An Inauguration Ceremony was held to mark the selection of Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences (CUCMS) Faculty of Medicine (FOM) and Faculty of Allied Health Sciences (FAHS) as the Bioethics Unit of the International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics Haifa. The highlight at the ceremony was the officiation of the CUCMS Bioethics Unit Office followed by a workshop on Bioethics and Human Rights.
Commemorating the event were the Head of Asia Pacific Bioethics Network (APBN) of UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, Prof. Dr. Russell D’Souza, Director General of Malaysian Armed Forces Health Services, Leftenan General Dato’ Pahlawan (Dr) Md Amin Bin Muslan, Head of South India Bioethics Unit of UNESCO Chair in AMITA University, Prof Princy Palaty, Head of Bioethics Unit in Australian Institute of Psychological Medicine (Melbourne), Prof Theong Ho Low, CUCMS Deputy Chairman of the Board of Governor, Major General Dato' Pahlawan Dr. R. Mohanadas (Rtd.) and the CUCMS management team comprising its President, Professor Dato’ Dr. Mohamad Abdul Razak and Head of CUCMS Bioethics Unit of UNESCO Chair, Major Gen. Prof Dato’ Dr Mohd Zin b Bidin.
The history of the International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics started in 24th June 2001 when an agreement was signed by the Director-General of UNESCO and the Rector of Haifa University.
Its objective is to build, coordinate and stimulate an International Network of Bioethics Units amongst academic institutions. Today the chair comprises of more than 218 units in over 77 countries, across 5 continents of the world.
“The selection of CUCMS as the UNESCO Bioethics Unit Chair is an excellent progression in its bioethics research continuum. It recognizes our R&D strength and elevates CUCMS research stature in the international arena. As a Bioethics unit, CUCMS can play an important role in stimulating an International Network of Institutes for Medical Ethics and Training and contribute to an up-to-date syllabus on medical ethics education within the region and beyond. These aspects fall in line with CUCMS’s vision to be a global university of educational excellence,” said Prof Dato’ Dr Mohd Zin in his speech at the inauguration ceremony.
He also added that though the arrival of I.R.4.0, Big Data, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Health Wearables and 3D Printing promises great benefits to the practice of Medicine, they pose many ethical challenges concerning governance, quality, safety, privacy and data control & ownership. “The issues are real and alive. We must prepare for the coming wave of change and discuss together the most pressing issues in Bioethics”.
“CUCMS is a young and energetic university. With its dynamism and visions, we will lay a strong base here in our mission to spread awareness on bioethics to other educational institutions in Malaysia and eventually to the other parts of the world. Here, we wish to bring bioethics out of the classroom and into practise by educating university students who will later become the professionals and front-liners” said Prof Dr D’Souza in a public lecture on Bioethics while emphasizing on the importance of putting bioethics education into practice.
In his public lecture, he highlighted a startling recent finding in which a group of researchers found that most medical students, upon entering their 4th and 5th year of the medical programme, loose sight of their empathy and compassion towards patients. When this happens, it can be a difficult task to nurture it back again. He ended his lecture by urging academicians to be a role model to all students and include exercises that foster receptivity and empower responsibility in students. Professor Dr Russel D’Souza is currently the Executive Director of Global Operations at Totem International Institute of Organizational Psychological Medicine, Australia. He has contributed to psychiatry, mental health service and rural health service in Australia and has worked in the Australian Public health system for the last 27 years.
Following the launch, the workshop on Bioethics and Human Rights commenced with Prof Dr D’Souza and Prof Princy Palaty as speakers. Prof Dr D’Souza spoke on the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. Additionally, he also spoke on Ethical Deliberation & Ethical Decision Making in the context of Clinical Ethics.
Prof Princy Palaty spoke on Human Dignity, Autonomy and Consent-Applied Ethics as well as the Ethical Dimension of Teaching and Reformed Teaching Bioethics Methodology.