Standing Committee on Public Health (SCOPH)
With the motto “Think global. Act local.”, The Standing Committee on Public Health (SCOPH) strives towards the promotion of public health for a healthier tomorrow by addressing health issues, suggesting public policies and advocating preventive measures locally and beyond.
The Standing Committee on Public Health (SCOPH) serves as health advocate for our community by raising public awareness and understanding of prominent health concerns. Through community-based projects, we aim to promote the important message of public health amongst medical students, health professionals as well as the general public. SCOPH also places a strong emphasis on education and training of medical students in order to equip them with global vision in public health issues, hence become skilful health professionals of tomorrow.
EAMSC Public Poster Competition
The poster is designed to be featured at the East Asian Medical Students Conference, an annual conference hosted by various cities around East Asia, held in New Delhi, India. EAMSC continues to inspire medical students to analyse global health issues more closely and to utilise the role of medical students in the promotion of public health. It challenges students to think beyond what is learnt at university through various academic and cultural activities which explore a nominated conference theme.
Our team collaborated with MAP in producing an award-winning public health poster on the health effects of crowd control apparatus. The poster highlighted the general absence of sustained health implications of tear gas and served as an effective platform where the audience learnt basic first aid skills should they come across passers-by in need. We based our presentation on concrete facts, such as research data retrieved from multiple publications and expert opinion from Dr Emily Chan from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The competition was met with great success as the team was awarded 1st-runner up in the competition, following esteemed appraisal from the judges.
Sexual Violence Intervention Workshop
The Standing Committee on Public Health and the Standing Committee on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights including HIV&AIDS of AMSAHK jointly held “The Silence of Darkness: Sexual Violence in Hong Kong” in November 2019. The workshop, which was targeted to students of various majors, namely Medicine, Law and Social Work, aims to put emphasis on the gravity and importance of sexual violence in the community, as well as cultivate the skills and knowledge on how to intervene when encountering victims who have been sexually abused.
This workshop was in collaboration with Melissa, a former social worker at RainLily and Grain of Soul: Community Support Programme in Caritas Family Crisis Support Centre, who is a certified professional trainer in Sexual Abuse and has a Diplomate from the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. The activity consisted of interactive simulations of real experiences of sexually abused victims and discussions on personal views towards sexual violence. This event is similar to the Sexual Violence Intervention in Medical Settings (Training Workshop) held in April 2019, with the addition of UNISC, a student association advocating for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals shedding light on the lack of legal protection for men regarding sexual violence.
HKSCM Workshop for the Next Generation
In November 2019, AMSAHK collaborated with the Hong Kong Society of Community Medicine to organize the “Workshop for the Next Generation”, focusing on two public health issues in particular: mental health and antimicrobial resistance (as well as outbreak control). Regarding the mental health session, students went through an interactive session on emotional control and mindfulness, and were educated on the fact that mental health issues are more common than people think, and that it is not shameful to seek help. With the Antimicrobial Resistance/Outbreak Control session, students were divided into groups to roleplay as different stakeholders during an outbreak of an antimicrobial resistant pathogen. Students thought of the different things that they could do to solve the problem as students, doctors, and public health professionals. With these two priorities of public health introduced to students, we hope that they can develop an understanding of what public health is and inspire them to be future public health professionals. This is one of the first times SCOPH of AMSAHK has reached out to secondary school students, and future collaborations are being planned to hopefully increase the awareness and knowledge of secondary school students through workshops, campaigns.
In late December 2019, China reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology in Wuhan. Soon, a new type of coronavirus was confirmed to emerge and it has been especially contiguous that sparked the outbreak. In late January 2020, there was the first community outbreak of the new coronavirus in Hong Kong. With overwhelming news and rumours of the deadly coronavirus when China put Wuhan on lockdown, there was panic buying of masks and essentials in Hong Kong. Quarantine measures and border control were put in place, all classes were suspended and employers were forced to work from home.
In view of the intensifying severity and anxiety of the spread of 2019-nCoV and related misinformation and fake news, we were inspired to create a one-time social media campaign to respond to the public health emergency. The outbreak was ever-changing, so we decided to focus on the most highlighted issues, for example, the misconceptions of the definitions of PHEIC and R0, and the use and effectiveness of masks. The public had to be quick enough, or else the information wouldn’t be updated and useful enough. We collaborated with MAP for the graphics and design, while within our sco, we searched for the academic literature, summarized our findings, and drafted the words that would be published.