Med­i­cal path­way to Har­vard and Mel­bourne

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Education Guide -

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 uc­si­u­ni­ver­ 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.

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