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2018 年 8 月 29 日

十年磨一劍:
城大動物醫學的誕生

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香港城市大學(城大)動物醫學院以「賽馬會動物醫學及生命科學院」命名,並破土興建「賽馬會健康一體化大樓」。

2008年5月,我抵城大履任, 隨即於7月提出成立動物醫學院的構想,倡導食品安全、人畜共患疾病的科研。該提議獲大學管理層的認同,並與康乃爾大學結盟,共同推展健康一體化的概念。城大先後設立並加強各類動物診治、檢驗、農地設備,做為動物醫學院的輔助設施,爭取完成動物醫學國際認證的目標。

醞釀
2009年,城大向教資會申請政府資助動物醫學專業,未獲接納。2012年底,再次提交申請,又遭拒絕。

一石激起千層浪,創新意味著「改變」和「承擔風險」。不知是否囿於香港曾經是殖民地,以往大小事務都由港英政府決定,前線人員只須盡力執行,並不鼓勵創新。當城大不落窠臼,開設一門社會欠缺的重要學科時,居然有政界強人高調批評,或認為動物醫學院應由其他大學開辦,而且也確有大學有意暗度陳倉。城大歷經波折,面對尖銳的反對聲音,團隊矢志不渝,心想如此大力道的干涉,莫非表示動物醫學專業果然是件值得推動的任務。

誕生
當今百分之七十流行的疾病來自動物,只有從源頭整治,才能確保人類、動物和生活環境的健康。2012年10月胡曉明出任城大校董主席,除了由家族捐出可觀的資金,他協同推廣健康一體化的實施。

2014年初,大學教務會通過成立動物醫學院,9月開辦跨學科博士課程,範圍包括比較生物學、免疫學及傳染病學、分子與系統神經科學。2016年12月,澳洲獸醫管理局認證考察後發出動物醫學「合理保證書」,2017年9月,城大取得「暫準認證資格」。

2017年,城大推出亞洲首個6年制獸醫學士學位課程,600多名正式申請者中,包括多人於北美、英國或新西蘭的大學取得生物科學相關學歷。經口試後,選取12名入學,這些學生畢業時,料可取得認證資格,在香港、澳洲及其他英聯邦地區執業。

感謝教資會2018年再次審核,認可城大的計劃書,建議港府由2019年始,資助城大的獸醫學士學位。

支持
在籌辦過程中,許多專業民調指出市民認同城大的計劃。過去4年內,城大跌破反對者的眼鏡,籌得逾10億港元捐款。除香港賽馬會慈善信託基金外,還有公司、實業家、醫生、慈善人士和校友、同事慷慨解囊。許多捐款人甚至從來不曾捐助任何機構,過去也跟城大沒有任何淵源,而今因為聽到開辦動物醫學院,主動贊助這一具有長遠意義的項目。

我們特別珍惜始終如一堅定支持城大、提供專業指導的康乃爾大學及其學務副校長 Michael Kotlikoff

特首林鄭月娥高瞻遠矚,親自帶頭推動科研創新,令人敬佩。十年以來,獨具慧眼的香港賽馬會葉錫安主席,及城大校董會與前後任校董會主席鍾瑞明、梁振英、孫德基、胡曉明、黃嘉純與校董會成員所給予的指導,都是動物醫學院順利運行的要件。

城大團隊感謝顧問何大一、何兆煒長期的貢獻,還有同事、同學、大學警衛、清潔工、以及許多校外識與不識的專欄及友好人士的精神鼓勵。

未來
過去幾年,我們經常收到深圳、成都、上海等地的詢問,願意提供資源,請求城大在大陸成立動物醫學診所、教研基地,凡此皆可見高速發展中的社會對動物醫學的需求甚殷。動物的健康就是人類的健康,城大動物醫學對維持香港及鄰近地區人、動物、環境和諧的健康一體化,以及全球化具有及時及深遠的影響。

十年磨一劍,今天是亞洲動物醫學發展史上的重要里程碑。我們將在教研、服務上,為香港建設世界級的動物醫學院,促進全球可持續發展。

十年磨一劍 霜刃未曾試 今日把示君 健康一體化
 
 

註:
本文曾載於明報(2018年8月21日)。


Persistence is the Key to Success —
The decade-long struggle behind Vet School

It's been a bumpy ride but Hong Kong's first-ever dedicated college for veterinary medicine is up and running at City University of Hong Kong (CityU).

When I proposed a veterinary medicine school for the One Health concept in 2008 shortly after taking over as president of CityU, the response from our leadership team was positive, but convincing others was a tough sell.

Persuading the government, funding agencies, stakeholders, the media and the general public was like running a marathon. However, our perseverance paid off. Today CityU celebrated the naming ceremony for our Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences; and we witnessed the ground-breaking ceremony for The Jockey Club One Health Tower.

Not only that, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, by supporting veterinary education, has shown great vision in promoting scientific and technological innovation; Jockey Club Chairman Simon Ip was at the forefront of the HK$500 million donation from the Club to CityU; and Hong Kong citizens have been in support of the project, according to many surveys.

No doubt the team spirit within the CityU management, and support from CityU Council, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and internal and external advisors were vital. We are also indebted to our 10-year partner, Cornell University, one of the world's leading institutions in veterinary medicine.

Three points are worth stressing.

Firstly, our health is intrinsically interconnected to the health of animals and the environment at the local and global levels. The One Health concept in our 6-year Veterinary Medicine bachelor curriculum transforms how people look at health and sustainable development today.

Secondly, our veterinary education is exemplary in integrating teaching and research to enhance the quality of student learning. Our researchers teach and our teachers research!

Thirdly, we have added "soulware" to the hardware and software foundation of university education. Soulware means eschewing empty talk, and taking actions to improve the living environment. We need to inculcate our students with a sense of belonging, dedication and aspiration in addition to emphasizing state-of-the-art facilities and interacting with world-leading scholars.

CityU now has the full support of Hong Kong, including that of the UGC announced today, and together we can get to work on preparing world-class professionals for veterinary medicine to fully realize the One Health mission.

Note:
This article was published in the South China Morning Post (20 August, 2018).

 

29 August, 2018

 

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