“Breaking the Silence!” Workshop – AMSAHK

Name of the activity: “Breaking the Silence!” Workshop

Country/NMO: AMSAHK China, Hong Kong

Program: Health Systems

Contact information: contact [email protected] to get in touch with the Activity Coordinator

Type of the activity: Continuous Activity

Category: Campaign

Focus area: Medicine related issues

Sustainable Development Goals addressed: SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities)

General description:

The deaf community is marginalised in our local health system. As its grows, we felt obliged to enhance healthcare quality for them. Hence, we collaborated with the SLCO Community Resources, bringing clinically-related sign language workshops, deaf simulations and insights from patients and carers to our participants. With an extended audience through a social media campaign, medical students will communicate and empathise with the deaf better in their future careers. 

Problem statement:

There are more than 110,000 deaf people in Hong Kong, yet the health system fails to accommodate their needs. They often receive over-simplified medical explanations and wait longer due to communication barriers, while translators have to be pre-booked, hence hard to find during emergencies. There is low awareness amongst medical students, as basic sign language is not a component of the curriculum. Hence, an early exposure would better equip them to provide quality consultations in the future. 

Target groups:

  • Medical students
  • Deaf Community


  • Medical students
  • Deaf Community


  1. To provide opportunities for medical students to learn Hong Kong Sign Language 

–  To teach medical students at least 70 signs across 4 days of sign language workshops

–   Basic communication (mouth-reading) and specific medical-related vocabulary

  1. Equip future medical professionals with the necessary skills, knowledge & understanding to communicate & build rapport with deaf patients 

– By understanding deaf culture and common daily struggles amongst deaf population 

 – By understanding how a doctor would provide care to deaf patients during consultation

  1. To erase stigma against sign language being a proper and official language, and promote sign bilingualism in Hong Kong education by furthering collaboration with local NGOs in the coming year 

  – Through social media posts on common myths of sign language 


“1. Students can successfully recall sign languages after 1 week 

  1. Students are able to elaborate on the challenges faced by the deaf community and could propose possible support the community or future medical professionals can provide to them
  2. High number of reads on social media posts and share the posts through NMO members to spread the awareness
  3. More enrolment for sign language workshops next tenure


We collaborated with SLCO-Community resources to carry out 4 sessions of clinical sign language workshops at 2 universities in Hong Kong from October to November 2022. It included a deaf simulation and sharings from deaf teachers and university students to help participants better emphasise with future deaf patients. We then invited a doctor who has a deaf daughter and a doctor who encountered a deaf psychiatric patient to share on our social media during January 2023, together with a month-span of weekly sign language videos, we hope to expand our scope of influence to those who were not able to attend a face-to-face workshop. The “Breaking the Silence” sign language workshops were held for more than 5 years, but we decided to add a consequential social media follow-up to really provide an accessible route of involvement for busy students. Hopefully more students will sign up to learn sign language with their interests aroused by insights from practising seniors.

Plans for evaluation:

1.. Pre-evaluation and post-evaluation forms are used for the sign language workshops to check on participant’s initial understanding of the deaf community’s difficulties and their level of Hong Kong sign language interpretation 

  1. Participant feedback videos will be filmed to ask about their takeaways from the workshops 
  2. Medical student will answer instagram polls based on post contents, hence their understanding would be tested

External collaborations:

We are collaborating with SLCO-Community Resources, an NGO that promotes sign bilingualism in Hong Kong. They provided us with deaf teachers for the Hong Kong Sign Language and arranged the deaf simulation called “Touch My Heart Project”. We did not receive any grants or sponsorship from them. 

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