History

The history of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology could be dated back to the inception of the Hong Kong College of Medicine, the predecessor institution of the University of Hong Kong. Teaching activities in "Midwifery and Diseases of Women" were commenced at the Alice Memorial Hospital by Dr. William Hartigan and Dr. Alice D. Hickling, and were subsequently moved to the Government Civil Hospital (now the Sai Ying Pun Clinic). Other teachers contributed to teaching in the early days of the Department included Dr. JC Thomson, Dr. FO Stedman, Dr. A Rennie, Dr. RM Gibson, Dr. P Krieg, Dr. GP Jordan, Dr. WVM Koch and Dr. C Forsyth.

Alice Memorial Maternity Hospital
Alice Memorial Maternity Hospital
Government Civil Hospital at Sai Ying Pun in the 1893
Government Civil Hospital at Sai Ying Pun in the 1893

On 17th October 1922, Tsan Yuk Hospital was opened at the junction of Western Street and Third Street, which provided maternity and gynaecological services as well as teaching.

The Old Tsan Yuk Hospital on Western Street
The Old Tsan Yuk Hospital on Western Street

In March 1925, Professor RE Tottenham assumed office as the first Chair of Midwifery funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Dr. Alice Hickling continued her service in the Department until she died in 1928. Dr. Doraisamy Kumara Samy subsequently joined the Department as full time teacher and was the first Hong Kong graduate to do so. Professor Tottenham resigned in 1935 and continued clinical practice in Londonderry, eventually returning to Dublin after retirement. He passed away in May 1971.

Professor Richard Edwin Tottenham
Professor Richard Edwin Tottenham

Dr. D.K. Samy acted as the Head of Department until arrival of Professor William Charles Wallace Nixon who succeeded to the Chair in November 1935. During the headship of Professor Nixon, Queen Mary Hospital was opened in 1937, and the teaching and clinical activities in gynaecology were moved there while those in obstetrics remained in Tsan Yuk Hospital. Professor Nixon also founded the Hong Kong Eugenics League in 1936, the predecessor of the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong. He returned to Britain in December 1937, and was highly renowned for his headship as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University College of London Hospital till his death in February 1966.

Professor William Charles Wallace Nixon
Professor William Charles Wallace Nixon
Queen Mary Hospital in 1937
Queen Mary Hospital in 1937

Professor Gordon King headed the Department from 1938 to 1956. During the Second World War, Professor King, as Dean of Medicine and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, led the Faculty to escape to mainland China. He re-established the Faculty quickly after the War, and shortly after that our Department became a recognised centre for specialist training by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He fought for the building of the new Tsan Yuk Hospital, which was opened at its present site at Hospital Road on 13 June 1955. Professor King resigned in 1956 and subsequently helped founding two medical schools in Australia and Kenya. He passed away in 1991.

Professor Gordon King
Professor Gordon King
The new Tsan Yuk Hospital at 30 Hospital Road
The new Tsan Yuk Hospital at 30 Hospital Road

Professor Daphne Wai-Chan Chun (秦惠珍教授) succeeded as Head of Department in 1957. She was a nurse before her medical studies at HKU. She graduated with distinctions, and was the first HKU graduate to be appointed to Chair Professor in the Faculty. Professor Chun introduced a system of obstetric audit and the practice of foetal monitoring, and edited a bilingual textbook in obstetrics for Hong Kong. Under her leadership, the low maternal and perinatal mortality rate in our Department was made internationally known. She was also renowned for her research work on gestational trophoblastic diseases, which has since become a flagship area of the Department throughout the subsequent successions. She also saw the expansion of teaching activities to other public hospitals. Professor Chun retired in 1972 and passed away in 1992.

Professor Daphne Chun
Professor Daphne Chun

Professor Ho-Kei Ma (馬鍾可璣教授) assumed headship in 1972. Professor Ma initiated the development of sub-specialities within the Department. The Prenatal Diagnosis and Counselling Service including the Mrs. Wu Chung Prenatal Diagnostic Laboratory was established at Tsan Yuk Hospital in 1981. The Assisted Reproduction Unit was commenced in Queen Mary Hospital in 1986. The gynaecological oncology division was recognized for subspecialty training by the Royla College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (before this, some staff members including Professor Ma received subspecialty training in gynaecological oncology in the United States). These three programmes have been playing a leading role in Hong Kong. During her Deanship in the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Ma pioneered reform of the teaching curriculum, and we were the first Department in the Faculty to introduce OSCE and end-of-clerkship Clinical Competence Test for student examinations. She also saw the establishment of the Hong Kong College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, where she served as the Founding President. Upon her retirement in 1995, the Ma Chung Ho Kei Foundation was set up to promote public education on women's health. It funded the establishment of the Lady Helen Woo Women’s Diagnostic and Treatment Centre at Tsan Yuk Hospital in 1996.

Professor Ho-Kei Ma
Professor Ho-Kei Ma

Professor Pak-Chung Ho (何柏松教授) was appointed as Head to succeed Professor Ma in 1995. Under his leadership, the Division of Reproductive Medicine has played a leading role in the field both locally and internationally, and Reproduction, Development and Growth became one of the 5 main research themes in the Faculty of Medicine. Professor Ho has gained international reputation for his research works on fertility regulation which led to significant advances in medical abortion and emergency contraception. During his headship, the whole in-patient maternity service was relocated from Tsan Yuk Hospital to Queen Mary Hospital in 2000. Some of the out-patient activities were also moved to Queen Mary Hospital in subsequent years. The New Medical Campus at Sassoon Road was commenced in 2001, and some of our research laboratories were relocated there where expansion of laboratory-based research was made possible. With Professor Ho’s keen encouragement, the clinical and basic research activities in the Department reached new heights. The subspecialty training programmes in Reproductive Medicine and Maternal-Fetal Medicine were also recognized by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaeoclogists. Professor Ho stepped down from Headship in 2009.

Professor Pak-Chung Ho
Professor Pak-Chung Ho
Queen Mary Hospital in the 2000s
Queen Mary Hospital in the 2000s
The New Medical Campus at Sassoon Road in 2000s
The New Medical Campus at Sassoon Road in 2000s

Professor Hextan Yuen-Sheung Ngan (顏婉嫦教授) succeeded Professor Ho as Head of Department in 2009 till present. She was the first in Hong Kong to be accredited as Subspecialist in Gynaecological Oncology by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist. She is renowned internationally in the field and served as Chairperson of the FIGO Committee on Gynecologic Oncology. She pioneered the application of laparoscopic and robotic surgery in treatment of gynaecological cancers in the Department. She has set up the basic research laboratory for gynaecological cancers and the team has published widely in biomolecular studies in gynaecological cancers. She contributed to the formation of the University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Hospital and headed the newly established Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in July 2012.

Professor Hextan Ngan
Professor Hextan Ngan
HKU-Shenzhen Hospital
HKU-Shenzhen Hospital
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