M’sian surgeon gets prestigious US surgical award


WASHINGTON DC: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Urologists and Sexual Medicine Profesor Dr Christopher Ho Chee Kong became the first Malaysian to receive the International Guest Scholarship Award from the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

The award was presented by Giuseppe Nigri, who is also Chair of the International Relations Committee (IRC) Scholar Selection Subcommittee of the ACS, at a ceremony during its annual congress recently in the United States capital.

American College of Surgeons Vice-President Prof Hilary Sanfey said: “We are particularly, pleased that one of the 2016 recipients is Dr Christopher Ho Chee Kong, the first surgeon from Malaysia to receive this honour.

“Dr Kong (Ho) is one of 12 recipients selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants, all of whom had demonstrated a commitment to teaching and/or research in accordance with the standards of the applicant’s country,” she told Bernama when contacted.

On being the first Malaysian to be recognised by American Surgeons, Dr Ho, 41, of Malacca, said: “I am very happy and proud as a Malaysian…to be accepted in America, traditionally all doctors in Malaysia look up to the United Kingdom or Australia.”

Dr Ho was given the opportunity to carry out clinical, teaching and research activities in North America, besides attending and participating in fully educational opportunities and activities of the ACS Clinical Congress.

The son of parents who taught deaf students at a school in Malacca, did not expect his application to be part of the ACS programme would be accepted with US$10,000 in scholarship.

“I sent the application early last year to be in the programme, and only received an email answer at the end of the year,” he told Bernama while thanking College of Surgeons of Malaysia president Prof Dr Hanafiah Harunarashid, who he said had put in a good word to ACS on his application.

During the five-day congress beginning Oct 16, Dr Ho also presented a paper on “Surgical Training in Malaysia: Challenges and Roadmap”, which was also attended by Dr Hanafiah.

While in the US, he also had the opportunity to visit the world-renowned University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre, where he observed robotic surgery on prostate cancer and kidney cancer performed by the distinguished Professor of Urology, Dr Claus Roehrborn.

He also took a tour of the facilities and the set-up of this spanking new state-of-the-art university hospital and was mentored by the illustrious Professor Dr Arthur Sagalowsky, another prominent urologist in America.

Meanwhile, Dr Hanifah said the Malaysia College of Surgeons and indeed, the nation was very proud to see the young surgeon receiving the award from the largest surgical institution in the world at a meeting attended by 30,000 surgeons from all over the world.

“I hope this will be an inspiration to our young trainees in Malaysia and Dr Christopher (Ho) will use this opportunity to learn some of the finer aspects of modern surgery from the institutions that have produced many Nobel laureates and transfer the knowledge for the benefit of our patients,” said Dr Hanifah, when met in Washington recently.

Dr Hanifah, who has also won the International Medal for Distinguished Award from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, is the first Malaysian to have received the award.