Chan, Siu Chee Sophia


Senior Advisor, President’s Office, HKU

Professor and Director, HKU Primary Health Care Academy


Division of Community Medicine and Public Health Practice

  • PRDHCE (Nursing) (PolyU),  MEd (The University of Manchester), MPH (Harvard University), PhD (HKU) RN, RSCN, FFPH, FAAN, GBS, JP.

Professor Sophia Chan is currently the Senior Advisor to President’s Office at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), and the Professor and Director to HKU Primary Health Care Academy at the University of Hong Kong.

Professor Chan was appointed by the HKSAR Government to be Under Secretary for Food and Health (USFH) from 2012 to 2017, and Secretary for Food and Health (SFH) from 2017-2022. She was the first nurse in Hong Kong appointed in this ministerial position. She has led the Food and Health Bureau (FHB) in making remarkable contribution in the formulation and implementation of various major policies on health, food and environmental hygiene and agriculture and fisheries. During her tenure as SFH, not only has she been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic over 2.5 years, she has also made exemplary efforts and policy initiatives in protecting and promoting the health of the population through major policy initiatives such as reforming a new journey in primary health care by developing District Health Centres (DHCs) in all 18 districts in Hong Kong, laying a strong foundation of developing the first Chinese Medicine Hospital, opening the first Children Hospital, launched the Hong Kong Cancer Strategy 2019, launched the Towards 2025: Strategy and Action Plan to Prevent and Control Non-communicable Diseases in Hong Kong; implemented the Hong Kong Strategy and Action Plan on Anti-Microbial Resistance 2017-2022 and prepared the 2023-2027 Strategy Plan, established the Genome Research Institute, launched the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme, and banned E-cigarettes and Heated Tobacco Products in Hong Kong, just to name a few.  

Before the Government appointment, Professor Chan was the Head of Department of Nursing Studies/School of Nursing of HKU from 2000 to 2011 and an Assistant Dean of the LKS Faculty of Medicine of HKU from 2001 to 2012. Professor Chan was trained in and practised general and paediatric nursing in Hong Kong and London. She got her Master of Education from the University of Manchester, Master of Public Health from the Harvard University School of Public Health, and her Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Hong Kong.

Professor Chan is one of the leading Nurse Scientists locally and internationally and was named among the world’s top 2% most cited scientists in her specialty areas by Stanford University in 2020. Her research specialises in public health, management of tobacco dependency, prevention of second-hand smoke exposure in children, and primary health care system and policy development. She has always been the top-funded researcher in HKU School of Nursing and has led many external competitive grants including GRF, HMRF, and commissioned grants from the Government, Hong Kong Jockey Club and key foundations and organisations locally and internationally. She is a pioneer and founding directors of a number of signature research and training programmes in tobacco dependency therapeutic interventions, and her research findings has transformed smoking cessation services and tobacco control policies. She developed various novel smoking cessation models through individual and clustered randomised controlled trials and compare ethno-cultural differences between Chinese and other smokers through epidemiological and social science methodologies. She proposes novel scientific insights, and has published extensively with over 240 peer-reviewed scientific papers with more than 3,800 citations. Since she resumed her professoriate position in HKU in July 2022, she has already obtained five donations to fund community-based research projects in promoting healthy ageing, testing effective primary health care models, protecting children from second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure, and nursing leadership development. She serves as Director and Principal Investigator of the Generations Connect Project, the HKU Primary Health Care Academy, Quit-for-Kids, and two new research projects on primary health care and nursing leadership development.

Professor Chan’s pedagogy has been recognised by the award of Best Teacher 1996, Faculty Teaching Medal in 2005 and Outstanding Teaching Award in 2009, one of the highest honour for teaching achievements conferred by HKU. She consults widely nationally and internationally and has represented the University and the Food and Health Bureau of the HKSAR Government in international meetings and invited by the World Health Organization to provide professional advice and leadership on their public health and tobacco control initiatives. She also serves on global academic advisory boards in nursing leadership and primary health care locally, nationally and internationally.

She was first awarded a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health (through distinction) and later, an Honorary Fellow, Royal College of Physicians of United Kingdom (FFPH (RCP)(UK)). She was the first nurse in Hong Kong being awarded the Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN). Locally, she was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong Government for her exemplary contribution to public services; an Honorary Doctor of Social Science (honoris causa) of the Metropolitan University, Honorary Fellow of the Hong Kong College of Health Executives, Honorary Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Nursing, and an Outstanding Alumni of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.  

Selected Publications
  1. Chan S.S.C., Mackay J. (2022). Success and Challenges of banning new tobacco products: Hong Kong Experience. Bangkok: Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance. Pages 1-13.
  2. Chan S.S.C. (2021) Health care worker strikes and the Covid pandemic. New England Journal of Medicine, 385, e43. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc2111834
  3. Chan SS, Cheung YTD, Wong YMB, Kwong A, Lai V, Lam TH (2018).  A Brief Smoking Cessation Advice by Youth Counselors for the Smokers in the Hong Kong Quit to Win Contest 2010: a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Prevention Science.  Feb;19(2):209-219.
  4. Chan SS, Cheung YT, Fong DY, Emmons K, Leung AY, Leung DY, Lam TH (2017). Family-based smoking cessation intervention for smoking fathers and nonsmoking mothers with a child: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Pediatrics.  Mar;182:260-6.
  5. Chan SS, Leung DY, Leung AY, Lam C, Hung I, Chu D, Chan CK, Johnston J, Liu SH, Liang R, Lam TH (2015). A nurse-delivered brief health education intervention to improve pneumococcal vaccination rate among older patients with chronic diseases: a cluster randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Nursing Studies.  Jan;52(1):317-24.
  6. Chan SS, Wong DC, Cheung YT, Leung DY, Lau L, Lai V, Lam TH (2015). A block randomized controlled trial of a brief smoking cessation counselling and advice through short message service on participants who joined the Quit to Win Contest in Hong Kong. Health Educ Res.  Aug;30(4):609-21
  7. Chan SS, Leung DY, Wong DC, Lau CP, Wong VT, Lam TH (2012).  A randomized controlled trial of stage‐matched intervention for smoking cessation in cardiac out‐patients. Addiction. Apr;107(4):829-37.
  8. Chan SS, Leung DY, Abdullah AS, Wong VT, Hedley AJ, Lam TH (2011). A randomized controlled trial of a smoking reduction plus nicotine replacement therapy intervention for smokers not willing to quit smoking. Addiction.  Jan 13;106(6):1155-63.
  9. Chan SS, Leung GM, Wong DC, Lam TH (2008). Helping Chinese fathers quit smoking through educating their nonsmoking spouses: a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Health Promotion.  Sep 1;23(1):31-4.
  10. Chan SS, Wong DC, Fong DY, Leung AY, Lam DO, Mak YW, Lam TH (2008). The Establishment and Promotion of the First Youth Quitline in Hong Kong Challenges and Opportunities. Evaluation & the Health Professions.  Sep 1;31(3):258-71.