JCU surgical professor appointed to international role
A Townsville medical professor is set to represent North Queensland on the world stage after being appointed president-elect of the International College of Surgeons.
James Cook University Professor Yik-Hong Ho has a busy year ahead as he sets his sights on the role of national president in 2015.
Professor Ho is set to become only the second Australian to be awarded the top job, following in the footsteps of well-known hand surgeon Professor Earl Owen.
The Singapore-born professor began his career in his home country after training in England, and has been a colorectal surgeon at the Townsville Hospital for the past 12 years.
The International College of Surgeons (ICS) is a global organisation dedicated to promoting excellence of surgeons and surgical specialists worldwide.
Founded in 1935 in Geneva, the college now has its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. The ICS works though collaborative projects with the World Health Organization and the United Nations.
Professor Ho said the appointment came with a tremendous amount of responsibility.
“The International College of Surgeons was founded by a Hungarian plastic surgeon, who along with other surgeons saw there was a need on an international basis to improve the lives of patients through the advancement of surgery and education of surgeons,” he said.
“We now have 4,200 members with representation from over 100 countries, making us the largest surgical society in the world.
“There is a tremendous responsibility not just to educate but to push agendas like surgical safety, quality assurance and access to basic essential surgeries to underprivileged areas of the world.”
Professor Ho said he would continue in his surgical role at the hospital as well as lecturing commitments within the Faculty of Medicine, Health & Molecular Sciences at JCU Townsville.
“In the past I have been the only colorectal surgeon available at the Townsville Hospital but as of next month there will be another surgeon on hand,” he said.
“After that I will have a lot more time to dedicate to my academic pursuits.
“I would also like to continue to do as much surgery as possible because I think it’s ridiculous to assume to represent surgeons if you’re not operating yourself.
“You need to still be able to stay in touch with the stress, the pressure and the reality of the job.”
Professor Ho said his work as president-elect had already begun.
“I’m already starting to push towards having a higher profile with the academic aspects as well as pushing the WHO agendas of patient safety and quality assurance,” he said.
“In many countries in the world, the way to improve conditions is not necessarily about buying the most expensive equipment.
“That means nothing if surgeons aren’t paying attention to the proper safety measures and making sure that the quality of work is there.”
For more information or interviews, contact Professor Ho on (07) 4796 1417 or email Yikhong.firstname.lastname@example.org
JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila on tel: (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175
First published February 28, 2014