Our responsibility to act: the climate crisis will eclipse the pandemic unless we do
The Vice-Chancellor / President’s Blog
It takes a special type of person to dedicate their professional lives to a university.
One of the things that never ceases to inspire me about our people is your passion and real sense of professional pride in what you do.
You work here because you see purpose in our mission. You see the transformative power of a university education, and you see the potential impact of our research on the lives of millions of people in Hong Kong, nationally, and globally.
As Hong Kong grapples with this fifth wave of the pandemic, the significance of this calling has never been greater. The tide of infection sweeping across our city is testing us all. It means time separated from family and loved ones, more changes to the way we work, and we have all made sacrifices.
But I know how deeply this is impacting our medical professionals, our researchers, and our frontline workers who everyday are at the coalface of this pandemic. Your work is inspiring; the CUHK community, and indeed the entire city owes you an enormous debt of gratitude.
I have been deeply touched by the stories I see every day of Estates Management Office staff tirelessly deep cleaning infection sites, security personnel maintaining safe access to our campus, our University Health Service team working around the clock to keep us healthy, and student support teams helping students move into isolation facilities - your selfless dedication to going above and beyond the call of duty is exemplary.
Much has been said over recent days and weeks about the role of the city’s private healthcare providers doing their bit to contain the virus. For the CUHK Medical Centre, they have spared no efforts to help the city at this critical juncture in our battle against COVID-19.
Founded with a mission to bridge the gap between private and public healthcare, by its very nature, CUHKMC is all about leveraging the University’s research and teaching expertise to deliver societal impact.
CUHKMC’s community vaccination centre has administered over half a million jabs over the past twelve months providing a critical frontline defence for so many residents. And over the last few weeks, the team have again risen to the occasion with the rapid establishment of a new PCR testing centre, taken responsibility for a mobile children’s vaccination service, admitted non-COVID patients from the public system to alleviate pressure on the Hospital Authority, set up a step-down facility for recovering positive cases, and standing up a bespoke service to cater for patients experiencing mild symptoms.
Our Faculty of Medicine continues to provide expert advice to government, release world-class COVID-19 research, and support the day-to-day response to the pandemic. Over 1000 of the Faculty’s staff and students have been mobilised in this fight against COVID-19 targeting frontline patient care services, supporting the Hospital Authority hotline, support for community testing, online Chinese medicine consultations for care homes, and the Kowloon City vaccination programme targeting 2,000 residents. Our clinical academics support accident and emergency rooms in our public hospitals, and their presence is often the difference between life and death for all kinds of illnesses at the best of times - let alone in a once in a century global health crisis.
Your recent contributions have not stopped despite the odds – I know many units are in fact dealing with infected cases among their own ranks that have thrown many of you into isolation. But the work continues and you each manage to find a way.
Universities (and ours in particular) have a unique civic role to play, with a public responsibility in this fight against COVID-19. No one else in society can mobilise the expertise and the practical application of decades of research and education in the way we can.
Your response to the pandemic is a living, breathing example of our five-year strategic plan’s commitment to achieve ‘excellence with purpose and responsibility’ - and I salute the tireless, selfless and inspiring contribution of each and every one of you.
Thank you for everything you are doing to see us through this difficult time.