Immunology and Allergy has become ‘popular’ due to the potential side effects of COVID vaccines, Dr Li believes that it is still good to see public awareness of the specialty on the rise. Indeed, with the rapidly increasing demand for related medical needs, the waiting time for public specialists has now been extended to as long as 7-8 years, and still counting. Rather than being thwarted by such challenges, Dr Li sees it as a great honour to serve patients. ‘Imagine that patients have already endured a long wait before arriving at my consultation room. They might have seen almost all other specialties but still found no cure. Their frustration, if any, is perfectly understandable. Perhaps Immunology and Allergy is their last hope. If we don’t do our best to help, how hopeless would that be?’ Similar to rare bone diseases, many immunology diseases are hereditary and takes a long time to follow up. This allows Dr Li and Dr To to build rapport and trust with patients. Very often, Dr Li also invites patients to attend sharing sessions and convey their expectations to policymakers, with a view to prompting the introduction of new treatments and relevant subsidies to improve the patients’ quality of life. Promoting collaboration and nurturing talents To meet the rising demand for medical services, all four winners see allocating resources to nurture the next generation of medical practitioners as the top priority. They have been continuously working with the Faculty to enhance the curriculum, enrich students’ learning experience and prepare them for challenges in the future. For example, Dr Lam’s team has organised a number of interdisciplinary emergency competitions in the newly built simulation ward, which allowed students to learn from ‘mistakes’ made in a relatively ‘safe’ environment. ‘Humility is key to offer high-quality clinical services – medical practitioners should be willing to learn from patients and past mistakes, and never stop striving for excellence.’ For staff members who were not awarded this year, Dr Victoria Wong encourages them to try again next year. ‘Due to the large number of excellent candidates, we had a difficult time in selecting the awardees. The evaluation criteria are based on the outcomes of the clinical services delivered, and it does take time for the results to fully harvest. We have seen great potentials in many of the applicants, and we look forward to seeing more fruitful outcomes from the clinical staff in the foreseeable future.’ ↑→ Dr Li attends media interviews and meets with his patients regularly to raise public awareness on allergy and immunology, as well as answer questions regarding allergic reactions after COVID-19 vaccination. 37 HKUMed News Winter 2022