Meet Wong Tien Yin, the Hong Kong-born Singaporean concerned in China’s quest to develop its educational drugs system

Meet Wong Tien Yin, the Hong Kong-born Singaporean concerned in China’s quest to develop its educational drugs system

  • Famend ophthalmologist and scientist Wong Tien Yin is the founding head of Tsinghua College’s new well being care and medical sciences academy
  • In his new position, he hopes to hurry analysis and drugs’s integration in China, and practice a brand new era to sort out evolving and rising issues

When famend Singaporean ophthalmologist and scientist Wong Tien Yin agreed to take up a place at China‘s high Tsinghua College final 12 months, he felt he was making, as he describes it, a significant “leap of religion”.

China’s strict border controls and diminished air journey amid the Covid-19 pandemic meant Wong, 54, couldn’t go to the campus in Beijing or work together in particular person with any of his colleagues.

But, the collection of Zoom video interviews with Tsinghua’s management impressed him sufficient that he agreed to be the founding head of Tsinghua Drugs.

Do you’ve questions concerning the greatest subjects and traits from around the globe? Get the solutions with SCMP Information, our new platform of curated content material with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics dropped at you by our award-winning workforce.

An entrance gate to Tsinghua University in Beijing. Photo: Simon Song

© Supplied by South China Morning Submit
An entrance gate to Tsinghua College in Beijing. Picture: Simon Music

The brand new well being care and medical sciences academy goals to coach the following era of pros to straddle each medical care and biomedical analysis, equipping them with the talents to sort out evolving and rising issues.

As a trailblazing clinician-scientist – medical medical doctors who dedicate a big portion of their time to scientific analysis – Wong, who wears quite a few hats in Singapore, is well-placed to go the academy.

‘We belief Singaporean medical doctors extra’: can Bali develop into a medical tourism hub?

He gained the celebrated President’s Scholarship to check drugs on the Nationwide College of Singapore and went on to do a PhD at Johns Hopkins College within the US.

Earlier than his appointment at Tsinghua, he was medical director of the Singapore Nationwide Eye Centre, one of many largest speciality eye hospitals in Asia. He was additionally govt director of the world-leading Singapore Eye Analysis Institute and held a senior management position on the Duke-NUS Medical Faculty, the place he additionally coordinated analysis technique and execution throughout its educational well being care system – the SingHealth Duke-NUS Tutorial Medical Centre – certainly one of two within the metropolis state.

He has stepped down from all roles in Singapore however will probably be a senior adviser on the SingHealth Duke-NUS Tutorial Medical Centre.

It is a chance to make an impression by being a part of [China’s health care] journey

Wong Tien Yin

Wong, whose work has centered on main eye ailments comparable to diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, has gained a number of high analysis awards and provide you with screening and illness prevention methods utilizing telemedicine and revolutionary imaging, together with synthetic intelligence. He was elected to the US Nationwide Academy of Drugs in 2020.

Read Also:  Exhibition reveals Chinese language, Nigerian natural medication in Abuja

He stated he made up his thoughts to guide the brand new academy after a senior Tsinghua professor not too long ago recruited from abroad advised him: “You possibly can both watch the fast growth of China’s well being care system from the sidelines, or be a part of it.”

“So it is a chance to make an impression by being a part of the journey,” Wong stated.

China connection

Wong plans to maneuver to Beijing after the Lunar New Yr together with his spouse Ng Hsueh Mei, a household physician. Their two sons are at present learning drugs at Cambridge College in Britain.

The Tsinghua appointment holds additional significance for him, Wong stated, as his father – John C H Wong, a distinguished economist and coverage researcher who was born in China – was an esteemed sinologist who spent many years learning the nation’s financial system and growth.

“He frequently watched China’s rise over the previous 40 years,” Wong stated. His father taught on the Nationwide College of Singapore for many years and helmed its analysis centre on East Asian research till 1997. He died in 2018.

“I’m certain he would have been very proud that I had taken up this place in Tsinghua,” stated Wong, whose mom is Singaporean sociologist and former Folks’s Motion Social gathering politician Aline Wong – amongst Singapore’s first ladies members of parliament when she was elected in 1984. She served in ministerial positions spanning well being and schooling till retiring in 2001. Each Wong and his mom have been born in Hong Kong.

Wong Tien Yin with his wife Ng Hsueh Mei during a trip to Bath in the UK. Photo: Handout

© Supplied by South China Morning Submit
Wong Tien Yin together with his spouse Ng Hsueh Mei throughout a visit to Tub within the UK. Picture: Handout

At Tsinghua, Wong will deal with integrating China’s college and well being care system into a tutorial drugs system, which is at present not as effectively developed as these within the United States and Australia. This can enable the innovation and analysis capabilities of China’s universities to be utilized in a well being care surroundings.

“These methods usually are not simple to arrange … and there are a lot of pitfalls and challenges in doing this. So that’s the very first thing that I’ll do at Tsinghua,” Wong stated, including that he intends to construct capability for future Chinese language medical doctors, scientists and professors to search out options to well being care points.

Although Tsinghua, Peking, Fudan, Shanghai Jiaotong and Zhongshan are all internationally aggressive, the shortage of formal hyperlinks and constructions between medical faculties and hospitals – save for notable outliers such because the Peking Union Medical School Hospital in Beijing – has resulted within the international standing of China’s well being care system lagging behind others.

Read Also:  Magnificence Drinks Market Measurement to Develop by USD 272.82 million, Asterism Healthcare Group and Bode Professional Inc. Amongst Key Distributors

What Asia’s scramble for mRNA manufacturing amenities means for the longer term

With analysis and educational growth historically coming underneath the remit of the Training Minister, whereas the Well being Ministry or Nationwide Well being Fee takes care of hospitals and public well being, China’s system of educational drugs has “by no means [been] absolutely built-in and aligned”, Wong stated.

“I’m not right here to take a look at a specific analysis downside comparable to ageing, illness or most cancers, or expertise. Fairly, I hope to place in place the foundations for a construction and system, in addition to construct skills and a world perspective, that may enable Tsinghua to work and collaborate on the innovative with the worldwide group.”

Studying from one of the best

Tutorial drugs has its roots within the earliest human civilisations, however the trendy self-discipline’s origins date again to the 1910 Flexner Report, which is commonly credited with remodeling the character and processes of medical schooling within the US and Canada.

Amongst different issues, the book-length report known as for the merger of scientific follow, analysis and medical schooling, which finally led to a number of the extra globally aggressive university-hospital partnerships.

These, based on Wong, embrace the Duke College Faculty of Drugs, Stanford College Faculty of Drugs and Johns Hopkins Drugs.

“A number of the analysis and growth is within the college medical faculties however the software to affected person care is within the hospitals,” he stated.

“Subsequently essentially the most profitable locations are [those that have] one ecosystem the place discoveries could be translated into scientific care shortly by way of scientific trials or implementation.

“I feel that is what Asia wants. Only a few methods and international locations have executed it. Singapore began the journey in educational drugs within the final 10 to fifteen years however fewer methods are in place in different Asian international locations, together with China.”

China understands the challenges which are looming in well being care

Wong Tien Yin

In a press release asserting his appointment, Tsinghua stated that Wong’s experience and worldwide connections would assist the college take the medical schooling it provided to a brand new stage.

“Professor Wong will even be growing new worldwide networks and partnerships with high medical faculties and educational well being care methods within the US, Europe, Asia and Singapore,” it stated, including that Wong’s analysis had improved the understanding of the burden and threat elements of quite a few eye ailments – significantly diabetic retinopathy, a number one reason behind blindness in China and globally.

Read Also:  ISU touts some successes amid continued decline in enrollment pre-dating COVID-19. What are the traits?

Wong additionally hopes to develop China’s pool of clinician-scientists. However this is not going to be simple, he stated, as “out of 100 medical doctors, you’re fortunate if in case you have three to 5” who wish to assume the position – rising to 10 in 100 in additional mature well being care methods.

Is Covid-19 terminal for the center lessons of Malaysia, Indonesia?

China faces comparable issues to societies elsewhere – comparable to an ageing inhabitants, rising well being care prices, the elevated burden of continual illness, and sufferers’ rising expectations – however wants to plan its personal educational drugs mannequin, Wong stated.

The nation’s rising center class of some 600 million folks needs higher diagnoses and care, and typically require extra checks and scans and using robotics, new medicine and precision drugs throughout that remedy, he stated. They’re primarily in search of a greater well being care and affected person expertise.

“China understands the challenges which are looming in well being care,” Wong stated. “[The authorities want] their finest of their universities with the physicians within the hospitals to sort out the issues.”

When China’s leaders “are decided to do one thing they typically put all their energies behind it”, he stated. “Rhey are very resourceful and agile at taking a look at options, they aren’t wedded to a single method.”

Lengthy-term planning and a willingness to adapt will assist, Wong urged, as “well being care, particularly, is just not a frivolous short-term journey, it is a long-term purpose”.

Extra Articles from SCMP

Dietary imbalance might have an effect on bodily and psychological growth of Hong Kong underprivileged kids, survey exhibits

Wheelock fails to search out any purchaser for up to date section of Koko Hills flats as newest coronavirus outbreak retains Hong Kong’s property buyers at residence

Inside Tom Holland and Zendaya’s not-so-secret romance: from Spider-Man’s ‘movie star crush’ on the Euphoria star and their Harry Potter date to these automotive kiss paparazzi pictures

China targets deepfakes in proposed regulation governing deep studying AI applied sciences

This text initially appeared on the South China Morning Submit (, the main information media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2022. South China Morning Submit Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.