Pharmacy Leaders of Malaysia: Dr. Kevin Ong
From Malaysia to Australia, the U.S. and Back
Before returning to Malaysia to become an advocate in diabetes management education, Dr. Kevin Ong gained education and experience in pharmacy around the world. Having grown up in Kuching, Sarawak, he attended high school in Perth, and completed a bachelor’s in biochemistry at Suffolk University in the U.S. In 2015, he began a PharmD at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, which offered hands-on research experience. Dr. Ong specialized in medication safety, and has recently graduated.
Dr. Ong’s interest in diabetes care sparked while on rotation at an ambulatory clinic, where several patients suffered from diabetes. He interviewed and counselled patients in lifestyle choices, proposed changes to medication, and conducted follow-up visits.
After he returning to Malaysia, Dr. Ong jumped on the opportunity to attend the Diabetes Asia 2018 conference in Kuching. Deeply motivated after learning the disease state in Asia, he began volunteering in the health unit of the Office of the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR.
Educating Fellow Practitioners
The UNHCR had seen an increase in diabetes diagnoses, and Dr. Ong was tasked with educating providers and staff on this disease. He shares that it was truly inspirational to see professionals working together to provide quality care using limited resources.
Recently, Dr. Ong has developed a CPD module on the Management of Diabetes Mellitus for SwipeRx. His hope is that pharmacists in Malaysia may understand the complexity involved in diabetes care, and the importance of staying updated with clinical guidelines and medications. Most importantly, he hopes to stress the importance of being a partner to one’s patients on the journey to good health.
Looking Towards the Future
Dr. Ong hopes to devote himself to the care of patients with chronic health conditions. With an aging population and an increase in diabetes diagnoses, he sees an opportunity to improve patient outcomes, reduce costs, and make care more connected through the use of technology. “I would advise anyone who wishes to follow a similar path to trust their gut instinct,” he says.
“As the late Steve Jobs once said, ‘you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.’”