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Achieving True Potential at IMU

20 Aug 2014

The International Medical University (IMU) is home to many well – known researchers and scholars who are faculty members who work to create meaningful learning experiences for our students. They often play many roles as tutors, teachers, administrators and counsellors.  One of these faculty members is IMU’s Vice-President, Prof Peter Pook. Here, Prof Pook shares with us pharmacy alumni and student who are doing well in their life. “I have often been asked why I have chosen a career in education from a list of other ambitions that I had.  Like many other teachers, the reason behind my passion, in my role as an educationist, is the opportunity to play a small part in a student’s entire educational journey – to be able to guide individuals to achieve their true potential.  Today, I would like to share with you the stories of four such individuals whom I met in IMU.” “I met Kenji Chua Sui Heng, a Pharmacy student, in the year 2000 when I joined IMU as Director of Pharmacy Programme.  I remember this polite, energetic and sometimes cheeky individual who comes from a relatively humble family background in Tawau, Sabah, marching into my office when I first joined the university, to announce that he is one of my newly assigned tutees.  Kenji completed the first part of his Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) programme before he transferred to the University of Strathclyde (UoS) where he successfully completed his degree in 2002.  He returned to Malaysia and undertook his pupillage training as a Pharmacist in Universiti Malaya Medical Centre before returning to work in Sabah.  I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from this young man a few weeks ago to tell me that he has just opened his first pharmacy shop, Fajar Pharmacy, in Kompleks Fajar, Tawau after gaining more than ten years of experience in community pharmacies in Kota Kinabalu (KK).” “When I asked him why he give up his successful career in KK, this “son of Tawau”, who received his early education at SMK St Patrick’s School, told me that he decided to return to Tawau to be near his parents who have sacrificed a lot to support his education and to use his vast experience as a community pharmacist to serve the community.” “My second story is about a young lady, Lee Ann Hodges, from Petaling Jaya, Selangor.  Lee Ann was a top student in IMU and subsequently graduated 2001 with high honours for her MPharm degree from University of Strathclyde (UoS).  She won several prestigious academic prizes during her undergraduate student days in IMU and in UoS.  I remember this polite and determined young girl and I secretly predicted then that she would do well in her career.  Upon completion of her PhD studies in 2005, Dr Hodges joined Bio-Images Research based in Glasgow, Scotland, as a Clinical Research Pharmacist.  The sharp business acumen and leadership skills of this bright and goal-oriented individual soon see her in the position of Chief Operating Officer at Bio-Images.  I really thought that we have lost another talented individual from Malaysia until I heard from Lee Ann recently that she will be returning to work in Kuala Lumpur in Quintiles as Clinical Project Manager so that she can be nearer to her aging mother.” “Upon gaining First Class Honours from the IMU Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) in 2009, Mai Chun Wai returned to IMU to pursue his PhD studies after successfully completing his pharmacy pupillage training In Queen Elizabeth Hospital, KK, Sabah.  Chun Wai hails from Ipoh and completed his secondary education at SMJK Sam Tet.  I had the privilege of being the principal supervisor of this bright young man’s PhD research project.  It is not a surprise that his firm foundation in research methodology in Semester 7 of his BPharm programme soon paved the way for him in his postgraduate studies.  Chun Wai has a great thirst for knowledge and a keen eye for details.  These characteristics together with his patience soon saw him making several breakthroughs which led to several publications in high impact journals.  He completed his entire PhD programme, including submitting his PhD thesis for examination within three years.  I am pleased that Dr Mai Chun Wai is currently a lecturer in IMU School of Pharmacy and is also busy in his research.  It is a great joy to see him joining the IMU education fraternity to participate in training other young students to achieve their potentials.” “My current mentee, Lim Xiang Yin, is another individual whom I predict will have a very bright future.  This JPA scholar who comes from St George’s Girls School in Penang is currently pursuing her Semester 5 of IMU BPharm Programme.  Xiang Yin regularly comes to see me in my office just to reassure me that she is fine and is studying hard.  This bubbly individual is progressing very well in her class and has plans to undertake postgraduate studies in clinical pharmacy.  I understand from Xiang Yin that she is enjoying her time in IMU and participates in many activities. She has developed many new friendships with students from other healthcare programmes including Medicine, Dentistry, Nutrition and Dietetics with Nutrition”. “I have many more success stories of my protégés.  In each of these stories, I am glad that their training with us has provided them with a good foundation to become professional healthcare providers.  I am confident that IMU has a conducive learning environment for useful learning to take place.  We also have a team highly experienced faculty to enrich learning.  Our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are integrated with relevant examples of professionalism, ethical practice and our “IMU Cares” – a community service programme allows staff and students to work alongside each other to serve our community. To date, IMU Cares has many projects in Malaysia, Myanmar and Laos.  In 2013, IMU competed with 65 other universities from 71 countries and won the prestigious MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship, a prize established by the Talloires Network and the MacJannet Foundation at Tufts University.  This prize was awarded for one of our IMU Cares projects – the Kampung Tekir, Labu project.”  Written by IMU’s Vice-President, Prof Peter Pook.

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