Medical pathway to Harvard and Melbourne
PROF Dr Zarida Hambali has been at the forefront of practice and medical research, having spent 23 years as an academic at the medical faculties of two of Malaysia’s leading research universities.
As a former director of the Higher Education Ministry’s academic development management unit from 2009 to 2013, she is familiar with the efforts and intricacies involved in any game-changing academic programme.
Today, she serves as the acting dean of UCSI University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
“When I first joined UCSI, I knew it was one of the leading private universities in Malaysia but I didn’t know its international reach would stretch as far as Harvard and Melbourne,” she said.
By reach, Prof Zarida is referring to UCSI’s collaboration with Harvard Medical School and the University of Melbourne – tie-ups that offer invaluable opportunities for its students.
UCSI’s best medical students are selected annually for year-long high impact research programmes at Harvard.
To date, three students have walked the hallowed halls of the institution many regard as the world’s best university.
At Harvard, UCSI students will be entrusted with their own research projects after an initial period of supervision and training, mentored by leading academics.
The students have benefited tremendously from their Harvard experience.
“They made full use of the opportunity to publish their findings in high-impact medical journals and one of them was even invited back to a conference to present her findings. UCSI is the only private medical school in Malaysia to provide such exposure to its students and a year at Harvard does wonders to an aspiring doctor’s curriculum vitae,” said Prof Zarida.
On arrangements Down Under, a recent agreement enables UCSI students to obtain a second degree – the Bachelor of Medical Sciences – from the University of Melbourne after spending a year there.
“Apart from studying overseas at one of the world’s best universities, the good thing about the partnership is that UCSI students will have access to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Royal Children’s Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital, where they will work alongside a senior clinical mentor or supervisor at any one of these hospitals,” said Prof Zarida.
The comprehensive one-year programme is also a research training initiative that allows students to broaden their experience and understanding of the relationship between clinical health care and research in tertiary care settings.
UCSI students also benefit from live teaching sessions conducted by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh at the Kuala Terengganu campus.
Medical cases are discussed during these sessions and the vibrant interaction allows UCSI lecturers and students to update their knowledge in the management of patient care, medical practices and state-of-the-art treatment of the cases.
Apart from that, UCSI is the only university in Malaysia to be recognised by the Medical Council of Thailand – another hallmark that speaks volumes about the quality of medical education at UCSI.
To ensure medical students receive the best clinical exposure, UCSI has strategically tied up with Health Ministry hospitals in Terengganu.
With good access to patient care and a diverse mix of cases, students are able to interact with resident doctors easily as they provide an extra pair of hands to support medical procedures.
“These tie-ups ensure that our students will gain the experience they need. When they graduate, they will possess the skills and the maturity to make a difference wherever they go,” said Prof Zarida.
A UCSI education sets future doctors apart by providing the ideal platform for them to apply their craft from the get-go.
As UCSI is committed to achieving excellence in community medicine and public health issues, Doctor of Medicine students are continuously exposed to problem-based learning and diverse case study and clinical skills.
All that is left is for them to create some impact of their own.
By impacting society with various health awareness campaigns, they do precisely that.
■ For more information, call 03-9101 8882, visit ucsiuniversity.edu.my/fomhs or attend UCSI’s Medicine and Pharmacy Preview on July 17 at the Grand Paragon Hotel in Johor Baru from 11am to 6pm.
Tan Jia Wei is one of three UCSI students who spent a year conducting high-impact research at Harvard Medical School. She is seen here with Prof Dr Gordon Williams.
Prof Dr Zarida feels that UCSI’s medical programme will prepare students to face present and future challenges in medicine.