Building Healthier Societies

In today’s ever-closer world, health policies have local, regional, and global implications. By facilitating collaboration and enhancing regional dialogue, the APRU Global Health Program hosted by the University of Southern California, works to bridge health divides, promoting and protecting population health and meeting shared health challenges.

The Global Health Program strives to meet the evolving needs of future Global Health leaders to better respond to the world’s rapidly evolving health trends. By leveraging the APRU network, the Hub develops innovative activities and opportunities that complement student learning – from case competitions to internships to collaborations with senior researchers from around the world.

Advisory Group
Sofia Gruskin (Program Chair)
University of Southern California
Mellissa Withers (Program Director)
University of Southern California
Taninee Sahakitrungruang
Chulalongkorn University
Juhwan Oh
Seoul National University
Manuel Pérez-Jiménez
Tecnológico de Monterrey
Martin CS Wong
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
King Chow
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Judith McCool
The University of Auckland
Mu Li
The University of Sydney
Masamine Jimba
The University of Tokyo
Budi Haryanto
Universitas Indonesia
Sanjay Rampal
University of Malaya
Erlinda Castro Palaganas
University of the Philippines
Jiayan Huang
Fudan University
Christina Schönleber
APRU International Secretariat
Stigma of mental illness and cultural factors in Pacific Rim region: a systematic review
Abstract Background: Although cultural factors play a crucial role in experience of stigma, there is scant review on the impact and importance of culture on stigma of mental illness across Pacific Rim Region. This study aims to investigate: 1) the cultural factors related to stigmatizing beliefs about mental illness in Pacific Rim region, and 2) culture-specific measures and interventions on stigma of mental illness. Methods: A systematic search of papers was conducted in the MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Scopus, Cochrane Library and Google scholar through January 2003 to April 2019. Results: Forty-one studies in Pacific Rim region which met the inclusion criteria were included in the study. The rate of stigma of mental illness (e.g., public stigma: from 25.4 to 85.2%) was relatively high in Pacific Rim region. Culture factors (e.g., Collectivism, Confucianism, face concern and familism, religion and supernatural beliefs) contributed to people’s stigmatizing behaviors and attitudes toward persons with mental illness, their relatives and mental health professionals. Certain measurements were developed and employed to assess different type of cultural factors related to stigma of mental illness. Conclusions: Cultural factors play an important role in influencing the rate and performance of stigma of mental illness. Further research on stigma of mental illness and culture-specific interventions to reduce the stigma should be conducted in the Pacific Rim region. Keywords: Mental illness, Stigma, Culture factors, PacificRim region, Intervention, Measurements
Workplace Wellness Survey Final Report
APRU Global Health Program released its latest report on Workplace Wellness (WW) finding that although many universities have implemented a range of programs designed to promote employee health and well-being, these programs are often not designed in a strategic or comprehensive way. The report was initiated at the Global Health Conference 2016, a special workshop on workplace wellness was held on the first day of the conference. A Sydney Statement on Employee Health and Well-being was announced and called on our universities to fulfil the responsibility to their employee’s health and well-being. The report is based on an online survey conducted by the APRU Global Health Program (GHP) and completed by 29 universities in 13 Asia-Pacific economies in 2018. The survey aimed to assess the range and scope of employee health and wellness programs at universities in the Asia-Pacific; evaluate gaps and challenges; and facilitate the crafting of recommendations. “We identified a number of innovative and successful workplace wellness programs that our member universities offer, such as fitness challenges and health screenings, but programs relating to mental health, violence, and smoking cessation are especially lacking,” Prof Mellissa Withers of USC says. “The results demonstrate that the main perceived challenge of workplace wellness programs is lack of employee participation,” she adds. The survey suggests that participation suffers from a lack of protected time for employees to engage in WW programs. It also found that few universities offered financial rewards (such as discounts for health insurance or salary bonuses) for employees who have healthy lifestyles. The report moreover cited universities’ insufficient usage of social media or mobile phone messaging to disseminate health information to employees. Among the commendable case studies highlighted are The University of Hong Kong’s Walking Challenge, which entails a goal number of steps for the HKU community to walk together. In October 2018, the challenge expanded to involve over 1,500 people from more than 17 countries and amassed 463,447,412 steps—equivalent to walking 7 times around the world. Another case study is the Domestic Violence Support Policy by The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney, which supports members who are directly or indirectly experiencing domestic violence, including by offering paid domestic violence leave of up to 10 days. The University of Southern California, for its part, offers an attractive reward scheme for smoking cessation, with staff and faculty who do not use tobacco or commit to enroll in a tobacco cessation program receiving a $25 reduction per month in paycheck contributions for their medical plan. The APRU GHP, launched in 2007, is hosted by the University of Southern California and is led by Program Director, Professor Mellissa Withers. Its main purpose is to foster discussion of global health in the region as APRU institutions respond to global and regional needs for capacity building, education and research.

Address: APRU International University Centre, Unit 902, Cyberport 2, 100 Cyberport Road, Hong Kong
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +852 2117 7060
Fax: +852 2117 7080