Cancer Research Malaysia (CRMY) Announces Appointment of New Chief Scientific Officer

Cancer Research Malaysia (CRMY) today announces the retirement of Professor Datin Paduka Dr Teo Soo Hwang, the founding Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), effective April 30, 2024.

CRMY CELEBRATES PROFESSOR TEO’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE ORGANIZATION

Serving as the Founding Chief Executive from January 2001 to March 2003 and again from July 2006 to February 2020, she has been a driving force behind numerous groundbreaking initiatives.

Under her leadership, CRMY initiated the Malaysian Breast Cancer Genetic Study, leading to significant advancements in understanding cancer risk factors and the development of the Asian Genetic Risk Calculator (ARiCa).

In recognition of her contributions, Professor Teo was honored with the title of Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 2018, a testament to her dedication to advancing medical research.

Reflecting on her retirement, Professor Teo said, “The best time for a founder to move on is when the organization is strong. I realized that CRMY is much bigger than any one individual, and that to grow, it must evolve. Having a leader stay for too long can inhibit this evolution.”

PROFESSOR DR CHEONG SOK CHING APPOINTED AS NEW CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER

Stepping into the role of Chief Scientific Officer is Professor Dr Cheong Sok Ching, an esteemed scientist and leader in translational cancer biology and digital health. Her research focuses on refining cancer treatment and patient outcomes by investigating cancer development at a molecular level.

Having been a part of CRMY’s family since 2002, Professor Cheong initially joined as a Postdoctoral Fellow and has steadily progressed to the role of Senior Group Leader in 2016.

Just prior to this latest promotion, Professor Cheong held the position of Deputy Chief Scientific Officer for the past several years since before the pandemic.

Throughout her tenure, she has consistently demonstrated a strong dedication to advancing cancer research and innovation, making significant contributions to the organization’s mission.

One of Professor Cheong’s notable achievements is the development of MeMoSA (Mobile Mouth Screening Anywhere) app, an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven digital health platform for early detection of oral cancer. Her groundbreaking work on MeMoSA earned her the Senior Scientist Category award in the 8th Underwriters Laboratories-Asean-US Science Prize for Women in 2022.

“I want science in our country to work well, with everyone involved, like ministries and businesses, working together for good changes that last. By fostering strong partnerships and alignment across sectors, we can ensure that advancements in science benefit everyone, driving progress and prosperity for generations to come,” said Professor Cheong.

CRMY WELCOMES NEW CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER

Andy Khoo, CEO of Cancer Research Malaysia, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, warmly welcomed Professor Cheong Sok Ching into her new role as the organization’s Chief Scientific Officer.

He shared that the Board of Trustees expressed tremendous excitement about looking forward to Professor Cheong’s fresh scientific leadership in advancing the organization’s future research efforts.

Andy also emphasized Professor Cheong’s pivotal role in driving forward the organization’s research initiatives in past projects and is anticipating her contributions to further advance CRMY’s mission in combating cancer.

This is a press statement provided by Cancer Research Malaysia (CRMY). It has been edited for clarity.

Malaysian Medics International (MMI) Responds to Zero HO Protocol

WORDS MALAYSIAN MEDICS INTERNATIONAL (MMI)

We are deeply concerned regarding the article released on 15th January by CodeBlue highlighting the implementation of a “Zero HO Protocol” within the medicine department of the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC). This protocol aims to address the critical shortage of house officers (HO) in different medical units as the services provided by house officers are now prioritised based on departmental workload.

Some of the key points of the protocol are as follows:

  1.  ICU prioritization with stable patients being admitted to medicine department wards and at-risk patients being placed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
  2. Encouraging medical officers to perform procedures like IV cannula insertion and blood tests themselves to emphasize clinical judgement and discourage unnecessary test requests.
  3. Proposal for task sharing among medical officers, lecturers and consultants.
  4. Emphasis on mindfulness during patient admission as patient management is the responsibility of the admitting doctor.

House officers and medical officers are the grassroots of the healthcare system to achieve peak efficiency. Thus, we humbly call upon the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Higher Education to consider the following:

Decrease in manpower resulting in more harm than good

The diminishing numbers of house officers in the healthcare system are manifesting as a significant concern with multifaceted repercussions.

The increased workload on the existing staff is leading to burnout, adversely affecting their overall well-being.

Service reductions or cuts to cope with the strain could potentially compromise access to crucial medical services for patients, raising serious concerns about healthcare delivery and patient safety.

Hence, urgent attention is needed to address extreme shortages and maldistribution.

A targeted approach could involve expediting the intake of medical graduates into the housemanship system for a quicker transition from graduation to practical training. This would also overcome the “brain dead” issue which has been a concerning trend in the healthcare system.

On the other hand, Singapore offers a shorter time between graduation and work compared to waiting around six months in Malaysia. Hence, with a shorter gap, more medical graduates are able to work sooner to reduce the shortage of house officers.

Task delegation, focusing on critical departments, is crucial for effective management without compromising quality. Public hospitals should identify critical departments that are particularly affected by the shortage and maldistribution of HOs, as it would allow task prioritisation based on urgency and importance. Task delegation should focus on ensuring that essential responsibilities are managed effectively without shortage drawbacks. This emphasizes the need for immediate attention and comprehensive strategies from healthcare authorities to rectify this concerning trend and fortify the resilience of the healthcare system.

Collaboration between MOH and MOHE

Efficient collaboration between the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) is essential to bridge gaps and ensure better healthcare outcomes.

Clear communication with specific objectives and anticipated outcomes is necessary to foster a more cohesive and effective healthcare system.

Implementing interdisciplinary training programs for medical students, tailored to their academic schedules can provide essential skills learning for them.

Therefore, the workload among our healthcare workers can be reduced by providing opportunities for medical students to sharpen their skills under supervision.

Moreover, assessing the skills and competencies of available healthcare professionals ensures that responsibilities are delegated to individuals with appropriate expertise.

This diversified approach ensures a more efficient distribution of tasks, compensating for the diminished workforce and minimizing the impact on patient care. Early intervention at the foundation level can mitigate the issue of doctor shortage.

In conclusion

We urge the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Higher Education to promptly consider and address the aforementioned issues. While this protocol might be perceived as a temporary drastic measure taken to cope with the decrease in house officers or medical officers, it could impact the present and future of Malaysia’s healthcare sector.

Thank you.

MALAYSIAN MEDICS INTERNATIONAL
TERM 2023/2024

About Malaysian Medics International (MMI)

MMI is an international medical student-led organization that aims to connect, educate, and cultivate. Since our inception in 2013, we have grown into a global network of more than 200 leaders from seven countries around the world. Presently, we are an active advocate for inclusivity and diversity, reform in medical education, and the welfare of our junior doctors and medical students.
Website: malaysianmedics.org
Email: admin@malaysianmedics.org


References:

  1. Zainuddin, A., & Su-Lyn, B. (2024, January 17). UMMC’s medicine department mulls ‘Zero HO protocol’, with indefinite critical Houseman shortage. CodeBlue. https://codeblue.galencentre.org/2024/01/15/ummcs-medicine-department-mulls-zero-ho-protocol-with-indefinite-critical-houseman-shortage/
  2. Zainuddin, A. (2024, January 19). MOH and MOHE must resolve their ‘Bad blood’: Musa Nordin. CodeBlue. https://codeblue.galencentre.org/2024/01/18/moh-and-mohe-must-resolve-their-bad-blood-musa-nordin/
  3. Zainuddin, A. (2024a, January 18). UMMC doctors tout parallel houseman system, full independence from MOH. CodeBlue. https://codeblue.galencentre.org/2024/01/16/ummc-doctors-tout-parallel-houseman-system-full-independence-from-moh/