Dean's Message

The passes so quickly, the year of 2004 is to be gone in a few days. While we feel lucky that there is no SARS case reported this winter, a devastating earthquake followed by killed tsunamis seriously damaged most of the seashore areas in Southern Asia and had caused tremendous casualty and property loss on December 26, 2004. The whole world was shocked by the catastrophe and mourned together for the victms and their beloved families. At a moment like this, the emergency medical personnel and the rescue teams are usually the first arrival groups entering the disaster area and provide most help. Despite the dangerous situation and deteriorating working condition, they must put out all their efforts to grasp the precious moment to rescue the victims and provide immediate care for the injured. These people must have sympathy, courage and responsibility to keep their enthusiasm going; otherwise their missions would not be accomplished. To cultivate physicians with these noble characters has been one of the main objectives of medical education at the National Taiwan University College of Medicine (NTUCM) since its establishment more than a century ago.

I am glad to announce that, after more than two year's scrutiny and evaluation the School of Medicine at the NTUCM had met the criteria of the Taiwan Medical Accreditation Council and became the first and the only medical school in our country having passed the accreditation processes in April 2004. The School is currently applying to join the study project of the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). Being evaluated by WFME standards, I wish our medical education will catch up international standards In addition, the School of Nursing also received inspection and evaluation from the Taiwan Nursing Accreditation Council. To my own understanding, besides receiving intramural evaluation within the university, it will be necessary for all our departments and/or graduate institutes to receive external evaluation in the future. Through this mechanism I hope each school/institute at the NTUCM will do self-review from time to time and keep progress continuously.

There are two aspects in medical education including basic medicine and clinical medicine. In basic medicine, in addition to teaching students with professional knowledge of various disciplines, the students are required to take certain credits of common courses each semester. Another important issue in 2004 was that the Ph.D. students were encouraged and funded to attend international conferencs actively. Through this kind of experiences, the students not only can acquire new knowledge and broaden their views but also have chances to interact with foreign scholars or research investigators. Hopefully, this will increase their ability in doing research and upgrade research level of the NTUCM.

The concept of "whole-person" medical care should be emphasized to all students in clinical education. In the past, clerkship trainings for medical or paramedical students at the university hospital were mainly observation, and there were relatively few hands-on practices. This not only jeopardized their learning in fundamental skills but also delayed the nurture of health care personnel. Hence, a new program in clinical education has been implemented to promote the hands-on learning for fifth- and sixth-years' medical students in Departments of Internal Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics/Gynecology and Pediatrics since the second semester of academic year 2004. Though the effects need to be further evaluated, its success definitely relies on effort and support from every faculty member, student and administrative staff.

Beyond high-quality teaching, the research level is also one of the most important indicators showing our determination in pursuing excellence. The recent development for academic research has been transformed from single efforts to interdisciplinary collaboration. For this purpose, a research center for genomic medicine (NTU Center for Genomic Medicine) supported by the Ministry of Education has been established in 2003 and moved into its present location within the newly constructed NTUH Conference Hall and Research Building in March, 2004. We will actively integrate all the interested investigators of different disciplines in the Medical Center and University campus to work together. I am sure its operation has been a great help to promote biomedical research of the NTUCM.

The updated Bulletin of the NTUCM introduces its past history, present status and future visions. By writing this article, I would like to work harder together with all the colleagues and students to reach our ultimate goal - upgrading the NTUCM to be a world-class medical school.
Present Dean

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