Professor Vincent Lam joined MQ Health as Professor of Surgery this year and is heading up the Surgery component of the Macquarie University Doctor of Medicine (Macquarie MD) program in an exciting new model.

MQ Health was delighted to welcome Professor Vincent Lam to the academic and clinical staff earlier this year. Professor Lam is one of Sydney’s most highly regarded clinical professors and minimally invasive liver, pancreatic and gall bladder surgeons, also with expertise in robotic surgery.

“What persuaded me to come to Macquarie is its dedicated mission to Heal, Learn and Discover,” said Professor Lam, who, after medical and fellowship training, also completed a Doctorate of Clinical Surgery at the University of Sydney in 2013.

“At MQ Health, the focus is on dealing with the patient in all aspects, especially cancer patients. From the understanding of the cancer’s origin to developing new therapies and testing them in patient clinical trials, it is about delivering superior, innovative and compassionate patient care.”

Heal and Learn: A Focus on Education

Professor Lam’s primary focus will be linking the ‘Heal’ and ‘Learn’ components of the MQ Health vision in the Faculty’s new Macquarie MD program. The four-year program commenced this year with a cohort of 50. It builds on the Hospital’s original vision for medical training to provide an alternative model to traditional programs that depend almost exclusively on large teaching hospitals.

The Macquarie MD combines earlier than usual academic and clinical education with private practice, community health services and a global experience and perspective. The program’s first two years are pre-clinical, followed by a third and fourth year of clinical work.

“The use of a private hospital and clinic setting and the innovative MQ Health co-locational model are what sets us apart from other MD training,” said Professor Lam, who served as the Director of Surgical Education (General Surgery) of Sydney Medical School prior to joining MQ Health.

“Everything is here – ‘under-one-roof’, so to speak – and that provides such great potential for collaboration between clinic, hospital, research and the University. Add to that state-of-the-art facilities at Australia’s first private academic Hospital – for example, outstanding training spaces, such as the simulation laboratory and a large lecturing space – and we have a rich learning and clinical environment.

“Macquarie MD’s teaching and training program will result in scaled-up services and scaled-up care, taking the Hospital to the next level. How we train doctors is directly linked to the quality of care we provide.”

In addition to the MQ Health-based activities, there will also be core, elective and selective opportunities at Royal North Shore Hospital, MindSpot Clinic and, importantly, the Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad, India, giving the program its international component.

Clinical Work: Cancer Clinical Program

Professor Lam’s clinical and research interests include minimally invasive surgery of the pancreatic and liver as well as the multidisciplinary management of liver, pancreas, bile duct and gallbladder tumours. He also has a strong interest in robotic surgery and performed the Australia-first robotic cholecystectomy in February 2014.

As a clinician, he aims to help build the MQ Health model of streamlined, convenient and timely care for patients, where services can all be accessed on a single site.

“Under this model, it’s not the system dictating when and where a patient receives a service or how long it takes for treatment to commence,” said Professor Lam.

“Rather, patient needs are at the centre. Patents want access to things like imaging and chemotherapy right away if they are ill. How do we shorten the time of the process? And how do we make it a sustainable model? This is the essence of the MQ Health model.

“My vision is to make the Department of Clinical Medicine at Macquarie University Australia’s preeminent innovator in education, research, surgical procedures and clinical practice. Following the strong tradition of innovation and exploration at Macquarie, I hope that the Department of Surgery will continue to work collaboratively to solve problems, to move the field forward and to deliver the best care to our patients.”