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Doctor Headed to London for Pioneering Course

New Zealand Doctor Headed to London for Pioneering Course to Help Our Performing Artists

Dr Dickson Fung is on his way to the UK shortly to undertake an MSC in Performing Arts Medicine at University College London (UCL). This is an innovative new course, first offered in 2011, designed to provide clinicians with specialised knowledge of Performing Arts Medicine. He is being helped by a grant from the NZ-UK Link Foundation. The Foundation creates, promotes and manages educational and cultural exchanges between New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Dr Fung is a student both of medicine and music. He qualified at the University of Auckland Medical School where he completed his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. He has also recently completed a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance at the Universities of Auckland and Canterbury, where he studied with Justine Cormack and Stephen Larsen. Dr Fung has also received a NZ-Aotearoa Music Scholarship administered by Creative New Zealand and the support of the Brent Lewis Estate.

Dr Fung said “As a music student with a medical background, I have encountered numerous promising performers who have suffered injuries and had to take significant amounts of time away from playing due to pain. In fact, research indicates that musculoskeletal injury among musicians is high and affects between 37% and 49% of performers at some time or other. However, whereas sports medicine is now a well-established discipline, this is a new field of specialised medicine and there are very few resources in New Zealand to help performing artists. Indeed, the programme at UCL is the only Masters level programme of its type worldwide taught at a major English speaking institute.

In addition to the MSc in Performing Arts Medicine at UCL, I will be furthering my violin studies at Trinity College of Music/ Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance. This is important since I will be using the experience from these further studies of violin technique to explore string players’ injuries from a performer's perspective. This will complement my medical studies at UCL to gain an understanding of Performing Arts Medicine from a musician’s point of view as well as a doctor’s.

My aim in taking this course is eventually to return to New Zealand to undergo further vocational training and then to develop a clinical practice the field of Performing Arts Medicine. I hope in the long term to be in a unique position to provide specialist medical advice to performing artists. I also want to help promote education and knowledge not just to help performers with difficulties but also to prevent injuries occurring in the first place.”

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, President of NZ-UK Link Foundation, said “People do not generally recognise the stresses and strains to which musicians and other artists are subject. Professional performance requires great effort and practice that can be very physically damaging. I am delighted that NZ-UK link Foundation can help Dickson Fung research this new field of medicine and bring best practice from the UK back to help New Zealand music”

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