It is my great honour to be given the opportunity to serve as the president of the Hong Kong Society of Rheumatology (HKSR) from year 2018 to 2021.
I started to be a council member of the society since 2008. Throughout the years, our society has grown enormously in many aspects. Apart from an increase in numbers of locally registered rheumatologists, doctors from different specialties, nurses, and allied health professionals joining our society as members, our service scope and activities have expanded rapidly in different domains. Being in the council for a while, I have the privilege to witness many outstanding achievements by our former presidents and precedents. We have project funds to provide financial support to our members to perform scientific projects. We have formed various Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to facilitate our members’ profession advancement and scientific research. We also have our own official journal- JCRI (Journal of Clinical Rheumatology and Immunology) that has gone online to provide free access to readers over the globe. Consensus recommendations and guidelines have been continuously developing in various rheumatic diseases tailored made in our own local medical setting. The lists are by no means exhaustive. With these, I have to express my deepest gratitude to all of my seniors, former presidents and friends, who have sacrificed so much of their time and effort in establishing such a strong foundation for our society. Their continuous guidance, commitment and teachings has inspired us and led us all the way through every major milestone.
Nevertheless, I must say that the three years during my presidency was indeed one of those most challenging years for Hong Kong and any health care practitioners, due to the social unrest in 2019 and Covid pandemic that spread from 2020 to 2022. Fortunately, with the concerted and dedicated efforts of all the members of the society and our organizing committee members, we had successfully turned these major challenges into new opportunities and breakthrough advances. Our International Conference of Chinese Rheumatologists (ICCR) had transformed from a physical meeting in 2018 and 2019 to a fully virtual meeting in 2020 and a hybrid meeting in 2021. We kept seeing a growing number of participants every year at our annual conference, which was able to reach out to more health care professionals in a virtual format.
Under similar scope, we were also able to collaborate with our rheumatology board, many other professional societies and pharmaceutical companies to hold our monthly inter-hospital meetings, scientific meetings and workshops online. With the advance in technology and digital health, I am very pleased that we had also developed our own Rheumatoid arthritis Apps in 2018 to empower our patients to adopt a more active role in self- monitoring and management of their arthritis. In the same year, our HKSR official Wechat account was launched. It acts as an important channel of communication with our Chinese Rheumatology community.
Hong Kong is unique in its geographical and medical position, we are always in good partnerships with many of our neighboring professional and academic Societies, including Guangdong province, the Greater Bay area, APLAR (Asia Pacific League of Rheumatology) and many of our regional countries. Through various meetings and cooperation, we further deepen mutual trust, respect and understanding with each other. In 2018, we established two Greater Bay Rheumatology alliances with the two key Guangdong Rheumatology Associations(CMA and CMDA). Our society had been invited to deliver talks in the CRA (Chinese Rheumatology Association) annual meeting and the 2 Greater Bay Alliances Establishment events. We have also successfully won the bid to organize APLAR Congress, which will be held in Hong Kong for the second time, in December 2022.
Lastly, I would like to thank once again my council members, advisors, seniors and all our society members, who have provided invaluable support throughout my presidency. Without their help, nothing would be possible. HKSR celebrated our 30th anniversary in 2018. I saw many energetic, motivated and committed young fellows and members in our celebration event. I strongly believe that the Hong Kong Society of Rheumatology will continue to flourish with the efforts of our future generation, and I look forward to celebrating more society’s anniversaries and its success with you all.
Dr Ronald ML Yip