Good clinical outcomes and medical research go hand in hand. In Hong Kong’s local public healthcare system, many doctors who have reached a certain stage in their career are interested in and capable of conducting research, either to record their unique clinical experience and knowledge into systematic findings, or to explore new ideas that could benefit medical advancement and clinical practice. However, with quality patient service as top priority, the associated heavy clinical workload can be a major challenge for non-academic public hospital doctors in finding the time and capacity to conduct research. There is also a lack of dedicated resources to support those interested to explore this direction to become physician-scientists.
The D. H. Chen Foundation understands the importance of research opportunities for public doctors as well as the unique insights they may bring to the research community, and therefore took the initiative of drawing up a preliminary framework of person-based support within the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital (“HKCH”), leading to the establishment of The D. H. Chen Foundation Clinical Research Fellowship Program (“the Program”), the first of its kind within Hong Kong’s public hospital system.
HKCH is the first pediatric specialist hospital under the Hospital Authority that receives referral cases of complex, serious and rare pediatric diseases requiring multi-disciplinary management. The Program aims to develop a structured mechanism to nurture pediatric research expertise and enhance research capability in order to raise the overall standard of pediatric services. Selected HKCH doctors who wish to conduct pediatric research projects will participate in part-time research work for two consecutive years, under the supervision of medical faculty of The Chinese University of Hong Kong or The University of Hong Kong. Relieving staff will be hired to provide medical service in HKCH, so that the hospital’s clinical workforce and delivery of quality healthcare would not be affected.
With the Foundation’s support, the Program will offer protected time and resources for doctors in their early to mid-career to acquire skills and experience in the research community, without compromising the clinical service of HKCH. At the same time, the Program plays a vital role in enhancing the overall standard of pediatric service by promoting collaboration between HKCH and the universities in yielding quality research data and findings that could either be translated into clinical best practices for direct patient care, or stimulate new discoveries with far-reaching impact. The Foundation believes the Program would be beneficial not only to local doctors, patients, HKCH and the universities concerned, but also the wider local healthcare system and global development in pediatrics at large.