ACTAsia launches iCARE, the new academic branch of Caring for Life Education

On 26 September, iCARE was launched at a seminar held to celebrate the life and influence of Sir William Osler at his former home, 13 Norham Gardens, Oxford, now the Osler-McGovern Centre. He made his home a meeting place and source of inspiration for medical students, physicians, scientists and academic visitors from all over the world – it became the Atlantic bridge for medical scientists and practitioners. William Osler one of the greatest physicians in the history of modern medicine, had personal interest in the bedside manner of medics and the significance of kindness in patient care. John McGovern, a philanthropist was an admirer of Osler, with mutual interests and concerns.

iCARE, the academic branch of ACTAsia’s Caring for Life Education(CFL) programme, will provide a digital platform for educational initiatives in collaboration with universities and industry. CFL was developed from UNESCO’s Four Pillars of Education and is a foundation course in Learning to Live Together. The programme promotes compassion and kindness in Asian societies and enables children to develop emotional intelligence.

The seminar, the first in a series of five, chaired by Emeritus Professor Terence Ryan and attended by leading scientists and educators was titled: Health & Well-being: Science & Humanity are One. It focused on Care Technology applied with Care Attitude, which promotes the importance of kindness and empathy – whether from doctors to their patients; by veterinarians to animals; teachers and students in schools, or between members of society.

At the seminar Professor Ryan, the Curator of the Osler-McGovern Centre explained how Osler’s views on best practice Care Technology and Care Attitude, are widely quoted and are of significance today. Other presenters were Professor Zhaofan, Xia, Chief of Department of Burns, Shanghai Hospital, Navel Medical University; Dr Nick Fahy, researcher and consultant in Health Policy Systems at Green Templeton College; Connor Campbell, Director of Osler Diagnostics; Dr. Helen Winter, Consultant Oncologist at Bristol University Hospital; Nick Leney, Deputy Head of Wey Education; Bill Samuels Ph.D, City University of New York and Nel van Amerongen, Neuropsychologist, The Netherlands.

Professor Ryan said, “Historically, there has been a distinct lack of communication between science and the humanities. Osler was one of the first medical doctors to understand the impact of kindness and said ‘It is an unpardonable mistake to go about among patients with a long face.’ Indeed we have since discovered that by smiling, the musculature of the face can actually switch off the part of the brain concerned with stress and negative emotion. It does not seem an unreasonable claim that friendship is the single most important factor for influencing health and happiness.”

CFL education focuses on children, professionals and consumers. The introduction of iCARE will now give this work a greater reach. ACTAsia’s objective is to research and develop innovative technology, artificial intelligence and interactive channels for delivering education. The collaboration will enable recognised certification for ACTAsia training courses for teachers, veterinarians and social workers; to prepare further curriculums for school children; to develop CFL themes and subject areas through continuing research; and to evaluate the effectiveness of CFL through statistical analysis.

ACTAsia’s Founder and CEO, Pei Su, said, “It’s time for a new approach, for us to come together to address the many problems we’re facing in society across the world. It has been a privilege for us to celebrate the life of Osler and to honour his values of kindness through the launch of iCARE at his former home. By working with the Osler-McGovern Centre, we hope to broaden the reach of our Caring for Life programme and strengthen the depth of kindness and compassion in Asian societies.”