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Research Team -

Child health

Principal Investigators

  • Prof. NELSON Edmund Anthony Severn (Tony)

  • Dr. HUI Connie

  • Dr. YEUNG Karene

Research Staff

  • Ms. CHAN Oi Yi Cecil

  • Ms. DENG Han Bing Debbie

  • Ms. LAM Sze Chai Shirley

  • Ms. LEUNG Woon Wa Cecily

  • Ms. TAI Sin Ming

  • Ms. TAM Grace

  • Ms. YEUNG Ching Wun Christy

Post-graduate students

  • Ms. Khadka Shradda (PhD)

  • Ms. SUN Kexin (PhD)

Research Scope

An overview of research focus

The team strives to make a positive impact on the lives of Hong Kong children and their families by building the evidence base to inform policy changes that could prevent disease. These studies include randomized controlled trials to increase uptake of rotavirus and influenza vaccines, economic evaluations to demonstrate potential cost savings from increased vaccine and breastfeeding uptake, and studies aiming prevent obesity and promote healthy nutrition.

A list of research topics

  • Diarrhoeal and respiratory surveillance and disease burden 

  • Rotavirus and influenza vaccines

  • Growth and nutrition

  • Prevention and treatment of childhood obesity and complications

  • Breastfeeding promotion

  • Early life exposures and child health

  • Economic evaluations and health technology assessments

Selected publications

  1. Wang X, Hui LL, Cole TJ, Nelson EAS, Lam HS. Fitness of INTERGROWTH- 21st birth weight standard for Chinese- ethnicity babies. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed Epub ahead of print: [please include Day Month Year]. doi:10.1136/archdischild- 2022- 325066

  2. Hui LL, Ho FK, Wright CM, Cole TJ, Lam HS, Deng HB, So HK, Ip P, Nelson EAS. World variation in head circumference for children from birth to 5 years and a comparison with the WHO standards. Arch Dis Child Epub ahead of print: doi:10.1136/archdischild-2022-324661

  3. Hui LL, Yeung KHT, Chow KM, Poon LC, Ip PLS, Nelson EAS. Breastfeeding challenges and opportunities during COVID-19 in Hong Kong. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. 2022. DOI:10.1111/jpc.16238

  4. Galagoda GCS, Perera J, de Silva R, Wickramasinghe HT, Dasanayake D, Bravo L, Ismail Z, Goh DYT, Nelson EAS. ASVAC2022 : 8th Asian Vaccine Conference. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics 2023, vol. 19, no. 1, 2165360

  5. Hui LL, Nelson EAS, Deng HB, Leung TY, Ho CH, Chong JSC, Fung GPG, Hui J, Lam HS. The view of Hong Kong parents on secondary use of dried blood spots in newborn screening program. BMC Med Ethics 2022;23:105.

  6. Fernández Coves A, Yeung KHT, van der Putten IM, Nelson EAS. Teleconsultation adoption since COVID-19: comparison of barriers and facilitators in primary care settings in Hong Kong and the Netherlands. Health Policy 2022.

  7. Alice Abou-Nader A, Heffelfinger JD, Amarasinghe A, Nelson EAS. Assessing perceptions of establishing a vaccine pooled procurement mechanism for the Western Pacific Region. PLOS Global Public Health August 12, 2022.

  8. Hui LL, Nelson EAS, Lin SL, Zhao JV. The role of vitamin C in pneumonia and COVID-19 infection in adults with European ancestry: a Mendelian randomisation study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2022-04. DOI: 10.1038/s41430-021-00993-4 

  9. de Haas TDJ, Yeung KHT, Hutubessy R, van der Putten IM, Nelson EAS. Programme costs for introducing age/gestation-based universal influenza vaccine schedules for young children and pregnant women in Hong Kong. Vaccine 2021;39(46):6762-80.

  10. Dang TKN, Rivero Cabrera R, Yeung KHT, van der Putten IM, Nelson EAS. Feasibility of age- and gestation-based routine universal influenza vaccines schedules for children aged 6 months - 2 years and pregnant women. Vaccine 2021;39(46):6754-61.

Grants (On-going)

Study title: Increasing Rotavirus Vaccine Uptake: A Randomised Controlled Trial

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health and Medical Research Fund

Study period: 5 Oct 2020 to 4 Apr 2023

Reference number: 19180202

Principal Investigator: Tony Nelson

Co-investigators: Karene Yeung, WH Tam, Genny Fung

Study title: Novel therapeutics for non-communicable Paediatric Diseases

Sub-project: Ketogenic Diet for Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Obese Adolescents: A Randomised Control Trial

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Commissioned Studies

Study period: 1 Aug 2021 to 31 Jul 2024

Reference number: PR-CUHK-3

Principal Investigator: TF Leung

Co-investigators: Tony Nelson (lead investigator of sub-project), Dorothy Chan, Joanna Tung, Connie Hui, Winnie Chu

Study title: Improving Influenza Vaccine Uptake in Pregnant Women: A Randomised Controlled Trial

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health and Medical Research Fund

Study period: 1 Nov 2022 to 31 Oct 2024

Reference number: 21200932

Principal Investigator: Albert Li

Co-investigators: Tony Nelson, Karene Yeung, WH Tam, Chow Ka Ming, Connie Yip

Study title: Surveillance of Streptococcus Pneumoniae and Respiratory Viruses in Children Hospitalised for Acute Respiratory Illnesses in Hong Kong (2017-2019) to Assess the Ongoing Impact of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines

Funding source: Merck Sharp & Dohme (Asia) Ltd

Study period: 1 Apr 21 to 31 Mar 2023

Reference number: 170693841

Principal Investigator: Margaret Ip

Co-investigators: Tony Nelson

Grants (Recently completed)

Study title: Hong Kong Growth Study

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Commissioned Studies

Study period: 1 Feb 2019 to 31 Jan 2023

Reference number: GC-CUHK

Principal Investigator: Tony Nelson

Co-investigators: Thomas Chung, Patrick Ip, Simon Lam, YC Lo, Shirley Leung, Connie Hui

Study title: Mothers’ Barrier to Sustain Exclusive Breastfeeding in the First Six Months

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Commissioned Studies

Study period: 1 Jan 2021 to 31 Oct 2022

Reference number: Breastfeeding (Mothers' Barriers) CUHK

Principal Investigator: Tony Nelson

Co-investigators: Karene Yeung, Connie Hui, Chow Ka Ming, Esther Lau, Nigel Rollins

Study title: The Development and Evaluation of a Remote Exchange Clerkship Programme

Funding source: Courseware Development Grant Scheme (2019-22)

Study period: 1 May 2021 to 31 Jul 2022

Reference number: 4170818

Principal Investigator: Tony Nelson

Co-investigators: Simon Lam, Kate Chan, Connie Hui

Study title: Economic Evaluation on Breastfeeding Promotion in Hong Kong

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health and Medical Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jun 2020 to 31 May 2022

Reference number: 07181226

Principal Investigator: Connie Hui

Co-investigators: Tony Nelson, Carlos Wong

Study title: Provision of Services to the Department of Health for Conducting Study of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Human Milk

Funding source: Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR

Study period: 29 Mar 2019 to 22 Apr 2022

Reference number: 136535299

Principal Investigator: Wong TW

Co-investigators: Tony Nelson

Collaborations and opportunities to research students

Maastricht University 

Master of Science in Healthcare Policy Innovation and Management within the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences

The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Maastricht University are both members of the World University Network. In 2017, Inge van der Putten came to Hong Kong as part of the “Global Health Scholar Exchange Programme – PhD exchange” and studied “Inclusion and use of vaccines in Hong Kong's mixed Public-Private funding model of health care” during her 3-month stay. In collaboration with the Jockey Club School of Public Health’s Global Health Initiative, three Maastricht masters students Lisa Meels, Nina Meels and Simone Maassen studied factors affecting the underuse of Oral Rehydration Salts, access to vaccination in Hong Kong and decision-making process on the uptake of vaccines. In 2018, Loubelle Butalid and Vera Heijnert came to study factors affecting the doctor’s recommendation of the influenza vaccination and pricing and provision of the HPV vaccine in the region. In 2019, Sandra Dang and Romen Rivero Cabrera studied the feasibility of including influenza vaccines in routine schedules for young children and pregnant women. In 2020, Thomas de Haas costed these schedules. For 2021 Andrea Fernandez Coves studied “Factors for teleconsultation adoption in primary care: the role of physicians and the funding models of Hong Kong and the Netherlands” and Klara I. Szent-Iványi explored “What are the respective roles of National Regulatory Authorities, National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups, pharmaceutical companies and governments in vaccine licensure, and how do they affect vaccine access. In 2022, Ines Vieira da Costa undertook a study on speech therapy support for children with autism.

Asian Vaccine Conferences

Tony Nelson chairs the Steering Committee of Immunization Partners in Asia Pacific and has led the organizing team for recent conferences in Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar and Sir Lanka. The next 2023 conference is scheduled to be held in Philippines in November 2023.

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