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PolyU announced in a press conference yesterday (23 September) its launch of the first Master of Science in Medical Physics (MScMP) programme in Hong Kong to meet the future demand for Medical Physicists. The curriculum is designed to cover various aspects including health technology, physics and engineering, offering interdisciplinary training for professionals who are keen to pursue a career in the field of medical physics.

According to Professor David Ho-keung Shum, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences of PolyU, the demand for healthcare services is increasing as our society ages. With the advancement of technology and patients’ growing expectation of higher service standards, we are in need of additional workforce.

Professor Shea-ping Yip, Head of the Department of Health Technology and Informatics of PolyU, added that the market in the mainland China for radiotherapy is expected to grow by 11 to 13% in the coming years, and it is estimated that an additional 2,500 Medical Physicists are required in order to sustain the current equipment level.

However, a higher degree programme in Medical Physics was previously not available in Hong Kong or nearby regions. According to Dr Michael Chi-hang Lee, President of the Hong Kong Association of Medical Physics, half of the practicing Medical Physicists in Hong Kong obtained a relevant higher degree overseas, while the other half pursued their master degree in physics or engineering in Hong Kong, and received “on-the-job” training while working as a Resident Physicist.

In 2018, the Department of Health Technology and Informatics of PolyU received positive responses from the industry regarding the introduction of an MScMP programme in Hong Kong. After two years’ preparation, the inaugural 2020/21 cohort of 26 students has enrolled, among which 70% have a physics or engineering-related degree while 20% are graduates in radiotherapy. The majority are working adults, and one-fifth of them are in the healthcare/medical field. Starting salary point of around HK$40,000 could be expected for MScMP graduates entering the public healthcare system.

Professor Jing Cai, programme leader and Professor of the Department of Health Technology and Informatics, said the programme is taught by an interdisciplinary team, aiming to broaden students’ perspectives in medical science and technology development, and equip them with professional knowledge, relevant skillsets as well as research capabilities.

Professor Kwok-yin Wong, Vice President (Education) of PolyU, sees the interdisciplinary trends in higher education. He said, “We are considering switching some of our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes from single-disciplinary to interdisciplinary, so as to better address societal needs.” (Sing Tao Daily F01, Sky Post P06, Ta Kung Pao A09, Wen Wei Po A21, Lion Rock Daily P10)

 

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