Newsletter No. 193

2 No. 193 4th December 2001 CUHK Newsletter Centre Dedicated to Osteoporosis Opens T he Chinese University of Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Osteoporosis Care and Control was officially opened on 8th November. The first specialized centre for osteoporosis care and control in the Asia-Pacific, the centre is located in the Postgraduate Education Centre of the Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Wales Hospital. It was established with a generous donation of $41 million from the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The major purpose of the centre is to prevent osteoporosis, a silent epidemic for this millennium and one of the top five conditions causing disability and prolonged hospital stay for the elderly in Hong Kong. Osteoporosis is caused by many lifestyle factors, including a low calcium diet, lack of physical activity, cigarette-smoking, and alcoholism. The increasing use of oral and inhaled steroid is also a major cause of osteoporosis in local patients. Guests officiating at the opening ceremony included Dr. E.K. Yeoh, Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mr. Chau Cham Son, deputy chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, and Prof. Arthur K.C. Li, vice-chancellor of the University. Owners o f Negat ive Assets Suicidal, Accord i ng t o Mo od Di sorder Survey T o understand how the current economic climate is affecting the mental health of people, the Hong Kong Mood Disorders Centre o f the Faculty o f Medicine conducted a large scale telephone survey from 25th to 28th September, covering over a thousand respondents. Mood disorder is defined as the persistent suffering of at least four somatic or emotional symptoms in the previous four weeks and the impairment of social functioning. The results showed that about 20 per cent of the respondents suffered from mood disorder, and people with negative assets were more vulnerable to mood disorders than those without. The study also revealed that sufferers tended to have lower household income though those in the upper income brackets were by no means immune. People with mood disorders held a relatively pessimistic view of the Hong Kong economy and their household financial status. Close to 40 per cent of them had had suicidal thoughts in the previous three years. This percentage was four times higher than among people without mood disorders. In the survey, over a quarter of respondents who were negative-equity homeowners suffered from mood disorder—a rate far higher than those without negative assets. They commonly suffered from headaches, sleep disturbances, irritability, anxiety, and other symptoms. The Hong Kong Mood Disorders Centre provides skills-focused training and specialist support for private general practitioners w i th the aim of enhancing the treatment of mood disorders in primary health care. A total of 74 general practitioners have graduated from the centre since May 2001. The centre also provides early intervention by launching public education and providing psychological counselling service. Fami ly Medicine Doctors Audit and Evaluate Their Own Work T h i r t e e n p a p e rs w e r e presented at the First Hong Kong Conference on Research Audit and Evaluation in Family Medicine, hosted by the Department of Community and Family Me d i c i ne on 17th and 18th November at L i Koon Chun Hall. Focused purely on research by Hong Kong's primary care doctors, the meeting provided a forum for the exchange of research information and insights in the areas of antibiotics use, drug use, doctor-patient relationship, waiting time for consultation, medical consultation patterns for school children, and prescribing patterns o f Hong Kong doctors. Prof. James Dickinson gave a welcoming speech at the opening ceremony and Dr. Donald L i gave an opening speech. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Vivian Wong. (From left) Dr. LukeTsang ,Prof. Y.T. Wun, Prof. Cynthia Chan, Dr. Vivian Wong, Prof. James Dickinson, Dr. Donald Li, and Dr. David Chao Stressful Parents of Asthmatic Children A sthma is the commonest chronic illness in children. About 200,000 children in Hong Kong suffer from asthma with varying degrees of severity. The departments of Paediatrics and Psychiatry at the University have recently commissioned the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies to conduct a survey on parents with asthmatic kids to find out their understanding about asthma and to identify their concerns and emotional stress in taking care of their children. The survey found that over half the parents do not realize their children are suffering from asthma until their children are treated in an emergency department or admitted to hospital. They also hold misconceptions about the disease. A large proportion reported that their careers were affected because of their asthmatic kids. Doctors at the Department of Paediatrics strongly believe that a correct understanding of asthma w i ll foster better management of the disease to the benefit of both the children and their parents. Visitors Impressed by Clinical Skills Centre T wo external examiners from Australia visited the clinical skills centre at the Prince of Wales Hospital on 2nd November 2001. Dr. Howard Watts (middle, seated) and Dr. Natalie Old (front, seated) were in Hong Kong as external examiners for the Hong Kong College of Family Physicians. They observed a class of students practising their communication skills, and stayed for the entire afternoon, participating in teaching and giving feedback. Dr. Old, who has taught at the Bellevue Hospital in New York, said the facilities for teaching and assessing communication skills at the centre, w i t h its seven consu l t i ng rooms equipped w i t h videosystems, were the best she had seen for this purpose. She also found that the students' interaction skills were better than those of many American students she had taught, who were older, had more formidable scientific knowledge, but demonstrated d i f f i cu l ty communicating wi th patients. Academics and Professionals Discuss Local Financial Sector T he BBA Alumni Association and the Faculty of Business Administration jointly organized 'Business Fo r um 2001—F i nanc i al Ma r ket Reform: Risks and Oppo r t un i t i es' on 17th November 2001 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The forum aimed at facilitating the exchange of insights concerning changes and reforms in the f i nanc i al sector in Hong Ko ng among the academic and professional community. Guest speakers i nc l uded academics in relevant fields and professionals from leading players in the industry. Mr. George Leung, chief economist of HSBC, and Ms. Tracy Yu, head of banking research of UBS Warbury, explained in detail the bank mergers in Hong Kong from a quantitative angle. Views were exchanged wi th the participants on the difficulties of developing a bond market in Hong Kong. Prof. Simon Ho, director of the School of Accountancy of CUHK, and Mrs. Pamela Chan Wong- shui, chief executive of Hong Kong Consumer Council, provided comments from a policy and governance angle, explaining the relevance of the reforms in terms of significance to the institutions themselves and to individuals as consumers and investors. As non-bank financial intermediaries, Mr. Paul Pong, managing director of Pegasus Fund Managers Limited, and Mr. Peter Wong, managing director of Tai Fook Securities, gave their views on the growing integration within the industry and how China would contribute to the acceleration of change in Hong Kong. Professionals in the industry were well advised on the inevitable consolidation and technology renovation within the industry. The forum ended with summary remarks by Prof. Michael Hui, acting dean of the CUHK Faculty of Business Administration. Mr. Barry Chan (left), chairman of the BBA Alumni Association, presenting a souvenir to Mr. George Leung, chief economist ofHSBC