Genomics Keynote at 6th Pan-Pacific Nursing Conference, Hong Kong

March 14, 2016

The GPU’s Professor Maggie Kirk was delighted to present a keynote paper on Realising Genomics in 21st Century Healthcare at the Nethersole School of Nursing’s 6th Pan-Pacific Nursing Conference and First Colloquium on Chronic Illness Care earlier this month. The conference formed one of the key celebrations to mark the Silver Jubilee Anniversary of the School, which is part of the Faculty of Medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

More than 500 health and social care delegates from over 20 countries attended the conference, which this year had the theme of “Achieving Transformational and Sustainable Development in Health and Social Care”.

Similar to other cities around the world, Hong Kong is now facing major healthcare challenges particularly the escalating burden of chronic illnesses arising from a rapidly ageing global population. The conference aim was thus to provide an international platform for discussion and debate among local, mainland and overseas service providers, policy makers, academics and researchers on strategies and initiatives to achieve transformational and sustainable development in health and social care in local and global contexts.

Professor Sek-ying Chair, Director and Professor of the Nethersole School of Nursing gave the Welcoming Address at the lively Opening Ceremony, attended by distinguished guests from the CHUK and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Professor Sophia Chan, JP (pictured), Under Secretary for Food and Health, HKSAR, gave the Opening remarks on the global challenges to health systems.

Delegates were also treated to a cultural display from two dancing lions and their keeper!

Following the ceremony, Professor Patricia Davidson, Dean of the School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University, USA delivered a keynote address discussing the role of social determinants in chronic care outcomes. She argued for the importance of a focus on the social determinants of health, and that they were just as powerful as genetic determinants. In her keynote, Professor Kirk talked about the growing understanding of the links between epigenomics and long-term health. She argued that advances in epigenomics were providing the ‘hard evidence’ for the importance of social determinants of health and outlined the challenges to sustainable improvements in healthcare that made use of new knowledge and technologies related to genomics.

The three day conference, with over 230 scientific abstracts presented, provided an excellent platform for discussion on contemporary health issues and emerging challenges, innovative practice, care of older people, chronic illness care and social care, and transformational leadership and reforms in healthcare systems.

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