About the Panellist

Prof. David Bishai,

The University of Hong Kong

Professor David Bishai is Clinical Professor in Public Health and Director of the School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong. Prior to joining HKU, Professor Bishai had served as Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for 27 years and served in the Maryland Department of Health as a local health officer in 2021. 

A leading health economist, his research focuses on the performance and financing of global public health activities, primary healthcare, vaccines, and health disparities. He is the author of two books and more than 260 peer-reviewed scientific publications, His award-winning courses on systems thinking and health economics have reached over forty-thousand students. As President of the International Health Economics Association, he helped to establish a global mentoring network for early career researchers.  

Professor Bishai maintains certification by both the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Pediatrics. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard in Philosophy and Physics, his Masters in Public Health from the University of California at Los Angeles, his Medical Doctorate from the University of California at San Diego, and his Doctor of Philosophy from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. 


Integration of Mental Health into Primary Care – the Role of the Family Doctor 


A study by Mathers & Loncar projected depressive disorder would be one of the top three leading causes of disability and mortality in the world by 2030.  A study by the WHO found wide treatment gaps in depression in that only 7% to 28% of people with depression received treatment in different regions of the world.  Our local study in 2010-12 found that 10.9% of primary care patients were screened positive of depression but <25% reported ever seeking professional help.  Stigma and limited access are the major barriers to mental health care.   The WHO and World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) jointly declared that integrating mental health into primary care is the only viable way to narrow the treatment gap.  To serve the purpose, WONCA has published a Guidance on six core competencies of the family doctor in primary mental health care: 1. Values of considering mental and physical health equally important; 2.  Communication and interpersonal skills; 3. Assessment and diagnosis of mental health problems; 4. Management of common mental health problems; 5. Collaboration and referral; and 6. Reflective practice.   A family doctor for everyone is the key to the prevention, early detection and effective treatment of mental health problems.