21 January 2021
20 June 2019
CUHK Medicine Professor Juliana Chan Receives International Honour for
Outstanding Research and Care in Diabetes

Professor Juliana Chung Ngor CHAN from the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has received the “2019 Harold Rifkin Award for Distinguished International Service in the Cause of Diabetes”. This is an international annual award presented by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). It honours individuals who have demonstrated outstanding research, evaluation and care in the field of diabetes from a global perspective and with an international impact. The award was presented to Professor CHAN at the ADA’s 79th Scientific Sessions in San Francisco on 10 June. 

“By combining logistics, information technology and team-based care, we were able to set up registers and use comprehensive data to empower individuals to improve self-management and, doctors to personalise treatment, which can reduce critical illness and premature death by 50%. Using these big data, powered by technology and good care, we can identify care gaps, create new knowledge and inform policies to protect health and preserve humanity by preventing the preventable,” Professor Juliana CHAN said. 

Professor CHAN is Chair Professor of Medicine and Therapeutics in the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK. She is the Founding Director of the Hong Kong Institute of Diabetes and Obesity, and Director of the CUHK-PWH International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Centre of Education and CUHK-PWH IDF Centre of Excellence in Diabetes Care. She joined CUHK in 1989. With her research team, she has set up multiple cohorts, databases and biobanks to validate a series of risk equations and discover a panel of genetic markers predictive of diabetes and its complications in Asian populations. This identifies high-risk individuals for early intervention. Patents have been awarded by the US and China Patent and Trademark Offices. 

At the award ceremony, Professor CHAN expressed her gratitude to those who have provided support throughout her research pursuit. “This prestigious award belongs to all my teachers, colleagues, fellows, students, collaborators, and people with diabetes and their families, but without the support of the University, my pursuit of knowledge to make a small contribution in the diabetes community would not have been possible.”

She and her multidisciplinary team are devoted to the discovery, dissemination and application of knowledge in the field of diabetes and its co-morbidities in Chinese populations. Inspired by the marked benefits of team-based, protocol-driven care in clinical trial setting, she has integrated the components of structured assessment, risk stratification, personalised reporting and decision support into the first and foremost web-based Joint Asia Diabetes Evaluation® (JADE) Technology, which translates evidence into practice and evaluates the cost-effectiveness of interventions in real-world settings in Asia.

Her team is now using a multidisciplinary, multiomic, multimethod approach to study the missing heritability of young-onset diabetes and genetic regulation of diabetic complications, especially kidney disease. To further address the unmet needs in diabetes, her team has received major grants and used state-of-the-art-methodologies, including various glucose and insulin clamp studies and continuous glucose monitoring, to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of novel compounds, including Chinese Medicine, and delivery systems in the field of diabetes and obesity.

Professor CHAN has published more than 500 papers and 20 book chapters in her more than 30-year academic life. She is a member of the NIH-funded Global Consortium to discover genetic markers for diabetes and its complications. She sits on steering committees of multicentre outcome trials, and advisory boards for government and non-government organisations, including the World Health Organization and IDF, a global advocacy body for people with diabetes.

In recognition of her work, Professor CHAN received the China Medical Women’s Association Wuzhou Women Sciences & Technology Award under the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology in 2011.

About the Harold Rifkin Award for Distinguished International Service in the Cause of Diabetes 

The Award is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Harold Rifkin, an internationally recognised clinician, researcher and educator in diabetes. It is one of the highest scientific achievement awards of the ADA, given annually to an individual whose efforts have increased the awareness of the burden of diabetes worldwide to improve the care and lives of those with diabetes. 

About the American Diabetes Association (ADA)

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a U.S.-based leading voluntary health organisation on a mission to prevent and cure diabetes, as well as improve the lives of all people affected by the disease. For nearly 80 years, the ADA has driven discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, while working relentlessly for a cure. The ADA also works to safeguard policies and programmes that protect people with the illness, those at risk of developing diabetes and the health care professionals who serve them, by initiating programmes, advocacy and education efforts that can lead to improved health outcomes and quality of life.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) presents the “2019 Harold Rifkin Award for Distinguished International Service in the Cause of Diabetes”, an international annual award of ADA, to Professor Juliana Chung Ngor CHAN, Chair Professor of Medicine and Therapeutics from the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK, at their 79th Scientific Sessions.

The award honours Professor Chan’s outstanding performance in research, evaluation and care in the field of diabetes from a global perspective and with an international impact.
(Photo source: American Diabetes Association)

Professor Juliana Chung Ngor CHAN
(Photo source: American Diabetes Association)