The Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care (FMPC) was first established in 2010. The FMPC has grown significantly in staff number, curriculum time, research capacity and clinical services since its inauguration. The FMPC currently has 14 academic staff, complemented by over 300 honorary teachers and a team of 30 administrative and research staff.
The FMPC provides both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. It is responsible for four family medicine and primary care programmes, namely Professionalism in Practice (PIP), Clinical Interpersonal Skills (CIPS), Family Medicine Junior Clerkship and Family Medicine and Community Care Specialty Clerkship, which thread through all six years of the undergraduate MBBS curriculum. The Ap Lei Chau General Outpatient Clinic is the designated teaching clinic of the FMPC. We also have a network of another 20 family medicine teaching centres and over 100 community-based family practices that provide clinical experiential learning in both public and private primary care for our students. The FMPC runs several taught postgraduate diploma and certificate courses for practicing primary care doctors and Chinese Medicine practitioners to promote continuous professional development.
The FMPC is research-intensive with a focus on primary health care services, health-related quality of life measurement, medical education and mental health. It has developed expertise in population surveys, primary care quality and outcome evaluation, psychometric instrument testing, practice-based network research and the application of qualitative and mixed research methods in health and health services research. The research achievement of the Department is recognized by the appointment of staff members as Co-chair and members of the Government Research Council, Grant Review Boards, Research Assessment Exercise Review Panels and Advisory Panels. The Department has many ongoing long-term, commissioned, theme-based, collaborative as well as pilot projects supported by external and internal research grants, with a regular complement of research postgraduate students. We have close collaborations with many schools and departments within and outside the Faculty of Medicine, in particular the Bau Institute of Medical and Health Sciences Education (BIMHSE), School of Nursing, School of Public Health, Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, Department of Medicine, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and the Faculty of Engineer.
The FMPC provides regular clinical services at the Ap Lei Chau General Outpatient Clinic and the Family Medicine Department of the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital. They are accredited training centres for structured family medicine training in Hong Kong and Mainland China, respectively. Our clinical services serve as a model and benchmark of quality primary care, advocating evidence-based, patient-centred and integrative bio-psycho-social care. We were the pioneer in the use of ICPC-2 classification for primary care encounters, as well as for shared care and special clinics for chronic disease management and trans-professional medical-psychosocial services. Staff members of our Department serve as chair and members in various Government primary care task forces, advisory panels, working groups and committees, and boards of professional colleges and societies. We play an active leadership role in committees of international professional organizations including the WHO and WONCA.
We strive to promote quality primary care through Family Medicine education, research, collaboration and innovative clinical services.
We aim to be a leader in academic Family Medicine and Primary Care and to have an influence on health care policy, medical education and clinical research nationally and internationally.
Strategic Goals 2017-2022
Our goals align with those of the University of Hong Kong and the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine:
- To achieve academic excellence through innovation in teaching, learning and research
- To nurture humanistic doctors and scholars who are committed to the highest standards of care and professionalism
- To enhance the quality of primary care and the health of individuals and families through translational research and service innovation
- To serve society through knowledge exchange and partnership with the community
- To be a regional leader for education and research in family medicine and primary care, and raise the global presence and visibility of the University, the Faculty and the Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care
We started with a unit (the General Practice Unit) in the Department of Medicine in 1985 with two academic staff and no more than 20 hours of student contact in the 5-year MBBS curriculum in 1985. The Unit was renamed the Family Medicine Unit in 1998 and we grew steadily in the number of academic staff, curriculum time and research capacity we had over the years. In 2010, an independent Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care was established. Our Department currently has 10 full-time academic staff, 300 honorary teachers and 30 research or administrative staff.
Our family medicine and primary care programmes contribute 400 hours of contact teaching from year one to year six in the MBBS curriculum. Our pedagogical approach is to enable students to learn through clinical skills practice and experiential learning. Professionalism and whole-person patient-centred care are the overarching themes that thread through all our undergraduate education programmes. We introduced the new and unique Professionalism in Practice Programme (PIP) in 2012, which has evolved to be an international exemplar of its kind. In 2016, we had a significant enhancement to the family medicine curriculum with the implementation of a new 7-week Family Medicine and Community Care (FMCC) Specialty Clerkship for final year MBBS students . We value transdisciplinary learning and emphasize the integration of mental health and elderly care with primary care.
Our Department is research intensive with 40 ongoing research projects focussing on health and health services for primary care, health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcome, mental health and medical education, which are in line with our vision and mission. An important recognition of our research achievement was the establishment of the Danny D. B. Ho Endowed Professorship in Family Medicine in 2012 when the University of Hong Kong celebrated its centenary.
Responding to the opportunity of primary care reform in China, we established a Department of Family Medicine in the new University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital (HKUSZH) in July 2012. We pioneered a new general practice led service delivery model in China which demonstrated how general practitioners can provide cost-effective primary and integrated chronic care. We have promoted evidence-based practice in primary care and the elimination of unnecessary intravenous treatment, investigations and medications.
The Hong Kong College of Family Physicians (HKCFP) Visiting Professorship in Family Medicine endowed by the HKCFP (formerly the HKCGP) in 1985 has been instrumental to the growth of our Department. It has brought internationally renowned academics including the late Professor Hammish Barber and Professor Barbara Starfield, past WONCA presidents, Professor Chris Van Weel and Professor Amanda Howe, to advise and mentor our research development.
Launch of Family Medicine and Community Care (FMCC) Specialty Clerkship
Establishment of Department of Family Medicine & Primary Care
Establishment of Family Medicine Unit
Establishment of General Practice Unit