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Hong Kong University of Science and Technology proposes setting up medical school – South China Morning Post

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The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has proposed setting up a third medical school in the city to address the mounting need for more healthcare services, the institution has said.
Lawmakers also revealed after meeting university president Nancy Ip Yuk-yu that it was hoped the new school would start admitting students after two to three years.
“As Hong Kong’s population ages, the demand for healthcare and medical services becomes even more urgent,” an HKUST spokeswoman told the Post, confirming the university had contacted relevant stakeholders to explore the feasibility of establishing the new school.
She added that the university hoped to build on its focus areas in health sector technology, biomedical science and translational medicine, a discipline that seeks to turn findings into new diagnostic tools, medicine and procedures.
A council member said the university’s proposal would go to the government for approval and the institution would raise funds for the new school if it got the nod.
The city’s two medical schools are operated by the University of Hong Kong and Chinese University, while degrees for other healthcare-related professions, such as nursing, are also offered by other institutions.
Edward Leung Hei, a lawmaker attending one of the briefing sessions on Wednesday, said HKUST hoped to enrol 50 students in the new school after two to three years, and also allow those with degrees in other subjects to apply to switch disciplines.
HKUST had also submitted a plan to the government to build on a 12-hectare (30-acre) site near the university in Clear Water Bay to expand its campus and build more student dormitories, he added.
Rock Chen Chung-nin, a lawmaker and university council member, said HKUST should identify a niche for its medical programme to better market itself.
“I suggest the medical programme should ride on its advanced and innovative technology and biomedical research,” he said. “Only then will it stand out from the other traditional programmes.”
Education minister Christine Choi Yuk-lin on Thursday said the government had been encouraging institutions to shape their programmes based on the development needs of Hong Kong, as well as the city’s roles listed under the nation’s latest five-year plan.
Institutions could also submit expansion proposals to the University Grants Committee in every three-year funding period, she noted.
Lawmaker Chan Hoi-yan said establishing another medical school would help ensure a greater supply of doctors for the city, which has been struggling to find enough medical practitioners.
But she said the university could first consider running a dental school, as Hong Kong had a greater need for the graduates it would produce.
“Now there is only the University of Hong Kong running a dental faculty,” said Chan, who also met Ip on Wednesday. “Dental technology is now very advanced. If [HKUST] hopes to look into medical-related technology, would they consider dentistry first?”
She said Hong Kong did not offer comprehensive public dental services and the demand was increasing due to the ageing population.
The university was also considering allowing people without a degree in Western medicine to apply for its programme, which could help pave the way for training medical professionals in both Chinese and Western disciplines, Chan added.
“For example, for people who have completed a degree in traditional Chinese medicine, they might want to study Western medicine,” she said. “It would be best if HKUST could attract this group of people.”

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