HKUMed students put public health in action and launch healthcare solutions for local community
Teams composed of students from LKS Faculty of Medicine of The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed) translated their original, innovative public health outreach ideas into practice, engaged and impacted the health of the local community as part of the School of Public Health of HKUMed’s ‘Public Health in Action - Student Knowledge Exchange Competition’.
‘Escaping from Vaping’, one of the two gold prize-winning teams of the Competition, realised the rapid rise in the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) among local teenagers a worrying trend. They educated secondary school students on the hazards of e-cigarettes through a series of school outreach talks, laboratory experiments and social media channels. The team successfully reached out to over 1,500 students in nine secondary schools, effectively changing their perception about e-cigarettes, and gaining their support in the petition for the total ban on e-cigarettes in Hong Kong. ‘We believe that our community engagement work has contributed to raising public awareness of the harmfulness of e-cigarettes and provided us with a real-life experience on policy advocacy.’ explained Ng Hoi-chak, the team coordinator.
The other gold prize-winning team, ‘Lantern’, focused on providing training opportunities and learning resources for foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong, who often must provide care to the elderly at home. The team developed a user-friendly mobile app to provide FDHs working as caregivers at elderly households with reliable information on elderly care, e.g. tips on first aid, daily care, physiotherapy, etc. They also partnered with local FDH unions and NGOs to conduct pilot studies and raise awareness, for which they received very positive user feedback. ‘More than 80% FDHs felt more confident on taking care of the elderly after using our mobile application “Lantern”. We hope to further promote this application in order to facilitate FDHs’ work.’ said Kelvin Cheung Cheuk-kit, the team coordinator.
Hosted by the School of Public Health of HKUMed, the inaugural Student Exchange Competition aims to encourage health-oriented students to gain practice in reaching out to the community and engaging them in health strengthening activities. Teams proposed project ideas and practical measures to take, and then implemented the projects. Out of eight teams who joined, two Golds and three Bronzes were chosen by the Selection Panel chaired by Professor Keiji Fukuda, Director of the School of Public Health, HKUMed. Each of the team was awarded a prize money of HK$20,000 (gold) and HK$9,000 (bronze) respectively.
‘The projects all addressed pressing public health issues in Hong Kong. The Selection Panel was very impressed by the quality, creativity, inclusiveness and impact of the projects,’ expressed Professor Fukuda. ‘As a strong believer in public health advocacy and innovation, it is the mission of our School to put public health in action. We want our students to acquire the skills and to be dedicated to giving back to the community, and to particularly improve the well-being of vulnerable populations.’
About the School of Public Health, HKUMed
The School of Public Health, LKS Faculty of Medicine of The University of Hong Kong has a long and distinguished history in public health education and high impact research. With world leading research in infectious diseases as well as on non-communicable diseases of both local and global importance, the School has made significant contributions through its research and advocacy to improve the health of populations and individuals, both locally and globally. The School is a leading research and teaching hub in public health on influenza and other emerging viruses, control of non-communicable and infectious diseases, tobacco control, air pollution, psycho-oncology, behavioural sciences, exercise science, life-course epidemiology, population mental health, and health economics, health services planning and management. This work has informed international (e.g. the US Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada, the World Health Organization), national and local public health policies.
‘Escaping from Vaping’ and ‘Lantern’, winning teams of the “Public Health in Action - Student Knowledge Exchange Competition” hosted by the School of Public Health of LKS Faculty of Medicine of The University of Hong Kong, explained how they translated their original, innovative public health outreach ideas into practice, and brought health impact in the local community. From left: Zoe Fan Sze-lok and Vienna Chan Hoi-kiu, team coordinators of ‘Lantern’; Yanna Tang and Hoi-chak Ng, team coordinators of ‘Escaping from Vaping’; and Professor Keiji Fukuda, Director of the School of Public Health, HKUMed.