Sat, Sep 14, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Global health group ousts PRC, elevates Taiwanese

FINALLY APPROVED:While he had been nominated for president many times, China had never relinquished its attempts to stop him from taking the position, Jack Li said

Staff writer, with CNA

International Medical Informatics Association president-elect Jack Li, who is also dean of Taipei Medical University’s College of Medical Science and Technology, delivers a speech in an undated photograph.

Photo courtesy of Li Yu-chuan via CNA

The International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) last month expelled the China Medical Informatics Association (CMIA) and named Taiwanese representative Jack Li (李友專) as its next president.

Li pledged to share Taiwan’s quality informatics with the world.

At an assembly in Lyon, France, a proposal put forward by IMIA president Christoph Lehmann to expel the CMIA from its list of members passed with 28 approvals, one disapproval and 10 abnegations, the China-based Global Times reported on Wednesday.

Lehmann then named Li as the next IMIA president from 2021 to 2023 and dismissed the CMIA’s protests, saying that the decision was made in accordance with the association’s codes, the report said.

Li yesterday confirmed the report, saying that the IMIA has 61 members across Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East.

The organization focuses on how to apply informatics in medicine, which includes electronic medical records, decisionmaking systems supported by artificial intelligence (AI) and image-recognition systems, Li said.

Recognized as an expert on AI applications in medicine, Li is a member of the Taiwan Association for Medical Informatics and dean of Taipei Medical University’s College of Medical Science and Technology.

Thanks to the National Health Insurance system, the nation long ago transitioned to electronic medical records and has accumulated a large amount of quality medical data, Li said, adding that Taiwanese have been sharing such achievements with the rest of the world at the IMIA.

Due to pressure from Beijing, Taiwanese could only participate in the association’s events as academic members, but since 2000 they have been striving to make the nation a full member, he said.

To make Taiwan’s membership possible, the IMIA in 2007 decided to admit agencies instead of states, which empowered Taiwanese representatives to compete for the position of president, Li said.

While he had been nominated for the post many times, China had never ceased in its attempts to block him by uniting with its allies, Li said, adding that he had never thought that he would be able to obtain the position.

China was expelled from the association last month for a series of improprieties, such as changing the venue of an assembly four times when it was host in 2017 and failing to pay its fees, Li said.

Without China’s obstruction, his nomination had passed smoothly, he said, expressing excitement about the opportunity to make more contributions to Taiwan and the rest of the world.

The IMIA is an independent non-governmental organization established under Swiss law in 1989 and has close ties with the WHO, according to its Web site.

The IMIA is affiliated with the WHO, but is not directly related to the UN, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

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