Professor Lau completed his studies then did his internship in England before returning to Dundee in 1988 to do his Doctor of Medicine. He had been thinking of specialising in paediatrics or cardiology, but his supervisor, Professor Jill Belch, saw greater potential in him: she offered him the chance to plough new ground in rheumatoid arthritis in a three-year funded position as research officer. ‘Rheumatology was a very young subspeciality and not many people wanted to do it because there were few effective drugs back then for the conditions we treated. Even me, I didn’t really want to be a rheumatologist at first. But I said yes. I took up the challenge,’ he said. It was a watershed experience in his early career. ‘I came to realise the importance of the patient-doctor rapport and the need to show care for patients. Even though we did not have much to offer them in terms of treatments, by simply listening to patients and empathising with them, we could offer them a lot.’ So much so that when Professor Lau returned to Dundee after a 15year break (more on that later), his patients still remembered him well. Those experiences were echoed years later when, as Associate Dean in Teaching and Learning, Professor Lau developed HKUMed’s exceptional Enrichment Year (EY) curriculum. Introduced with the 2016 MBBS intake, the EY curriculum gives students a full year in their third year of study to pursue other academic interests, do research and/or perform meaningful voluntary service, in Hong Kong or elsewhere. Professor Lau An indelible belief about patient care developed not only a pathway for this to happen but also a strong support system that provides students with meaningful choices and guides them during the planning of and throughout their Enrichment Year. ‘I feel very strongly that this curriculum has been good. It has become an essential part of our students’ growth to have experiences outside of medicine so they can understand medicine more deeply, as well as the rest of the world,’ he said. While the MBBS curriculum as a whole is now under review to accommodate new technologies and the demands of growing student numbers, Professor Lau sees the EY curriculum as a keeper because it adds value to student education. So does the lesson he learned long ago when venturing into rheumatology. ‘Despite all the technological advances, despite all the therapeutic advances, that word of kindness, that moment to show that we care is as important as anything,’ he said. 7 HKUMed News Winter 2022