Hwang Ching Chan, MPH, CIC

Location: Singapore

Company/Organization: National University Hospital

Title: Senior Epidemiologist

First Certified: May 2019

1. Why did you choose a career in infection prevention and control?

I first thought that a basic degree in science would allow me to fill the role in the epidemiology unit competently, and hence applied for an opening when there was an opportunity. Thereafter, the choice to stay in this career, and obtain an MPH and CIC certification, has been inspired mostly by the wonderful professionals I work with, who remind me daily why we do what we do.  

2. How did you first hear about the CIC®?

I first heard about the CIC from my mentor and supervisor, who trained in the U.S.A. In the local setting, there are few avenues to obtain specialized training in healthcare epidemiology, and infection prevention and control, and upon hearing about this certification, it became immediately apparent that obtaining the CIC should be a primary objective in building a solid foundation that emphasizes patient safety, implementation science, and data standardization.

3. As an international candidate, what types of hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome to take the CIC® exam?

The online review course offered by APIC was one of the recommended resources in preparing for the CIC exam. However, the course provider was unable to accept a credit card that was issued by a local bank, and time and effort was expended towards alternative modes of payment. Thankfully the contact person at APIC was exceedingly helpful, and the fund transfer eventually went through without a hitch.

Administrative matters aside, the number of CICs in Singapore are few, and I am not sure at this point that this certification is as renowned, or would be as well-received in the local setting, when compared to CICs in other countries. I see this as an opportunity to encourage others in my position to get certified, and take heart that this certification counts towards a personal achievement that will follow the individual, no matter the work setting or employment status. I also found that although legislation and regulations might differ from countries to countries, the base principles of healthcare epidemiology, and infection prevention and control apply generally, and where I thought that preparing for this certification might throw into stark contrast differences between healthcare settings, I saw instead that solutions can always be adapted to fit into the context of each setting.

4. If you have recertified, why do you stay certified?

Not applicable, although when my certification lapses in 2024, I intend to recertify, to be recognized as a professional in infection prevention.

5. What advice would you give someone like you interested in taking the CIC®? What resources did you find useful?

I would say that it’s important to know the source material well, and also to pay close attention to the question being asked when sitting for the certification exam. There is sufficient time to complete all the questions, so don’t rush through it, and take time to read the question and study the options carefully.

I highly encourage the online review course offered by APIC as study material, as well as the Online Practice Exam offered on the CBIC website. The practice exam provides a good assessment of how well prepared the candidate is to sit for the actual certification exam.

6. How do you stay informed with the latest industry news?

I browse internet forums, and subscribe to journal articles, although I find that the most valuable resource for staying informed is communicating frequently with colleagues in the field. Healthcare institutions in the local setting vary quite a bit from other countries, and it is important that these differences are taken into consideration when applying technical knowledge to practice.

7. Finally, what does it mean to you to be a CIC®?

It means that I am a trained professional in healthcare epidemiology, and infection prevention and control, and it lends me confidence to work with other highly qualified and driven professionals in my setting.