Transformative Education
for Health Professionals

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Hong Kong Public Health Initiative (HKPHI)

Elgar CP Lam, HK Lo, HL Wong, Sam WS Li, Tiffany LY Yeung, Tracy CW Lai, TL Lam, TY Yu, Zoe SY Tsang

An interprofessional platform led by students of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Volunteers are recruited annually and trained to become educators and advocates in health. They are assigned into groups, each having a specific topic related to public health. Medical students provide their clinical insights, while Public Health students provide practical approach in health education. They join hand, from planning to implementation stage, to produce evidence-based education sessions for local high school students.


Full project description: 

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) started the undergraduate programs Bachelor of Science in Public Health in 2009 and Bachelor of Science in Community Health Practice in 2013. Meanwhile, public health knowledge is being integrated into the Liberal Studies curriculum for secondary students in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Public Health Initiative (HKPHI), a project founded and led by students from CUHK, illustrates how students can take a proactive role to contribute in transformative education.


HKPHI has two primary aims:

1. To empower future medical and public health professionals to be the ones to make a difference to the status quo of the general health in the community

  • To foster, from undergraduate level, multidisciplinary collaboration. Specifically,
  • Public health students are to apply their textbook knowledge in designing and implementing health education programs
  • Medical students are to provide their clinical insights in health issues
  • To train health educators and advocates

2. To increase the awareness of various public health issues in the general population.

  • To inspire local youths in secondary schools with the essence of public and global health concepts, preparing them for their participation in the local and international discussions related to public health


The above framework explains how HKPHI functions. Interprofessional education is achieved when volunteers plan for education sessions. Social impact is made when local high school students receive the sessions and gain insights into important public health concepts.


Highly motivated CUHK students are recruited annually. They are divided into Small Working Groups (SWGs), each with a specific area of concentration. The topics illustrate how health is related to various issues ranging from their own health behaviors to external factors such as the healthcare system and the global environment. Here are some examples:

  • Health Inequity (in Natural Disaster)
  • Cervical Cancer and its Screening
  • Organ & Cadaver Donation
  • Mental Health Disorders and Discrimination
  • Food Safety
  • Human Resources for Health & Health Financing
  • Millennium Development Goals: Poverty as a Social Determinant of Health
  • Ebola: Outbreak in West Africa

In a fashion of “Train the Trainers”, CUHK students receive peer education to enhance their knowledge before they design and perform education sessions. Such sessions, targeted at secondary school students, can be in the form of interactive workshops, small group discussions, presentations, or case studies. They are to be informative, innovative and insightful. Education sessions, as a form of social service, provide incentive for volunteers to devote time and allow volunteers to appreciate the need to work with students from other disciplines.

Distinguished scholars in public health have been invited to be advisors for HKPHI. Educational materials are evidence-based. The SWGs regularly consult experts in related field. These measures improve the credibility of teaching materials for the public.

The I‧CARE Programme of CUHK has provided financial support to HKPHI. The organization and its funding proposal are reviewed annually. After each session in secondary schools, the participants fill out a questionnaire to evaluate their knowledge on the topic and the trainers’ performance.

By 2014, 70 CUHK students have participated in the work of HKPHI and provided service to hundreds of secondary school students.




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