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NSYSU ties alliance with Taitung County Government to cultivate medical professionals

National Sun Yat-sen University signed an MOU with Taitung County Government: NSYSU President Ying-Yao Cheng and Taitung County Mayor Rao Ching-Ling committed to joining hands to strive for medical research and resources and cultivate medical staff for the Taitung County. Since the application for the establishment of the College of Medicine, NSYSU tied a series of alliances with county governments in Pingtung and Penghu and Kaohsiung City Government, and finally, having signed an MOU with Taitung County Government, it achieved the support of all heads of the Kaohsiung-Pingtung-Penghu-Taitung region.

NSYSU is preparing to establish the College of Medicine to cultivate public-financed medical professionals for the rural and indigenous areas and outer islands of the Kaohsiung-Pingtung-Penghu-Taitung region. According to the website of National Statistics of the Republic of China, in 2017 there was an average of 8.28 medical professionals per km2 in Taiwan – as much as 42.89 per km2 in the Taipei area and only 4.93 in the Kaohsiung-Pingtung-Penghu-Taitung region; this proves the unequal distribution of medical resources between the north and south. County Mayor Rao could experience it herself; she said that the distance from the northernmost to the southernmost point of Taitung County is about the same as from Taichung to Pingtung, but there is only 1 regional and 6 district hospitals in Taitung County, all are located in the City and that one medical professional has to serve over 700 people. Taitung County is long and narrow, with mountains and access to the sea. Not only its transportation resources are scarce, but also its villages and outer islands need more healthcare support. In May this year, the Taitung County Government implemented remote medical care service systems in 11 public health centers.

County Mayor Rao said that there is a large disparity in healthcare resources between Taitung and other counties; balancing out the number of professionals and enhancing the quality of healthcare has been her mission since she took her current post. The Public Health Bureau of Taitung County Government said that because of the remote location of Taitung it is not easy to retain the medical staff and that the region particularly lacks professionals specializing in critical care medicine. Part of the village medical staff still relies on the system of cultivation and appointment of the medical staff of the Ministry of Health and Welfare; the County Government has been encouraging young people to register for the exam and serve back home. NSYSU will establish the School of Post Baccalaureate Medicine in the future, to add one more channel of medical professionals’ cultivation to benefit the medical workforce and healthcare quality.

According to the data of the National Health Insurance Research Database, in 2016, although the medical consultation rate in Taitung County was the 10th highest among Taiwan’s 22 counties, its cancer mortality rate was the highest. One of the reasons may be the scarce availability of resources. NSYSU President Ying-Yao Cheng emphasized that the Center of Crystal Research at NSYSU developed scintillation crystals to be applied as a key element of a positron detector, which will be used to diagnose such biomedical diseases as cancer and Alzheimer's disease. The device can now detect tumors as tiny as 4 mm (previously it could only detect tumors of the size of 10 mm) to help patients obtain a diagnosis and start treatment as early as possible.

President Ying-Yao Cheng said that the development of smart healthcare is of vital importance. The team of the Department of Electrical Engineering developed the Self-Injection-Locked Radar, 100 times more sensitive than the traditional radar, and combined it with infrared thermal image technology to develop a contactless biological sensing system to timely monitor patients’ heartbeat, respiration, and body temperature. It can be applied in cloud health management, and care systems for the elderly and infants. Besides, NSYSU also used the AI technology for interdisciplinary research to develop a tongue diagnosis system for Chinese medical diagnosis, used in Chinese medicine departments in first-level teaching hospitals in the whole Taiwan; biomedical sensing chips, medical image analysis, smart assistive devices, and the VR platform for treatment development are all advantages of the School of Post-Baccalaureate Medicine soon to be established.
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