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Asia Pacific Journal of Family Medicine Volume 5 Issue 1

Promoting the discipline of family medicine within the region

Lee Gan GOH

Wonca Asia Pacific Region

Call to action

The Asia Pacific Journal of Family Medicine (APFM) is dedicated to promoting the discipline of family medicine within the region. Toward this vision, the Journal aims to provide a forum for the dissemination of high-quality regional research and to enhance the standards of family medicine by focusing on best practice. APFM welcomes practical, relevant articles covering the broad range of interests within the field of family medicine. The editors have made their call. I would like to reiterate their call to our region’s academics and practitioners to invite you to contribute papers. There is much that you can write that will promote the discipline of family medicine within the region.

Kyoto Wonca Regional Conference (27–31 May 2005)

For a start, consider the topics covered in the Wonca Regional Conference in Tokyo in 2005. Many of you would have attended the keynote lectures, the various symposiums and workshops. What was new that you have learned? What are your reflections on what was said and discussed in the conference hall? Is there a scope for a more in-depth review on some aspects of the topic covered or not covered? All these are potentially worth writing down, developing into practical relevant articles and sending them for consideration by the APJM Editorial Board. In this way, we will each be doing a little bit to promote the discipline of family medicine within the region.

Keynote lectures

Just to jolt your memory and put things on record, the theme of the Kyoto Wonca Regional Conference was General Practice/Family Practice as a Global Standard. The Conference had six keynote lectures. Their topics were:

• Challenges and Opportunities in Global Healthcare by Kiyoshi Kurokawa, President, Science Council of Japan, Japan;

• Global Standards for Family Medicine education and practice – An American perspective by Jonathan F Rodnick, Professor, University of California, San Francisco, USA;

• The Japanese Way of Primary Care – Stop the Illness, Praise the Spirit, Stroke the Patient by Tetsuo Yamaori, Professor Emeritus, International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Japan;

• Challenges and Opportunities for Family Physicians in the 21st Century by Shigeru Omi, WHO Regional Director, World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific, Philippines;

• Equity, Health, and Primary Care by MK Rajakumar, President, Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia, Malaysia;

• The Proof of the Pudding. The International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) as a Global Standard for Family Medicine by Henk Lamberts, Professor, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands).

Guest Symposium on Global Family Medicine

A highlight of the Conference was the Guest Symposium with six participants

• The Development of Family Medicine in Korea by Bong Yul Huh, Professor and Chairman, Seoul National University Hospital, Korea;

• Towards the vision: Recent Development in the United Kingdom by Neil Jackson, Dean, The London Deanery, UK;

• General Practice/Family Practice as a Global Standard – The Views from Hong Kong by Tai-Pong Lam, Associate Professor, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR;

• What’s Happening in Family Medicine in the US? by Jonathan E Rodnick, Professor, University of California San Francisco, USA;

• General/Family Practice in Japan – Its Potentiality and the Future by Tomoyuki Kido, Private Practice Clinical Professor, Osaka Medical College, Japan; Kyoto University School of Medicine, Japan.

The Invited Symposium powerpoint slides are available on the Internet website hosted by the The Japanese Medical Society of Primary Care (The Japanese Academy of Primary Care Physicians) URL: The pictures taken during the Conference are also on the same website.

This is a nice gesture on the part of the Japanese Academy of Primary Care Physicians to host the Symposium powerpoint slides on the webs and I would like to thank personally Professor Nobutaro Ban and Professor Tsukasa Tsuda for this. Thanks are also due to Dr Makato Komatsu from the Japan Science Council, Dr Yousuke Takemura and the whole fraternity from the Japanese Academy of Primary Care Physicians for making the Regional Conference in Kyoto a big success.

Post-conference workshop for family medicine trainers

There was also a post-conference workshop for family medicine trainers, organized by Professor Ryuki Kasai and his committee. The theme was clinical education: making our teaching more human and learner-centred. A highlight of the workshop was cinemeducation, the use of movie clips for learning and reflection of mentorship, narrative-based medicine, and trainee safety. Fifty-four trainers attended the post-conference workshop. They will no doubt disseminate the skills learnt at the workshop.

Bangkok Wonca Regional Conference (5–9 November 2006)

The forthcoming Wonca Regional Conference 2006 in Bangkok will provide us with further topics as food for thought to promote the discipline of family medicine in our region. This 2006 conference is hosted by the General Practitioners/Family Physicians Association, Thailand, and the Royal College of Family Physicians of Thailand, under the auspices of the World Organization of Family Doctors Association (Wonca, World Organization of National Colleges and Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians). The theme of this meeting is the ‘Happy and Healthy Family’.

Keynote, Wes Fabb Oration and Special Lecture

The Conference will kick off with a keynote address from the Wonca President, Professor Bruce Sparks, the Wes Fabb Oration, and a special lecture titled ‘Ethics & Morals in Practices of the Five Star Family Doctors’.

Plenary Lectures

There will be four plenary lectures namely:
• AIDS: Social Perspective;
• AIDS: Access to Care;
• Health Care System in Asia-Pacific;
• Universal Coverage of Health Care in Thailand.


There will be seven symposia in the 4-day Conference namely:
• Holistic approach for chronic illness using diabetes mellitus as an example;
• Adolescent health risk behavior;
• New influenza pandemic: a world threat;
• Palliative care;
• Current knowledge in the adolescent brain;
• Care of special children;
• Update in stem cell transplantation.


There will be six workshops:
• Violence against women;
• Does childhood asthma seed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in adult?;
• Osteoporosis;
• Alternative and traditional medicine;
• Role of family doctors in catastrophe events: lessons learned from tsunami, earthquake and hurricane;
• Family medicine development: experience from Asia Pacific countries.

Do register if you have not yet done so. The website address is

Post-conference Train theTrainer workshop

A 3-day post-conference Train the Trainer workshop is being planned.


The activities in promoting the discipline of family medicine within the Region will therefore include all of the following efforts: (i) contributing papers for this journal; (ii) being trainers and capacity-builders in your country as well as in the region; and (iii) participating in the Wonca Regional Conference. Look forward to see you at the Regional Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.

Associate Professor Goh Lee Gan
Regional President
WONCA Asia-Pacific Region