed radiographs from contrasted computed tomography volumetric data. Assoc. Prof. Dr. See, a breast surgeon, spoke about her research in 3D breast reconstruction using photogrammetry. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohammad Nazri, a nuclear medicine radiologist, discussed PET-CT scan time optimization and its impact on patient throughput and image quality. Mr. Kodama presented his research on the application of topology radiomics to predict cancer relapse in non-small cell lung cancer.
To conclude the symposium, Emeritus Professor Ng shared a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery's "The Little Prince": "Your task in the future is not to predict it, but to enable it." He emphasized the importance of enabling research for the betterment of humanity and encouraged everyone to be enablers themselves.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Often heralded as the silent thief of sight, those affected do not realise they have the condition until the disease is advanced. By then, their vision is impaired to the extent that simple day-to-day tasks are severely affected. Due to the irreversible nature of the condition, prognosis is guarded at this late stage despite medical or surgical treatment.
Every year, the Ophthalmology Department of Universiti Malaya takes part in World Glaucoma Week, a global initiative to raise awareness of glaucoma in each of our communities. This year, our awareness and screening program was held at the MBPJ Hall in Petaling Jaya on 11th March 2023. Our industry partners also contributed by sponsoring equipment and manpower for the event.
The event kicked off with a welcome speech by Professor Dr. Norlina Ramli, our head of the Department of Ophthalmology in UMMC. Following that, there was an educational talk by Dr. Zulhilmi Abdul Razak, our current glaucoma fellow. Around 80 locals participated in the event, the majority of whom had never had eye screening prior. Upon screening, those who were found to be at high risk and glaucoma suspects were given referral letters for further evaluation at any Eye Clinic, PPUM included.
Overall, it was a fruitful day for both the organisers and participants alike. We hope to be able to reach more communities next year and help to reduce the burden of glaucoma in Malaysia. Kudos to the Medical Officers in Ophthalmology for organizing the event, and ward staff nurses and medical students for their contribution to this event.
On 13th March 2023, two delegates from Maastricht University, Netherlands visited the Faculty to discuss the potential to collaborate academically with FOM, in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies. The session was chaired by Professor Dr. Muhammad Yazid Jalaludin, Deputy Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and Professor Dr. Shahrul Bahyah Kamaruzzaman, Deputy Dean of Postgraduate Studies.
Maastricht University currently ranks 145th in the latest edition of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. Located in Maastricht, Netherlands, the university was founded in 1976, and it is the second youngest of the thirteen Dutch universities. The Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML) was established in 2007 as a merger between the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine. Not only do they offer a broad range of disciplines in healthcare sciences, their education format allows students to integrate their discipline and research work into all areas related to society, health and disease. They also have a dedicated Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (FPN) which specialises in two contemporary approaches in psychology: cognitive psychology and biological psychology. Specialisations include cognitive neuroscience, fundamental neuroscience, neuropsychology, drug development and neurohealth, neuroeconomics, and psychopathology.
On 14th March 2023, 13 delegates from Universitas AirLangga, Indonesia, visited the FOM. They were greeted by Professor Dr. April Camilla Roslani, Dean of Faculty of Medicine, and was given a brief introduction about the history of FOM, its academic pursuits and research endeavors. The delegation was also given a tour of the Faculty, visiting both the Department of Biomedical Science, and the Department of Molecular Medicine to view the facilities and gain a deeper understanding of the research conducted.
Airlangga University is the second-oldest public university in Indonesia, located in Surabaya, East Java. Despite being officially established by the Indonesian Government Regulation in 1954, Universitas Airlangga was first founded in 1948 as a distant branch of the University of Indonesia, with roots dating back to 1913. Consistently ranked highly in major world university rankings, Universitas Airlangga has long been considered one of the "Big 5" Universities in Indonesia.
The QS Asia University Rankings 2023 has ranked Universitas Airlangga as number 81. The Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Pharmacy are among the best life science schools in Indonesia. Their Faculty of Medicine is affiliated with the Dr. Soetomo Regional General Hospital, the biggest hospital in Eastern Indonesia, and one of the central referral-hospitals in Indonesia.
The Faculty of Medicine held its Gala Dinner on 18th March 2023 at the Dewan Tunku Canselor, UM. Professor Dr. April Camilla Roslani welcomed everyone to the event with her opening speech, followed by a speech by Professor Dr. Tengku Shahrizal, the Gala Dinner Director. The VIP of the night was Toh Puan Dato' Seri Hajjah Dr. Aishah Ong, Pro-Chancellor of Universiti Malaya.
The main purpose of the FOM Gala Dinner was to assist our faculty in raising funds for the upkeep/upgrade of learning facilities for students, as well as uplift the welfare of underprivileged students. This was also an opportunity for faculty members and departments to contribute and/or engage with philanthropists and corporations to donate as part of our fundraising efforts. Both faculty staff (academic & non-academic) and students performed throughout the event in the spirit of working together for this cause, paired with a scrumptious selection of dining delights. There were also a plethora of lucky draw prizes handed out throughout the night.
The list performances for the night included:
To view the video of the event, visit https://youtu.be/v9Ad_irHO9I
On 21st March 2023, five delegates from the Chongqing City Council, China visited FOM with the purpose of forging a potential collaboration between universities in the city and UM. The delegates were greeted by Professor Dr. Ong Teng Aik, Deputy Dean (Value Creation and Enterprise). The delegates were given a comprehensive overview of the programmes, research, as well as the facilities in the Faculty. The municipality of Chongqing, roughly the size of Austria, includes the city of Chongqing as well as various other cities. Chongqing is the fourth largest Chinese city by urban population, with a population size of 16.34 million as of the 2020 estimation, after Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen. There are over 25 universities in Chongqing itself, including Chongqing University, Chongqing University of Science and Technology, and Chongqing Medical University.
On 29th March 2023, The Department of Parasitology Journal Club organized a talk by Professor Dr. Suresh Kumar Govind on E.A.S.E for better well-being. He initiated the talk by highlighting the examples of stresses in our lives and the effects of stress on our body, especially to our heart. He defined the term psychoneuroimmunology, the neurotransmitters and neuropeptide receptors found on the cell wall of the immune system, implying the communication between the nervous system and our immune system. He gives a solution to manage stress by implementing E.A.S.E in our daily life.
E - Exercise Regularly. It was shocking to know that globally, one-third of the world population is physically inactive and physical inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor of mortality. Some of the benefits of regular exercise include reducing cardiovascular disease, strengthening bone and lowers the risk of metabolic diseases namely diabetes. Exercise relieves stress as it pumps endorphins – which improve our moods. He explained that past studies have shown that athletes are known to have healthy bacterial species in their gut.
A - Attitude. To have a positive attitude is important to stay happy and healthy. The energy we release is the energy we get back, hence positive thoughts will have positive energy and negative thoughts will do the opposite. So, positive thoughts are known to lower the rates of depression and will have a better effect on stress management.
S - Sleep deeply. He emphasizes on the importance of having a good sleep. Lack of consistency in sleep quality will lead to mood swings and forgetfulness. He suggests practicing the following method to improve sleep quality: 10-3-2-1: not to consume caffeine 10 hours prior to sleep, not to consume food/alcohol 3 hours before sleeping, not to work 2 hours before sleeping, and finally no screen-time 1 hour prior to sleep. With this, we could have a consistent sleep pattern.
E - Eat responsibly. Eating Disorders could worsen our health conditions. Therefore, a healthy diet is very important to avoid metabolic disorders and to have normal cognitive functions. In short, practicing EASE daily helps us to manage our stress, and live a happy and healthy life.
Professor Dr. Suresh Kumar Govind is the former head and current Honorary Professor and former Head of the Department of Parasitology, FOM, Universiti Malaya. His specialization was on protozoan parasite, Blastocystis, and for the past 30 years have generated more than 170 scientific papers, presented more than 270 conference papers, and written several chapters in publications by the World Health Organization. He has supervised more than 100 elective, diploma, graduate, and post-graduate students including at doctorate level. He has won several national and international awards, including the National Young Scientist Award, Malaysian Toray Grant Award, Commonwealth Scholarship Award, Gold Innovative award at the national level, as well as the winner of a GOLD medal at the International ITEX exhibition. He has also won the Malaysian Society of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine Silver Medal, the Prime Minister’s Productivity award, and the prestigious Malaysian Toray Science award, as well as winning a few times, the University Malaya excellence award. He was conferred the global Malayalee Award for research in 2015 and the National Educators Award from the Association of Private Institutions. In 2016 he won the Parija Oration Award from the Indian Academy of Tropical Parasitology for outstanding contribution to the field of Parasitology. He was conferred a Fellow to the Malaysian Academy of Science in 2015 and the prestigious Sandosham Gold medal for outstanding contribution to the field of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine.
He has served as an expert member for the Drinking Water guidelines committee for the World Health Organization since 2004. He has also served as an International Consultant for the Indian Ocean Center for Education in Human Values, Mauritius. He has been appointed by the Prime Minister of Malaysia to be a member of the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) and the committee for inter-faith promotion (JKMPKA) , a board member to IKLIN and a board member of the Yayasan I Malaysia.
He is a member of several professional societies such as the Life member of the Malaysian Society of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine where he also served as the secretary, and the President of the Institute of Biology, United Kingdom (which carries the title CBiol, MIBiol), Malaysian Scientific Association (which carries the title A.M.S.A), Member of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and Life member of the Indian Society of Parasitology.
Professor Dr. Suresh Govind was the former President of the Sathya Sai International Organization, Malaysia, an organization dedicated to the promotion of human values, service and national unity. He has been instrumental in many nation building programs in the country and have traveled extensively around the world upon invitation to speak to youth, educators, and members of the organization on human values and selfless service. He has authored 7 books mainly on human values.
He is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Yayasan Perpaduan Malaysia. He is currently the International coordinator for Community Engagement for 114 countries for the Sathya Sai International Organization, as well as the Coordinator for the Friendship Group of Inter- Religious Service, consisting of members from all the major religious groups in Malaysia.
Organized by Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya Website: https://medicine.um.edu.my/parasitology-department
Moderators: Dr. Khadijah Poh (Emergency Medicine Academic Unit, Faculty of Medicine), Dr. Ayeshah Syed (Faculty of Language and Linguistics)
Speakers: Dr. Aida Bustam (Emergency Medicine Academic Unit, Faculty of Medicine), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lim Ni Eng (School of Humanities, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
The latest ‘Difficult Conversations Series’ covered ‘End-of-life Conversations in the Emergency Department’ on the 31st March 2023. This webinar was organized by the Medical Humanities and Ethics Unit (MedHEU), together with the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics (FLL), and endorsed by the College of Emergency Physicians.
The aim of this two-hour webinar was to address a few circumstances of end-of-life conversations between physician and family members during the short but life-changing resuscitation event considering both situations: with and without prior discussions. Dr. Khadijah kickstarted the webinar with a welcoming speech, introduction to MedHEU, and a video made by the Emergency Department team. This video re-enacted a typical scenario of resuscitation, followed shortly by a clinical decision that further resuscitation efforts would be futile. Based on this video, Dr. Aida then covered the topic of ‘Withdrawing and Withholding Treatment’, addressing the clinical decision-making prior to the interaction between clinician and family members. This was followed by Dr Ayeshah’s analysis of the video from the linguist perspective. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lim then shared his experience on analysing patients and family members during real end-of-life conversations in his talk on ‘End-of-Life conversation as an inherently tripartite organization in the Asian context’. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Julia Patrick Engkasan, Head of MedHEU and Professor Dr. Rafidah Atan later joined for the wrap up.
The event garnered good support from about 160 participants (100 on Zoom and 60 on Facebook Live), and to date, the recorded webinar has 586 views on the MyCep Acad Facebook page. The team would like to express gratitude to all participants who joined the webinar.
A two-day symposium on colorectal cancer research, ‘Emerging Trends in Colorectal Cancer Screening and Management’, was recently held on 30-31st March 2023. This symposium was jointly organized by FOM, the UM Specialist Centre, and the Malaysian Society of Colorectal Surgeons, with their partners National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) Overseas Hub (Malaysia) and the Malaysian University Research Network (MURN). Dr. Amira Hajirah (Head, Dept. of Pharmaceutical Life Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universiti Malaya) gave her welcoming remarks, followed by an Opening Ceremony, officiated by Professor Dr. April Camilla Roslani. There were a total of 4 sessions throughout the event, beginning with a Virtual CME for General Practitioners, which included presentations by Professor. Dr. April Camilla on Prevalence and Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer, and Dr. Luqman Mazlan (Vice-President, Malaysian Society of Colorectal Surgeons) on Screening, Diagnosis and Surveillance of Colorectal Cancer.
The second session, chaired by Dr. Noor Hayaty Abu Kasim (Director, NCKU Overseas Hub in Malaysia), were academic talks by renowned scientists and clinicians, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Takuji Yamada (Dept. of Life Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology), Dr. Yu-Min Yeh (Dept. of Oncology, National Cheng Kung University Hospital), and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Weerapat Suwanthanma (Dept. of Surgery, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University).
The 3rd session, held on 31st March 2023, began with a session on MRUN Research Updates, ‘Linking Obesity to Cancer: An Integrative Study from Molecule to Society”. The speakers included a Welcoming Remark by Miss Yogaambikai Paramanantham (Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universiti Malaya), followed by talks by Professor Dr. Hamid Jan B. Jan Mohamed (School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yong Yoke Keong (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia), Professor Dr. Ivy Chung (Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya), Ts. Dr. Rosnani Hasham (Faculty of Chemical and Energy Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) and Dr. Nur Nadiatul Asyikin Bujang (Doctor of Public Health Candidate, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya). The talk covered various areas of emerging research on colorectal cancer, including dietary patterns in colorectal cancer, role of bisphenol A on the development of CRC, potential roles of microRNAs in obesity-associated colorectal cancer, development of herbal-based product standardization for metabolic disease management, and living well with and beyond colorectal cancer.
The fourth and final session of the symposium were industry talks by Dr. Thin Thin Aye (Intervenn) on the Potential of AI-assisted Glycoproteomics in Screening / Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer, and Dr. Jacky Dwiyanto (AmiLi) on the Roles of Gut Microbiome on Colorectal Cancer Development.
This session was chaired by Dr. Kwong Soke Chee (Centre of Innovation & Enterprise, Universiti Malaya).
On 4th April 2023, a delegation from the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CGMH), Taiwan's largest non-government hospital group, visited FOM in hopes of forging a collaborative partnership with our Faculty and the UM Medical Centre. Professor Dr. Ong Teng Aik greeted the delegation, and was present to provide a tour of our faculty and facilities. At present, CGMH offers the largest and most comprehensive health care services in Taiwan, comprising a network of 7 hospital branches located in Linkou, Taipei, Taoyuan, Keelung, Yunlin, Chiayi, and Kaohsiung. Their hospital networks receive an average of 2.4 million hospitalisations and 8.2 million outpatient visits every year. The CGMH network is also further supported by various medical schools and healthcare-related institutions such as Chang Gung University, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, and the Chang Gung Health and Culture Village.
Founded in 1978, CGMH itself has been listed among one of Taiwan's largest, most prestigious, medical and educational centers, with a total capacity of nearly 4,000 beds and a total of 29 specialty centers. The hospital has trained more than 1,700 practicing physicians from 75 different countries in the last decade. Today, CGMH has been recognized as the largest academic center ever accredited by the Joint Commission International [JCI (2014-2017)]. Recently, CGMH) had established its first medical technology (MedTech) center, Taiwan Advance Medtech Centre (TAMC), in Penang with an emphasis on smart solutions, Al (Artificial Intelligence)-empowered healthcare, advanced robotics, and cost-effective medical devices that are appropriate for local needs.
The Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya would like to extend our heartiest congratulations to Professor Dr. Woo Yin Ling from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology on winning the prestigious 2023 Rachel Pearline Award, a global award for Cancer Research.
The Rachel Pearline Award honours Dr. Rachel Pearline, a revered oncology fellow who received the award named in her memory in 2016 following her death at the age of 38, in November 2015, from gastric cancer. Dr. Pearline was virtuously committed to global cancer control and provided quality care to her patients. She viewed the practice of medicine as a privilege, always striving to serve her patients better. In honour of Dr. Rachel Pearline, each year the Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research Steering Committee invites nominations for the Rachel Pearline Award. As part of the Symposium each year, one outstanding professional who embodies virtue and eminence in cancer research, practice, and/or training in a low - and middle - income country (LMIC) setting is recognised.
Professor Dr. Woo is a consultant gynaecological oncologist at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre with clinical and research experience that ranges from prevention, to treatment of cervical cancer and hereditary/ familial gynaecological cancers. She completed her specialist and subspecialty training in gynaecological oncology in the UK and was conferred her PhD by Cambridge University for her post-doctoral research on HPV immuno-biology. Dr. Woo has always believed that any innovation in healthcare services must take into account local resources with input from the stakeholders, particularly the women themselves, along with a strong emphasis on advocacy. True to her “Malaysia-centric” research, one of her more outstanding achievements is conceptualizing and executing Program ROSE (www.programrose.org), an innovative cervical screening program incorporating HPV self-sampling.
In addition, Professor Dr. Woo is the clinical lead for the MaGIC study (Mainstreaming genetic counseling for genetic testing of BRCA1/2 in ovarian cancer patients in Malaysia) and the Every Woman Study (EWS-LMIC). She is currently the country representative for the Asia-Oceania Research Organisation in Genital Infection and Neoplasia (AOGIN), member of the Asia Pacific Economic Consortium (APEC) Cervical Cancer working group, committee member for policy at the International Papillomavirus Society (IPVS), and is a founding trustee of the ROSE Foundation.
Encouraging autonomy in patients who are diagnosed with clinical depression involves providing support and understanding while allowing the individual to make decisions and take actions that align with their values, beliefs, expectations and goals. This process includes fostering a sense of self-efficacy and control over their decisions through empowerment and active participation, thus creating a sense of sharedness in the treatment plan and long - term management.
On 27th April 2023, two of our esteemed speakers, Professor Dr. Ng Chong Guan, Consultant Psychiatrist, Universiti Malaya Medical Centre, and Honorary Professor Dr. Ng Chirk Jenn, a key expert in Shared Decision Making (SDM), shared their insights and thoughts on the SDM model when managing a patient with clinical depression. Moderated by Dr. Chong Lee Ai, the one-hour session was introduced with an interesting yet common dilemma often faced by healthcare professionals through a case presentation by Professor Dr. Ng Chong Guan. The session was also welcomed by a myriad of questions and ethical dilemmas posed by the attendees and led to a brilliant and meaningful discussion.
The Clinical Ethics Grand Round Series is a bimonthly event organized by the Medical Humanities and Ethics Unit (MedHEU) at the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya, held on the last Thursday of the month from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. This is a Continuing Medical Education (CME) initiative that features a variety of clinical ethics topics from a diverse group of esteemed speakers. It aims to help healthcare professionals keep up with the latest advances in medicine while guiding them through everyday ethical dilemmas. The series provides a forum for participants to learn how to resolve cases based on the best ethical practices. All healthcare professionals, including physicians, clinicians, biomedical researchers, nurses, ethicists, philosophers, and students, are welcome to attend. Those interested in presenting at future sessions can contact MedHEU by emailing email@example.com.
The traditional method of western blotting is time consuming as gel is needed to be prepared first, which is then followed by electrophoresis, transfer and antibody incubation which overall takes about 16 hours in total. On 19th April 2023, in a session chaired by Dr. Arutchelvan Rajamanikam, Mr. Edmund Lein from IMPACO PLT introduced the stain-free technology patented by Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. that enables researchers to save time and quality assessment throughout the process of the western blot experiment. With the Stain-Free Western Blotting Workflow which takes only 5 hours to complete, protein visualization after electrophoresis becomes easy, and this allows room for quality checking, especially for the optimization and assessing the blotting performance.
Without staining, researchers can quickly verify the quality of transfer by imaging the gel post transfer. In addition, this workflow speeds up the western blot process and increases reproducibility as it eliminates the need to stain the gel and blot. It also provides a more robust and reliable loading control than conventional methods (i.e HKP, total protein stains) where de-staining, stripping, and re-probing are not needed. Therefore, this increases accuracy and produces reliable results. This new method however needs a special gel for protein electrophoresis, but it utilizes standard samples and chemicals (e.g Tris/Glycine/SDS) as the traditional method. The TGX Stain-free gel has a long shelf life (1 year for precast) which contains unique trihalo compounds that allow rapid fluorescent protein detection with the Bio-Rad stain-free imaging system. The use of this gel allows faster protein separation with fast run times (~15 mins at 300 V) and is compatible for western blotting. In conclusion, the Stain-free Western Blotting Workflow is faster, more efficient and convenient than the traditional western blot.
Mr. Yao (Edmund) Lein obtained his master’s degree in aquaculture from Universiti Malaysia Sabah, specializing in microbiota of marine animals, typically spiny lobsters. Prior to that, Mr. Edmund completed his Bachelor of Science in Aquatic Science and Management at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, where subsequently he served as the assistant consultant for City Aquaponics. Mr. Edmund has published a review paper entitled “Gastrointestinal Microbiota of Spiny Lobsters: A Review” and co-authored a paper entitled “Selection of suitable aquaponics system for empurau (Tor tambroides) fries nursery in polyculture method”. Mr. Edmund currently is a Product Specialist at Impaco PLT which is based in Kuala Lumpur.
Around 30 years ago, several celebrities and public figures made headlines with a shocking revelation – that they had contracted HIV. At a time when HIV was widely considered taboo, this news rocked the world as it involved Magic Johnson and Freddie Mercury, who were at the peak of their careers and were globally celebrated personalities. Both their careers were derailed, Magic Johnson faced opposition to continuing his basketball career after revealing his HIV diagnosis. However, he received support from influential figures, including President George H.W. Bush, and was able to play in the Barcelona 1992 Olympics with the "Dream Team." Ultimately, he still retired due to the controversy and the opposition surrounding his HIV-positive status.
While all this happened on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, the stigma towards people living with HIV in Malaysia is no different, if not worse.
Stigma in Malaysia
A recent survey by the Ministry of Health (MoH) found that one in four respondents believed that children living with HIV should not attend school with other children, and one in three respondents said they would not buy vegetables from a seller with HIV. The same survey also revealed that young populations between 15 and 19 years old are particularly vulnerable to stigmatization, which is perhaps the most worrying trend of all.
Public stigma towards HIV can lead to a lack of treatment and prevention initiatives, perpetuating the cycle of infection. Therefore, it is important to understand the truths about HIV & AIDS and the situation at hand to reduce the stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV.
How bad is HIV and AIDS in Malaysia currently?
Globally, around 650,000 people had lost their lives to AIDS in 2021, making it the 14th leading cause of death worldwide and the 13th leading cause of death in Malaysia. Furthermore, more than 15% of the deaths worldwide are from children under the age of 15. Since the start of the epidemic, Malaysia has had over 120,000 people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, and approximately 45,000 deaths. Although the incidence of new infection is on a gradual decline, 44% of newly diagnosed infections occur in the 20-29 year age group.
Who are we and what we are doing
Eradicate AIDS and Stigma for Equality (ERASE) is a student led initiative by students from the Faculty of Medicine, UM whose prime objectives are to contribute towards instilling awareness, strengthening factual knowledge, as well as tackling the controversy and misinformation concerning HIV/AIDS by just simply bringing a taboo topic to the spotlight. So deeply ingrained stigmas are within our society that the sole strategy to combat this is through education. Thus, this is where ERASE comes into action – in which we establish ourselves as a platform for the public to receive accurate information on HIV & AIDS!
Fuelled by a dedicated team of 82 individuals, ERASE 22/23 has incorporated both virtual and physical aspects in its awareness initiatives. By targeting the main population of interest – youth, the team leveraged on social media resources, initiating the “Weekly Themed Virtual Campaign” as their first advocacy effort as they kickstarted their term. Across three weeks, the themes “Overview of HIV & AIDS”, “Public Advocacy”, and “Comprehensive Sexual Health Education” are extensively explored with interactive and engaging visual contents, with a variety of posters and bite-sized videos. Cumulatively, a total audience reach of 5.7k is accounted for the entire Weekly Virtual Campaign.
Running across four fundraising initiatives throughout the term, the profit from these fundraisers will be donated to the Infectious Diseases unit of UMMC and the Malaysia AIDS Foundation (MAF), where it will be projected towards HIV testing, and to cover second-line treatment expenses for patients who failed the nationally subsidised first-line AIDS treatment. We have widened our promotional scope to other universities and organisations in Malaysia, with accepted invitations from students hailing from Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) RCMP in Perak, and even Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM).
Just recently, ERASE has published its first ever article on CodeBlue Malaysia, titled “Bridging the Science-Practice Gap in Malaysia’s Journey Towards Ending HIV/AIDS”. This article comprehensively covered our nation’s progress in ending HIV/AIDS, and thereby we hope that this provides readers with a sense of awareness and urgency to act, as well as a renewed perspective to cultivate positive change towards the HIV/AIDS communities. The article is also published on the online news portal, The Rakyat Post and on The Star, both in print and online. In closing, taking steps to normalise difficult conversations such as on the topic of HIV & AIDS, takes a great deal of work. Among the inherently sustained misbeliefs among society, it takes courage and persistence to simply initiate action and change. But as we progress through these challenges, it is always important to keep ourselves grounded and opened to learn, and to always, embrace the spirit of kindness and compassion towards others.
This year, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Khairul Azmi bin Abd Kadir, Head of Bio-Medical Imaging Department/Neuro Interventional Radiology Specialist, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tai Mei Ling Sharon, Senior Consultant, Department of Medicine (Department of Neurology), and the UMMC Stroke Team received the Platinum status rating for the World Stroke Organization (WSO) Angels Award in the first quarter of 2023 recently. The WSO Angels Award recognizes hospitals that have demonstrated a high commitment to quality stroke care and established systems of continuous improvement. This award is given every quarter and takes into account several criteria and qualifications that have been set.
The WSO Angels Award is part of the Angels Initiative, launched by Boehringer Ingelheim, which engages hospitals to improve the quality of stroke care through continuous training and consultations. Their aim is to increase the number of patients treated in stroke ready hospitals and to optimize the quality of treatment in all existing stroke centers, including (i) to provide practical support to improve stroke care globally, (ii) to recognize and promote best practice in stroke care, and (iii) to share key learning around implementation of quality stroke care.
First introduced in Malaysia in 2017, the Angels Initiative actively collaborates with the Malaysian Stroke Council (MSC) to engage with over 34 hospitals nationwide. As part of the ongoing engagement, hospitals are encouraged to submit records of their stroke cases including the procedures and therapies administered to qualify for the WSO Angels Award. The data is recorded in the Registry of Stroke Care Quality (RES-Q), which is then evaluated against various measures to determine if they qualify for the Gold Status, Platinum Status, or Diamond Status awards.
On 3rd March 2023, the President and representatives from the Dr. Wu Lien-Teh Society attended the award ceremony for the Dr. Wu Lien-Teh Award for the Best Student in Doctor of Public Health (DrPH), Universiti Malaya. The event was organised by the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine (FOM), Universiti Malaya. Dr. Wong Min Fui @Esther Wong from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, a mother of two, was the winner of this year’s award. This is the second year this award was presented.
Dr. Wong completed her Master’s in Master of Public Health (MPH) and DrPH over 4 years in time during the COVID-19 pandemic. She developed a digital psychosocial intervention for low-income urban dwellers for her project. Her passion for working with the poor urban community and mental health stemmed from her 12 years of working experience at the primary care and district health office in Sabah and Kuala Lumpur. She owed her success to her family. Growing up in a B40 family is never a barrier to becoming a successful person. In fact, she became more resilient and steadfast. She felt it is not enough to have a good policy in public health, as the implementers must believe it works and build trust in order to convince people to actually follow it.
1. Could you tell us about yourself and your background?
I’d be glad to. My full name is Wong Min Fui @ Esther. I am from Sabah. I’m a medical doctor serving in the Ministry of Health for 20 years, since 2003.
I graduated from University Putra Malaysia, where I obtained my medical degree. Following graduation, I embarked on my housemanship at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, gaining invaluable clinical experience. Upon completing my housemanship, I was assigned as a Medical Officer at a district hospital in Kota Belud. This placement provided me with a unique opportunity to serve the rural population and exposed me to a wide range of multidisciplinary medical cases. I encountered challenging situations, from caring for premature babies, to attending to frail and elderly patients, all within a resource-limited setting.
Subsequently, I was transferred to the Health Department KL & Putrajaya (JKWPKL & Putrajaya), where I continued my career as a primary care doctor. It was during this time that I discovered my passion for mental health. I actively managed primary care mental health cases, including those involving harm reduction programmes such as the methadone treatment. From 2015 to 2018, I held the position of Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Officer at the health office, where I coordinated various NCD-related activities at the district level.
In recognition of my dedication and potential, I was awarded the Federal Scholarship, Hadiah Latihan Dalam Perkhidmatan (HLP) in 2018 to pursue a Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH). This opportunity allowed me to further expand my knowledge and skills in public health, enabling me to make a more significant impact in addressing health challenges at a broader level.
2. What was your very first reaction when you found out that you had won the Dr. Wu Lien Teh Award?
I was overjoyed when I received the news and truly humbled to receive this award as other students are equally capable. However, it is truly a blessing, a culmination of all the hard work I had put in. This achievement represents years of unwavering dedication, countless challenges faced, and a persistent commitment to my goals. It is not solely my own efforts that contributed to this success, but also the unwavering support and hard work of my parents who raised and nurtured me, as well as my spouse, who stood by my side throughout this journey. Every tear shed and every drop of sweat poured into my pursuit of this goal holds immense value and significance.
3. As an award recipient, what does this recognition mean to you personally and professionally? How has it impacted your career?
This award holds significant meaning to me, as it commemorates the exceptional contributions of Dr. Wu Lien Teh, a remarkable individual who displayed remarkable innovation and selflessness as a plague fighter during a time when health technology was still in its nascent stages. It serves as a reminder of the profound influence that individuals can have on public health and how they can shape the course of history.
I also can see how GOD moved me in my life and shaped me for a career in public health. As stated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the overarching objective of public health is to safeguard and promote the well-being of all individuals within every community. I personally view public health as an integral aspect of my Christian faith, recognizing the importance of caring for, and advocating for the health of all individuals.
Through my experiences as an implementer within health settings, I have witnessed numerous unmet needs and gaps in care. With my decision to transition from Bahagian Kesihatan Awam to a Health System Research role, I aspire to amplify the voices of implementers within research endeavors, contributing to evidence-based policymaking and ultimately addressing the pressing issues within the healthcare system. By bringing the perspectives of those on the frontlines of healthcare delivery into the realm of research, I hope to facilitate positive change and bridge the gap between research and practice.
4. What were the major challenges you encountered along the way, and how did you overcome them? Were there any significant lessons you learned from those experiences?
One of the primary challenges I face is being a multitasking woman in the field of public health. Balancing my professional commitments with my family responsibilities requires constant juggling. To overcome this challenge, I believe open and effective communication with my spouse is crucial. By discussing and sharing the responsibilities of caring for our family, we can work together to find a harmonious balance that allows me to excel in my career while fulfilling my duties as a spouse and parent.
As a public health specialist with a particular focus on the well-being of the urban poor and their mental health, I encounter the limitations imposed by scarce resources. However, my engagement with the B40 community has taught me a valuable lesson: there are numerous potential funders available if we proactively seek them out. It is a matter of actively reaching out and engaging with these potential funders to explore collaboration opportunities. By actively seeking support, we increase our chances of finding the necessary resources to address the pressing needs of the communities we serve. It is a reminder that if we are proactive and persistent in our efforts, we can discover untapped resources that can make a significant difference in our endeavors.
5. Throughout your career, have there been any mentors or individuals who have had a significant influence on your growth and success? How have they shaped your professional journey?
Indeed, my life has been greatly impacted by numerous individuals who have played pivotal roles in shaping my journey. It all began with my kindergarten teacher, who recognized my potential and encouraged my parents to nurture and support me. Along the way, I was fortunate to have a series of exceptional teachers in both my primary and secondary schools, who not only served as role models, but also motivated me to excel academically.
When it came time for me to pursue my postgraduate studies, Dr. Fuad, my mentor, had a profound influence on my decision to choose public health as my field of specialization. His guidance and insights provided invaluable clarity and direction. Furthermore, my direct supervisors, Professor Hazreen and Professor Mas, have been instrumental in shaping my professional development. In particular, Professor Hazreen introduced me to an implementation study framework that laid a strong foundation for my research design. Their guidance and mentorship have been instrumental in propelling me forward and have sparked my interest in embarking on a career in implementation research.
I am truly grateful for the support and inspiration I have received from these remarkable individuals. Their belief in my potential and their guidance have been instrumental in shaping my path and instilling in me the confidence and determination to pursue my goals. Their impact on my life serves as a constant reminder of the transformative power of mentorship and the profound influence that teachers and mentors can have on the lives of their students.
6. Lastly, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Any message or words of encouragement for those who are aspiring to make a difference in their respective fields?
Never cease to pursue your passions. Maintain consistency and diligence in your work, approaching every opportunity as a chance to learn and grow. Give your best effort each time, understanding that failure is merely a stepping stone on the path to success. The true challenge lies in giving up altogether.
Authenticity should be the driving force behind your intentions and speech. By building trust and fostering genuine connections, you will notice that people become more attentive and receptive to your ideas. Cultivate humility, respect, and responsiveness towards your friends and acquaintances, recognizing the potential for these relationships to shape your future network.
In closing, I would like to share my perspective on implementing public health interventions: "It is not sufficient to have well-crafted policies in public health. The implementers must genuinely believe in their effectiveness and invest in building trust. Only then can we truly convince individuals to embrace and adhere to these policies."
On 12th March 2023, YAB Dato Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, member of Parliament for Bandar Tun Razak and wife of the current Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato’ Seri Dr. Anwar Ibrahim, visited FOM for a private brunch at the Gallery Rooom, FOM with the facult’s Higher Management Team, fellow alumni and distinguished donors to the Faculty. The event began with a Welcome Address by Prof. Dr. April Camilla Roslani, Dean of FOM, followed by a speech by YAB Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah. Attendees were subsequently provided with a briefing by Prof. Dr. Vickneswaran Mathaneswaran, Head of FOM Business Unit, on FOM’s current and future plans for infrastructure development pertaining to education and training. The event concluded with a visit to the Anatomy Museum, Clinical Skills Unit and MD labs.
Last Update: 26/06/2023