Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Updates on Perdana University - Berita MMA Interview with Dean, Prof Dr Charles M. Wiener MD - Part II

1) So, when are you ready to take on your first batch of students?
Prof Dr Charles: We're ready to take on our first batch of students in September 2011. We're hoping that students will take the MCAT in spring 2011. There's a board that runs the US MCAT, they have agreed to have additional tests in Kuala Lumpur. Before that we only had one offering then we met them personally and told them about our project, they were so excited about it, they have agreed to open up additional test dates.
2) How many students can the programme accommodate in Malaysia?
Prof Dr Charles: We're planning to accommodate up to 100 students per year and there is only one intake per year which will start in Fall of 2011.
3) What are your plans in terms of faculty recruitment for the Perdana University?
Prof Dr Charles: Right from the start, we're expecting the faculty and students, in my terms, to be at Johns Hopkins standards, which are extremely high standards.
I am talking to a number of faculties in the region and trying to be very selective. I've alreadt preliminarily recruited a number of Johns Hopkins' faculty who want to come out here anywhere from six months to 2 years or even longer.
We will be utilising Hopkins' faculty to come out for 2-week periods of time to deliver specific parts of our curriculum that we don't have covered by instrinsic faculty. We've already started planning for all of these faculty positions.
Another aspect of our mission here which is also quite distinct is to establish a research presence of Johns Hopkins quality. Johns Hopkins research has a tripartite mission: patient care, teaching and research. We're planning on mimicking all three of these missions here at Perdana.
So, we're already recruiting research faculty and what we're trying to do now is establish our initial research initiatives that we're going to focus on. This will most certainly include Bio-informatics which is a strength of this region already and we're going to take advantage of that and also genomics, taking advantage of the unique aspect of South East Asia.
There is a lot of commitment from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore to support, collaborate and take advantage of some of the infrastructure that we've already created in Baltimore to make it easier for us to work over here.
4) What would be the criteria that you are looking for in your medical educators?
Prof Dr Charles: The key is medical educators who are experienced and are opened to a US-style of the "Genes to Society" perspective.
For instance, 3 years ago, the Johns Hopkins faculty didn't know what constitutes the "Genes to Society" perspective. It is important that people are keen to learn our curriculum; they have to be committed to student centric education and/or research that will help this country and this region.
The "Genes to Society" curriculum took us five to six years to plan and 2 years to implement. If you do a public search on my name, in a journal called Academic Medicine published in March 2010, there's an article that we wrote describing the logic and the whole process behind the whole "Genes to Society" curriculum.
5) Will Johns Hopkins or Perdana University be conferring the degree?
Prof Dr Charles: The Diploma will be conferred by the Perdana University. The logo of Perdana University has a line that reads "in collaboration with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine". Essentially, this is a Malaysian university that is meant to improve the health of Malaysia and the region. However, the curriculum and structure of the programme will be exactly the same.
6) Do you have any final words to our readers?
Prof Dr Charles: Everyone in Baltimore is tremendously excited about this project at many levels. There is great enthusiasm for this region and this country. This is a place that already vale education and excellence, and is ready to take on the challenge of having a truly integrated academic medical centre built here. We've seen nothing but positive feedback here and also in Baltimore on this project.
7) What are your channels for communication for doctors and potential students to get in touch with you regarding teaching and research prospects as well as enquiries about this programme?
Prof Dr Charles: I will be starting work in KL mid-January 2011. Enquiries can be addressed to this email (enquiries@acadmedc.com) or to The Academic Medical Centre Sdn Bhd, Suite 5.3, 5th Floor, Wisma Chase Perdana, Off Jalan Semantan, Damansara Heights, 50490 KL. You can also reach us at this telephone number 03-27183888 or fax number 03 20945984.

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