ASMR Medical Research Week® June 4 to 11, 2021
The week is a flagship activity for The Australian Society for Medical Research, and a major highlight of the Australian health and medical research calendar, bringing the message of the benefits of health and medical research to the Australian public.
This annual event occurs in the first full week in June and features the ASMR medalist tour, public outreach events (including cinema events, meet a scientist dinners and community lectures), career events for high school and tertiary students, schools visits, an on-line schools quiz, scientific meetings and professional development programmes for medical researchers held across the country, with the range of events continuing to grow every year.
Each year the Society awards the ASMR Medal to an eminent stakeholder in the international medical research community for achievements in raising awareness. The ASMR medalists tour Australia, addressing audiences at dinners across the country and the National Press Club in Canberra. The ASMR Medal is presented at the National Press Club event.
The tour promotes debate and discussion amongst scientists, politicians and the public, and attracts strong media interest.
Since 1998, an list of eminent scientists have generously shared their science, their vision and their insights, inspiring, sometimes challenging and always informing, not only the health and medical research community but the community at large.
A/Prof Kong is as an ENT Surgeon based in the Hunter region of NSW; he regularly travels to remote Australia to provide specialist ENT services to Indigenous patients. His clinical practise is complemented by his ongoing research into the causes and treatment of ear disease, together with his involvement in community outreach programmes designed to improve access to healthcare and break cycles of disadvantage for Indigenous Australians.
He said, “If we can reduce the risk of hearing loss we can have a direct impact on a child’s ability to learn and develop. The change that we see is remarkable – we can take them from limited hearing and language skills to fully functioning teenagers with real employment prospects.”
A Worimi man from the Port Stephens region, north of Newcastle, A/Professor Kong comes from a medical family, whose support and encouragement he credits for his success His mother Grace is a community nurse and women’s health worker, his father Tony is a GP in Malaysia, and his twin older-sisters are also doctors: Marlene is a GP working in Public Health in Sydney and Marilyn is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Grafton.
His research focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of otitis media, “glue ear”, in children under three. Otitis media is experienced at higher levels in Indigenous than non-Indigenous communities, and affects as many as 70% of children in remote communities. It can lead to hearing impairment and/or loss, and failure to treat it can have negative impacts on children’s education, childhood development and social outcomes. He is also working on studies of pathogenicity and antibiotic resistance among Indigenous and non-Indigenous trial groups with the hope of informing new treatments.