Date: Monday, June 26 2017


Dr. Chan Ching-Hai Charles, a retired associate professor and honorary fellow of the Department of Applied Social Sciences (APSS) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), has passed away last week at the age of 61.

A clinical psychologist and psychoneuroimmunologist by training, Charles served in various capacities at the PolyU including the Students’ Affairs Office as a counsellor and senior lecturer at the APSS. Between 1994 and 1996, he served at the Belmont Private Hospital, Brisbane, Australia as a clinical psychologist as well as head of community liaison service. Upon his return to Hong Kong and the APSS since 1997, he has dedicated his work to advocate practice and research of psychology in the community settings, youth development through community mentoring, and advances in health services and promotion through applied psychology.

In his colourful and vibrant career, Charles contributed to the scientific community through various applied research endeavours and related publications across disciplines, including journals and books in psychology, social work, health services and promotion, and education. He has been enthusiastic in research and development of psychology in Chinese societies and served as the editor of the Journal of Psychology in Chinese Societies between 2004-2008. From 1997 through his retirement in 2012, Charles was the director of the Network of Health & Welfare Studies at the APSS that advocates community partnership and translational research at the departmental and interdisciplinary levels.

On the learning and teaching fronts and educational leadership, Charles was an incubator of two academic programs at PolyU in the Bachelor of Applied Psychology and Master of Applied Psychology, both offered by the APSS. He has also served in various departmental program leadership capacities and associate headship during his service. Extending his practice of psychology in the community, he was a founder of one of the first service learning courses at PolyU on Community Psychology.

On top of his academic research and teaching, Charles devoted himself to bridging and consolidating university partnerships with the community at large. Some of his significant community and professional commitments were:

Past President (2005-2006) - Hong Kong Psychological Society
Past President - Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association
Co-Chair - Promotion Sub-committee, Health Care and Promotion Fund, Food & Health Bureau, HKSAR Government
Member - Quality Education Fund Steering Committee, Education Bureau, HKSAR Government
Member - Sub-committee on Service-Learning Subjects, Committee on General University Requirements, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Founding Member - Hong Kong Quality Mentorship Network
Board of Directors - Hong Kong Church Network for the Poor
Board of Directors - Yan Chai Hospital Law Chan Chor Si College
Board of Directors - ECF Saint Too Canaan College

Charles will be remembered as a wise and genuine teacher in guiding his students, a determined and industrious team player to his professional colleagues, as well as a loving and caring mentor to those he helped or inspired throughout his academic career.

Facebook page, set up by his surviving family members: