Kwan Aij-lie (關皚麗), a surgeon and professor at Kaohsiung Medical University’s Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital, has been elected the first female president of the International College of Surgeons (ICS).
The ICS is a non-governmental organization founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1935, and has its headquarters in Chicago.
The Republic of China has been a member of the ICS since 1944.
Photo courtesy of Kaohsiung Medical University’s Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital
Kwan is the second Taiwanese to head the organization, after the late Lee Chun-jean (李俊仁), who practiced at National Taiwan University Hospital.
Born in Indonesia, Kwan said she had been determined to become a doctor when she was young and obtained a master’s degree in healthcare management and a doctorate from Kaohsiung Medical University’s Graduate Institute of Medicine.
She became Taiwan’s first female neurosurgeon and has so far performed more than 7,000 brain or spinal surgeries.
Kwan has been attending ICS events for more than 20 years, as well as medical missions in remote rural areas of more than 10 countries on six continents.
She once operated on a child with a tumor in an ill-equipped clinic on a small Indonesian island with a cell phone as the only light, the university said on Friday.
In the past few years, Kwan has been promoting the idea of “hope and help,” guiding young Taiwanese doctors to medical projects in remote areas around the world, the school said.
Kwan often tells herself to “just do it” and is passionate about everything she does, it said.
Kwan’s inauguration, originally scheduled for Jan. 1, was held at a dinner hosted by Kaohsiung Medical University’s Neuroscience Research Center on Friday.
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