In 2005, the University celebrated the inauguration of the first 8 Endowed Professorships,
a milestone in the University's history.
To date, a total of 116 Endowed Professorships have been established.
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Mr M B Lee

M B Lee Professorship in the Humanities and Medicine

"During my extended involvement three decades ago with outstanding overseas orthopaedic surgeons under the Visiting Professorship Scheme I established since 1973, I have come to experience first-hand the tremendous healing power of humanities. I hope this Professorship will help to bridge the gap between academic and public communities by fostering an understanding of the social, cultural and environmental dimensions of disease, health and well-being." 

Mr M B Lee

Robert S Peckham

Robert S Peckham

Appointed in 2019
Epidemics have had a profound effect on societies throughout history. Antimicrobial resistance and the emergence of new infections of animal origin, compounded by population movement and environment change, will pose increasing challenges to human health in the future.

Despite their extraordinary impact, disease outbreaks have tended to be treated by historians as exceptional events, or as background noise in accounts that prioritise social, political, and economic development.

Professor Robert Peckham is a leading historian of medicine and science, recognised internationally for his contributions to the field. He is the Chair of the Department of History, founding Director of the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine (CHM), and the M B Lee Professor in the Humanities and Medicine at The University of Hong Kong (HKU).

His research provides much-needed historical context to contemporary public health concerns and addresses a number of fundamental questions with implications for policy: How have diseases affected human societies at different times in different places? How have human activities influenced the emergence and spread of infections?

Professor Peckham’s research resituates disease at the heart of modern history. In his 2016 book, Epidemics in Modern Asia, he traces the entangled social, environmental, and biological processes that have driven infections and produced epidemics in Asia over the last two centuries from Japan to India. He believes that studying health history in this way opens up new perspectives on historical issues that have great relevance for the present and the future: mass migration, environmental transformation, urbanisation, and the role of the state in a globalised world.

Co-founded by Professor Peckham and colleagues at the University, CHM is a pioneering collaboration between the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Medicine with a mission to promote interdisciplinary research, harness research for the benefit of the wider community, and foster human values in medical education and practice in order to create more humane and effective medicine and healthcare.

As the Director of CHM, Professor Peckham has played a key role in community engagement, supporting numerous art exhibitions and outreach programmes aimed at promoting public awareness around
critical health issues. He is also the founding editor of the interdisciplinary book series Histories and Ecologies of Health, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. His commitment to interdisciplinary
teaching was recognised in 2012 when he received an HKU Outstanding Teaching Award.

He earned his BA and PhD from King’s College London before going on to the University of Cambridge, where he was a Research Fellow at St Catharine’s College. He was subsequently a Fellow at St Peter’s College, University of Oxford. Professor Peckham has been Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (2008-11) and Visiting Scholar at New York University (2017-18). His research has been
supported by many grant-awarding institutions, including the British Academy, the Alexander S Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.

Professor Peckham has written extensively on the history of medicine, health, and disease in his many journal
articles and chapters, and in his books. He is interested in how diseases have been experienced and understood in the past, and in the shifting remit of the modern state in managing the health of its citizens.

As a publicly engaged academic, he has written many articles and reviews on history, culture, politics, and health aimed at a non-specialist audience for newspapers such as The Independent, New Statesman & Society, South China Morning Post, Times Higher Education Supplement, and Times Literary Supplement.

Former Holder(s):

Chan Li-Chong

Appointed in 2014

Since 1997, with the introduction of problem-based learning, the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine has been at the forefront of medical education reform. The Faculty’s pioneering approach to introduce new teaching and learning methods continued in September 2012 when the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine was launched.

Professor Chan Li-Chong is Chair Professor in the Department of Pathology, Co-Director of the Medical Ethics and Humanities Unit and Chairman of the Medical Humanities Planning Group in the Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong. He is also Director of the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine. The Centre is committed to promoting the cross-listing of humanities modules into the clinical curriculum, and seeks to foster a closer interrelationship between teachers in medicine and the humanities including history, literature, philosophy, sociology, the visual arts, music, religious studies, ethics and the law.

Professor Chan is a clinician scientist recognised internationally for his scientific research in childhood leukemia, and as a medical educator with special interests in particular problem based learning and curriculum development. Underpinning these two complementary roles is his commitment to enhancing teaching and learning. His teaching philosophy is driven by the recognition that “The student of today is the teacher of tomorrow”. He believes that implicit in this statement is our responsibility to nurture students to develop not only self-directed learning and critical thinking skills but also a spirit of inquisitiveness and the courage to challenge dogmatic views and thinking.

The formation of the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine together with the launch of the Common Core Curriculum in HKU opened up opportunities which led Professor Chan and his colleagues to develop a 6-year longitudinal core medical humanities programme that was launched in September 2012 as part of undergraduate medical curriculum. The medical humanities programme incorporates the humanities, the arts and social sciences as part of medical education in the training of medical students. Its aim is to foster the development of humane and humanistic qualities in a doctor.

Through the teaching and learning of medical humanities centred on narratives, film, performance and visual arts, students can generate new inquiries and reflections that will enable them to understand the nature of the human condition in particular illness and health in the wider context of the lives of people. Students will be able to appreciate the complexities and ambiguities of issues involved in medical care and practice; and will be able to explore the nature of suffering and healing so as to enable patients to live a life of meaning despite their illness. By having the medical humanities, the first programme of its kind in the region and probably the world, HKU hopes it will enable the practice of medicine to be both a science and a living art.

In recognition of his excellence in teaching and curriculum development, Professor Chan received an Outstanding Teaching Award (Individual) in 2009, and an Outstanding Teaching Award (Team) in 2013 in which he was the leader for developing the medical humanities curriculum in the LKS Faculty of Medicine.

Professor Chan believes health care professionals must look after themselves, and maintains his well-being through mindful practice, whether at work, at home or during his recreation time which he enjoys through reading, cooking and hiking.

Kam Louie

Appointed in 2010

The Faculty of Arts is a global centre of excellence in China-West Studies that now has a key role in a new joint research venture aimed at furthering the public’s understanding of health.

Last year, as part of a combined initiative to further research between the Arts and the Medical Faculties, HKU founded the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine.

The Centre draws upon expertise from across both Faculties and has developed strategic research clusters, including those on the history of infectious diseases, health communication, Asia-West health and Humanitarianism, which are establishing the University as a centre of expertise in cross-cultural approaches to medicine and health. 

Professor Kam Louie, as Dean of the Faculty of Arts, has been instrumental in developing and supporting the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine. His inter-disciplinary work on China – including his pioneering study of Chinese masculinity – has created a unique research and teaching environment at HKU, one which encourages comparative and cross-disciplinary exchanges, whilst promoting inter-departmental and faculty research collaborations. 

Professor Louie is a recognised expert in Chinese Studies and has taught at Nanjing, Auckland, Murdoch, Queensland, and Australian National universities. His research reflects his wide intellectual interests and sustained commitment to furthering global understanding of China’s rich cultural heritage and its contemporary transformations. Internationally, he is best known for his study “Theorising Chinese Masculinity”. His comprehensive writings on modern and Communist literature remain highly influential. 

Prior to joining HKU, Professor Louie was a member of the Australian government’s premier cultural advisory board, the Australia-China Council. He served on advisory boards for high-school curriculum development relating to enhancing the teaching of China Studies and Chinese in both Western Australia and Queensland. 

Professor Louie brings an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of China. As a student at Sydney University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Peking University, he studied across the major Humanities disciplines, including literature and language, history and philosophy in keeping with the traditional vision of the interconnectedness of these foundational Humanities disciplines. The broad framework of inter-disciplinary research he has developed in the Faculty of Arts has provided a crucial context for shaping and prioritising the Centre’s research agenda – specifically its focus on the comparative approaches to the experiences of sickness and health, and the different healing practices in Asia and the West. Professor Louie is leading the Centre’s mission to equip society to meet the critical health challenges that confront humanity, as well as promoting the ‘human’ and ‘humane’ within contemporary medicine and healthcare.