that population ageing is the most pervasive and dominant global demographic trend, and Hong Kong is no exception. Over 90 per cent of Hong Kong people pass away in a hospital. This used to be the case in the US, but no longer. Dying in hospital might be desirable for a variety of reasons, but it can be lonely and a challenge for families to retain the dignity and address the needs of their loved ones at the end of their life,’ Professor Bishai remarked. ‘There are opportunities to work more with my faculty on ageing problems, such as long waiting times in our health system, preventing the progression of various NCDs, such as diabetes and hypertension, and high (medical) expenses and out-of-pocket payments. These are opportunities for Hong Kong to improve its health system even though it already has the longest life expectancy in the world. Our glass is pretty full, but there is so much more that we can do to have a faculty here that is working on these problems and has the resources and tools to do that.’ Over the past few months, a series of brutal attacks in the city is again shining a light on mental health and the stigma associated with it. Hong Kong’s mental health problem should be a ‘very high priority’, says Professor Bishai, and demands the attention of everyone. ‘In the West, we have come to realise that a lot of mental health conditions have their origin in childhood, particularly adverse experiences of children. During childhood, it does not take much to produce lifelong emotional scars. Watching their parents fight, and being treated harshly with strict discipline, including physical discipline, can traumatise a child. Family poverty, joblessness or homelessness are also traumas that can increase the risk of later life problems in mental and physical health.’ To tackle these problems, Professor Bishai sees an opportunity to initiate basic research on childhood trauma in Hong Kong. ‘There are NGOs here who would like to talk about this and to work with the community to verbalise it. This is an opportunity for progress to connect what we know about childhood trauma in other settings to what is happening in Hong Kong.’ Breaking Silos and Building Trust Prior to joining HKUMed, Professor Bishai juggled multiple roles as a health economist, educator and researcher at Johns Hopkins University in the US and served in the government of the US state of Maryland as a health officer, with a view to strengthening the ‘academiccentre-health department link’. ‘The reason I took up a position with my local government was to learn about how to build a bridge from a school of public health to practising professionals, so that when we train graduates, we provide them with skills that are as useful as possible,’ Professor Bishai explained. ‘We also want to reach mid-career professionals, who were trained 20 to 30 years ago, to impart what we have learned about the recent practice to upgrade their skills and help them stay relevant. The vision for global public health education is to reach current practitioners, not just in Hong Kong but around the world. Hong Kong’s location makes us a crossroads and a place to accomplish this more effectively.’ On bringing his expertise and experience to the School and the Faculty, Professor Bishai said he believes that the key is to combine expertise and knowledge in an environment of trust building and shared discussion with the understanding of the general public, who best understand their context, their life and their capability to make themselves FEATURE + ↑Professor Bishai introduces the Global Health and Development (GHD) Summer Programme offered by the School of Public Health (SPH) to secondary school students. 貝教授向高中生介紹 學院的環球衞生及發展 暑期課程。 30