Making an impact in Taiwan

Kuang-Chieh Hsueh
Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital
20-flag Taiwan
04 May 2014

Dr. Kuang-Chieh Hsueh is the head of the Tobacco Cessation Clinic and an attending physician at the Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan. He is also a specialist of hospice palliative medicine. His work allows him to blend his interests in tobacco dependence treatment and tending to people with terminal illnesses.

What are some of the challenges you face in your work?

Helping people to quit smoking is always full of challenges, because tobacco is so addictive and available everywhere. Moreover, it is cheap in many countries in Asia including Taiwan. For me, I am not just trying to help people quit smoking, but I also take care of hospice patients who are in a terminal stage and the work load is extremely heavy. The great challenge for me is to do excellent time management and change as many people as I possibly can.

What are some success stories as a result of your work?

I set up an excellent smoking cessation clinic service in Kaohsiung Veteran General Hospital about 12 years ago. This clinic has helped thousands of people to quit smoking successfully. It also received several awards from the Health Promotion Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare in Taiwan, and appeared in several published papers in the international SCI journal. Additionally, I have conducted approximately 10 to 20 smoking cessation therapy groups every year for the past 10 years and had excellent results.

What was the reason you got involved with this type of work?

At the beginning, 12 years ago, I was a family doctor working in a medical center in Taiwan (Kaohsiung Veteran General Hospital). When I inquired about smoking cessation therapy, I found it was so attractive to me and I also found there were so many people who may need help in quitting smoking (there are three million smokers in Taiwan and more than one 1 billion smokers throughout the world). On the other hand, I also realize that the best way to help hospice patients is to prevent cancer or heart failure and respiratory failure from happening. Quitting smoking is the best way.