Newsletter No. 229

Three CUHK Members Win Outstanding Young Persons Award 2003 Three members of the University have been selected Outstanding Young Persons for 2003 by the Hong Kong Junior Chamber of Commerce in recognition of their professional excellence and commitment to the community. They are Prof. Agnes S. Y. Chan of the Department of Psychology, Prof. Chan Wai-man of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and Dr. Mary Wu of the Department of Music. The panel of judges for this year included chief judge Prof. Arthur Li, Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr. Raphael Hui, Dr, Alice Lam, Mr. Moses Cheng, and Dr. K.S. Lo. They selected 20 candidates for interviews out of close to a hundred nominees. Seven were chosen for the award and the award presentation ceremony will be held on 28th November at the Royal Plaza Hotel, Mo n g k o k . Founded in 1970, the objective of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award is to give formal recognition to young people who excel in professional endeavours and commitment to the community, promote roles played by young people in shaping a better future, and provide incentive to young people seeking further advancement in personal achievement and public services. Prof. Agnes S.Y. Chan, associate professor, Department of Psychology Prof. Agnes Chan is jubilant over winning the award. 'Being a bom and bred Hong Konger, a local award gives a kind of recognition to my work that the American awards I received in the past couldn't. It is also a great morale booster. ’ She continued, 'Hong Kong is sometimes criticized for its lack of research resources and talent which keeps its research from reaching international levels. This is true from a certain point o f view. However years o f research experience in the US has made me realize that every place has its share of strengths and weaknesses. As long as we make up for our lack with our fortes, excellence is still possible.' She quoted writing research proposals as an example. A researcher overseas may need to spend half a year writing a proposal for a yearlong project but this is not the case in Hong Kong. She is currently the only member of her department studying dementia. While there's clearly not enough manpower, being the only researcher in dementia also gives her access to many subjects and hence a wealth of first-hand data. She said that in the US, she had to wait up to a year to be given 10 cases because the playing field was too crowded. The large number of subjects in Hong Kong has also enabled her to expand the scope of her research to include autism and epilepsy. Prof. Chan advises researchers not to be disheartened by the lack of resources because research of international calibre is possible i f they know how to capitalize on their strengths. Prof. Chan Wai-man, professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences 'I was both nervous and elated to learn of the news,' said Prof. Chan Wai-man, who has a strong sense of mission towards social service. ' T h e D e p a r t m e n t o f Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences is a very small department with only eight teachers, yet it is the only academic department responsible for training eye doctors and teaching ophthalmology to medical students in Hong Kong, besides conducting research and p r ov i d i ng c l i n i cal services. Through our joint eye institute with Shantou University, we also provide patient care and engage in collaborative research. The award is a sign of recognition of our work. The honour is by no means mine alone; it belongs to everyone in the department.' Prof. Chan said that the award is a great encouragement for himself, the department, and the Hospital Authority in their commitment to serve the public. Dr. Mary Wu, senior instructor and artist-in-residence, Department of Music Dr. Mary Wu said she participated out of a wish to review her work to see which areas needed po l i sh i ng and whether she had accomplished all that she had set out to do. 'The award came as a surprise and a huge encouragement. I ' d like to thank my parents, teachers, and friends for their support, as well as my two Bauhinia Piano Trio partners and Prof. Chan Wing-wah for his nomination.' 'Music is an international language given by god. Despite the hard work I put into learning it, it has given me tremendous joy. I've been able to communicate spiritually with my audiences through sharing my music with them,' said Dr. Wu who wi ll continue to learn, teach, and perform at the same time. 'Besides concert halls and theatres, I also enjoy playing at homes for the elderly, hospitals, and schools. Over the past few years, my two partners and I performed at over 60 schools. It is great to be able to share music with the students.' Reducing Risk Factors and Complications in Diabetics O ne in 10 Hong Kong people has diabetes. The majority of diabetics are undiagnosed. Among those diagnosed, many remain unaware of the high chances of developing complications such as eye and heart diseases, stroke, and kidney failure. In 1995, the Diabetes Care and Research Group of the University initiated a pilot programme to document the complications and risk factors involved for diabetic patients attending the Prince of Wales Hospital. Risk factors and complications such as sex, smoking, glycated haemoglobin, b l ood pressure con t r o l, cho l es t e r ol l eve l s, and cardiovascular diseases were studied. The group recently reviewed the effects of these multiple risk factors on survival and major complication rates. They found that some 53 per cent of those with more than eight risk factors either died or developed heart or kidney diseases in five years. Many of the risk factors can be controlled with patients' active participation and professional guidance. The group urged all diabetics to undergo comprehensive assessment every 12 to 18 months. Diabetes and Atherosclerosis Discussed at Three-day Symposium T he Hong Kong Diabetes and Cardiovascular Risk Factors δΈ€ East Meets West Symposium and the 13th International Symposium on Atherosclerosis were convened from 3rd to 5th October at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The symposium was organized by the Hong Kong Foundation for Research and Development in Diabetes of the De p a r t me nt o f Me d i c i ne and Therapeutics. Keynote lectures were delivered by Prof. A. Olsson from Sweden, Prof. D. Sullivan from Australia, Prof. G. L. K i ng from the US, and Prof. Al Vinik from the US. The topics covered on the three days included Defining Metabolic Syndrome in Asians, Classification and Pathogenesis of Lipid Disorders, Latest Advances in Obesity Management, Diabetes in the Young, and INGAP for the Treatment of Diabetes. There were also free paper presentations on atherosclerosis and diabetes on the last day of the symposium. (From left) Dr. George King, Prof. Clive Cockram, and Dr. Anders Olsson at the opening ceremony of the symposium 2 No. 229 4th November 2003