Gabriel Leung

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Gabriel Matthew Leung, GBS, JP (Chinese: 梁卓偉, born in 6 November, 1972 in Hong Kong), a clinician and a public health authority, is Dean of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Leung concurrently holds the Chair of Public Health Medicine at HKU.

He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Medicine and was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star (second highest civilian honour) by the Hong Kong government for distinguished service in protecting and promoting population health.

Leung’s career combines academic research, teaching, government service and global engagement. He joined the HKU medical faculty in 1999 and was promoted to full professor in 2006.[1] In 2008 Leung joined the HKSAR government, serving as Under Secretary for Food and Health until 2011 and then Director of Office of the Chief Executive until mid-2012. He was appointed Dean of Medicine in 2013. Prior to that Leung was Professor and Head of Community Medicine at HKU. Debrett’s Hong Kong 100 lists Leung as one of the 100 most influential people in Hong Kong.[2] Leung is one of Asia’s leading epidemiologists. He regularly advises national and international agencies including the World Health Organization, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. [3]

Education[edit]

Leung studied at Wah Yan College in Hong Kong, later at Stonyhurst College in the United Kingdom and Crescent School in Canada. He read medicine at Western Ontario and completed family medicine residency training in Toronto. Leung received his master’s from Harvard University in 1999 and was Takemi Fellow there in 2005. He earned his higher doctorate by research only from HKU.[4]

Deanship[edit]

Leung was appointed the fortieth Dean of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong in August 2013.

He started to reform the admission policy of the Faculty soon after taking up the Deanery, with emphasis on the quest of finding candidates with potential qualities of a true and resilient humane medical practitioner (仁醫), a regular theme in his speeches and sharing with students.

One of the first admission reform initiatives was “Springboard Scholarships”. The Scholarships are awarded to first year undergraduate students of the Faculty. Preference is given to students from less advantaged backgrounds, those who belong to minority groups or those who otherwise have had a harder early life than others. Students from non-traditional paths with solid academic achievements, particularly from underprivileged families, are given priority.[5] In his “State of Faculty Address” delivered at the Faculty’s congregation in 2014, Leung described the initiative as a means to “fulfil our societal obligation where an education at HKU’s premier faculty can continue to be the great equaliser of the lottery of birth and breeding.”

His further efforts to enrich the inclusive and diversity of the Faculty’s student body include the “Second Chance” scheme announced in 2015. The scheme provides an additional admission route open to all comers, including high school leavers in previous years, current students and degree holders, in particular those who had not previously applied but have now identified medicine as a newfound career choice for laudable reasons.

Under his Deanship, the School of Biomedical Sciences was formally formed on the amalgated strengths of the erstwhile departments of anatomy, biochemistry and physiology, and a new Academic Emergency Medicine Unit was established.[6]

Leung also initiated the process of bringing the HKU’s different clinical activities at its four affiliate teaching hospitals (Queen Mary,[7] HKU-Shenzhen,[8] Gleneagles HK [9] and the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital[10]) under the clinical governance umbrella of “HKU Health System” following examples such as Harvard Medical School Affiliates, UCL Partners in the UK, and Singapore’s National University Health System.

Academic Profile[edit]

Leung is a highly accomplished scholar and has made distinguished contributions in the field of public health medicine, notably in the control of infectious diseases, life course epidemiology and health systems and policy research.

Leung holds a deep admiration for the ideal of a “polymath” who masters several apparently disparate disciplines. In a speech delivered at the 2014 Anthony J Hedley Lecture of the School of Public Health in honour of his mentor that the lecture was named after, Leung spoke of “a renaissance quality” that has become “a rarity in today’s world of super-specialisation and the Fordian reductive approach to hone perfection”. Leung said he saw in Prof Hedley “the qualities of a generalist with a strategic command of the full ecoscape of all that matter to population health but one who can at once become a competent, even expert, specialist in a specific area when called upon”, which epitomised what he said he has been modelling after in his career.[11]

Within the broad scope of public health medicine, his major interests revolve around topics that 1) have major population health impact locally, 2) where Hong Kong is a reliable and unique epidemiologic sentinel for mainland China, or 3) where Hong Kong is particularly endowed and best placed to address the fundamental science at hand. As such his research crosses the traditional boundaries of individual disciplines or fields of enquiry.

Specifically, for over a decade, his team has leveraged on several ongoing large-scale cohort studies, namely the "Children of 1997" birth cohort, Elderly Health Services cohort, Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study and FAMILY cohort, to test a series of novel hypotheses based on a socio-historical perspective of life course epidemiologic theory. These investigations have proposed novel insights about the fundamental biologic pathways leading to common non-communicable diseases, namely cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes, with global health relevance.[12]

Leung established and directed the University’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group since the time of the 2003 SARS epidemic and led Hong Kong government’s efforts against pandemic H1N1 in 2009. He continues to co-head the School’s WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, an institution designated by the Director-General of WHO to form part of an international collaborative network set up by WHO in support of its programme at the country, intercountry, regional, interregional and global levels. Leung’s team of investigators is now recognised as one of the leading epidemiologic laboratories in the field of influenza research.[13]

Another key component of his research programme is health systems and policy research, where his team has been responsible for national health accounting for the Hong Kong government and as consultant to governments throughout the region. It has also been a major contributor to the EQUITAP and Global Network for Health Equity projects (sponsored by EU FP7 and IDRC), assessing the equity performance of health systems across more than a dozen countries in the Asia Pacific and globally respectively. [14]

Leung has also pioneered the development of cost-effectiveness, health systems, financing and policy research in Hong Kong and around the Asia Pacific region. From 2010 until 2014, he served as inaugural Chair of the Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, a multipartite partnership of governments, development agencies and the research community.[15] His team has also been commissioned by the Hong Kong government to develop and evaluate screening strategies for breast and colorectal cancer prevention, as well as to undertake projections to inform human resources for health planning.

Leung maintains a substantial teaching commitment in the undergraduate medical and postgraduate public health curricula. His teaching has been recognised by the award of the University Teaching Fellowship and the Faculty Teaching Medal, respectively the highest honour for teaching achievements conferred by the University and the medical school.

Leung is the inaugural Master of Chi Sun College at HKU.[16] The residential College targets a 1:1 ratio of undergraduate and postgraduate students and also features a culturally diverse student body, with the aim of fostering exchange between them. Leung describes in his Master’s message that the College’s mission is to nurture a community of freely enquiring minds through providing a stimulating environment where students and scholars would aspire to innovate.

Professional Engagement[edit]

He was Vice President and Censor in Public Health Medicine of the Hong Kong College of Community Medicine,[17] and is an elected Council member of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine.[18] He is registered in Hong Kong as a medical practitioner under limited registration and as a Specialist in Public Health Medicine.[19] He is an honorary consultant in family medicine and primary care of Queen Mary Hospital/Hong Kong West Cluster and attends a weekly clinic.

He has served on the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future led by the US National Academy of Medicine,[20] the International Expert Group Convening on Pandemic Emergency Preparedness for G7 Summit, the Harvard-LSHTM Independent Panel on the Global Response to Ebola and was an expert reviewer for the United Nations Secretary-General High-level Panel on the Global Response to Health Crises.[21]

Government and Public service[edit]

Leung joined the HKSAR government in 2008 and served as the first Under Secretary for Food and Health until 2011. From 2011-12, he was the fifth Director of Office of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. He returned to HKU after finishing his term with the government in 2012.

Leung is a member of the Hospital Authority Board and of the University Grants Committee,[22] respectively a statutory agency responsible for all public health care services and an advisory body on the development and funding requirements of the higher education sector in Hong Kong.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Prof Gabriel M Leung - School of Public Health The University of Hong Kong". University of Hong Kong. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  2. ^ "Professor Gabriel Matthew Leung, GBS". Archived from the original on 2016-03-11.
  3. ^ "Bulletin of the World Health Organization".
  4. ^ "Prof Gabriel M Leung - School of Public Health The University of Hong Kong". University of Hong Kong. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Reflections: broadening students' minds is as important as results". Education Post. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  6. ^ "'Bringing Emergency Medicine to Community': HKU Medical Students Teaching Domestic Workers Basic Life Support Skills for the Elderly". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Queen Mary Hospital".
  8. ^ "HKU-SZ Hospital". Archived from the original on 2015-12-22.
  9. ^ "Groundbreaking of New Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital". Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital". Archived from the original on 2011-11-11.
  11. ^ "HKU School of Public Health hosts the Fourth Hong Kong Public Health Forum on The Role of the Generalist - A Tribute to Professor Anthony J Hedley". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  12. ^ "HKU announces a "Children of 1997" cohort study showing breastfeeding's impact on Hong Kong's public health Baby Friendly Action Joint Declaration signed on site to urge for immediate implementation of the HK Code". Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  13. ^ "About The Faculty". Archived from the original on 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  14. ^ "Equitap analysis".
  15. ^ "Health in Transition (HiT) publication". Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  16. ^ "Chi Sun College". Archived from the original on 2016-04-12.
  17. ^ "Hong Kong College of Community Medicine".
  18. ^ "Hong Kong Academy of Medicine".
  19. ^ Listing in the Medical Council of Hong Kong
  20. ^ "Global Health Risk Framework".
  21. ^ "Secretary-General Appoints High-Level Panel on Global Response to Health Crises". Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  22. ^ "Membership of University Grants Committee". Retrieved 2 December 2015.
Political offices
New office Under Secretary for Food and Health
2008–2011
Succeeded by
Sophia Chan
Preceded by
Raymond Tam
Director of the Chief Executive's Office
2011–2012
Succeeded by
Edward Yau
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Benjamin Tang
Recipients of the Gold Bauhinia Star
Hong Kong order of precedence
Recipients of the Gold Bauhinia Star
Succeeded by
Lau Siu Kai
Recipients of the Gold Bauhinia Star