members privilege: asia society - pathways to happiness: a new approach to positive health and longevity

Wednesday, December 12th 2018 @ 12:15 pm - 2:15 pm

Pathways to Happiness: A New Approach to Positive Health and Longevity


Luncheon Dialogue
Registration 12:15pm
Lunch 12:30pm
Close 2:15pm

Could a sunny disposition mean fewer colds and less heart disease? Do hope and curiosity somehow protect against developing hypertension and diabetes? Do happier people live longer and healthier — if so, why? What about social conditions such as poverty and inequalities? And, how do they affect health? How about social media? Do they lead to greater happiness or cause more distress? How does the use of the ubiquitous information and communication technologies (ICTs) affect the sense of family well-being?

Researchers are exploring a new, and sometimes controversial, avenue of public health — documenting and understanding the link between positive emotions or other psychological and sociological factors and good health. While it’s easy to believe good health may contribute to happiness, the converse is less well accepted — whether happiness may contribute to the likelihood of having good health. Scientists are increasingly probing whether happiness has a real effect on physical health, using more rigorous methodology than previously available. Various studies have been conducted to test whether “subjective well-being” - how people evaluate their own lives — may contribute to a range of physical and mental health outcomes. Findings are beginning to paint a consistent picture, suggesting that happiness or other aspects of psychological and social well-being, really can influence physical and mental health. Or that use of social media is associated with mental health both positively and negatively. Or that use of ICTs such as video calls to share information is associated with family well-being.

If these findings are real, we would want to understand how, why, and when happiness or other positive psychological factors might influence physical health outcomes. Equally important, how does our social life — relationships with others, use of social media and other information and communication technologies affect our sense of subjective, family and social well-being. When thinking about how happiness might influence health, scientists have offered various explanations. One looks at behaviors — happy people often take better care of themselves and choose healthier behaviors such as exercising, eating well and getting adequate sleep — over unhealthy ones. Another draws on findings that happiness has been linked with beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, and speed wound healing. What is the linkage between happiness and health? Do good family relationships lead to happier, healthier individuals? How is the sense of well-being affected by our income, education and other social conditions and how that affect health? What does this all mean for public policy? Join Secretary for Food and Health, Sophia Chan, and the co-directors of the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health for a new approach to positive health and longevity.


Sophia Chan was appointed Secretary for Food and Health, Hong Kong SAR in 2017. She was previously Under Secretary for Food and Health responsible for policy formulation and promotion. Before joining the Government, Prof. Chan was a Professor in Nursing, Head of the School of Nursing and Director of Research at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). She was also Assistant Dean of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at HKU. Having trained in and practised general and paediatric nursing in Hong Kong and London, Prof. Chan received her Master of Education at the University of Manchester, Master of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, and completed her doctoral studies at HKU.


Laura Kubzansky is Lee Kum Kee Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Co-Director of the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness and Director of the Society and Health Laboratory at  the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Kubzansky has published extensively on the role of psychological and social factors in health, with a focus on the effects of stress and emotion on heart disease. She also researches on whether stress, emotion and other factors help to explain social disparities in health. Dr. Kubzansky is a fellow in the American Psychological Association and several other professional associations. She received her Master of Public Health from Harvard and her PhD from the University of Michigan.


K. “Vish” Viswanath is Lee Kum Kee Professor of Health Communication at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and in the McGraw-Patterson Center for Population Sciences at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). He is also Co-Director of the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness. Dr. Viswanath’s primary research is in documenting the relationship between communication inequalities, poverty and health disparities, and knowledge translation through community-based research to address health disparities. He has written more than 225 journal articles and book chapters, and is the recipient of several awards. Dr. Vishwanath obtained his PhD from the University of Minnesota.


Ronnie C. Chan is Chairman of Hang Lung Group Ltd. and its subsidiary Hang Lung Properties Ltd., both publicly listed in Hong Kong. The Group expanded into Mainland China in 1992, developing, owning and managing world-class commercial complexes in key tier one and tier two cities. He founded and chairs the China Heritage Fund, is Co-Founding Director of The Forbidden City Cultural Heritage Conservation Foundation, Beijing, and is former Vice President and former Advisor of the China Development Research Foundation in Beijing. Mr. Chan is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Chairman Emeritus of Asia Society and Chairman of the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, and Founding Chairman of the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society. He serves or has served on the governing or advisory bodies of several think tanks and universities, including Peterson Institute for International Economics, World Economic Forum, East-West Center, Pacific Council on International Policy, Eisenhower Fellowships, The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, University of Southern California, Indian School of Business, Yale University, Tsinghua University and Fudan University. (Moderator)

Regular Menu
Caprese Salad with Orange-Infused Basil Oil and Balsamic Pearls
Roasted Chicken Breast with Spinach Risotto, Baby Vegetables and Tarragon Jus
Vanilla Creme Brulee Tart with Raspberries

Vegetarian Menu
Caprese Salad with Orange-infused Basil Oil and Balsamic Pearls
Roasted Vegetable Napoleon Stick of Portobello Mushroom, Eggplant and Herb Oil
Vanilla Creme Brulee Tart with Raspberries

Please register via this link -


HK$500 (Lifetime/Patron)

HK$500 (Annual/Biennial/Complimentary Student Member)

HK$650 (Prospect/Guest)

Sign Up Date

(Lifetime/Patron) : Monday, December 3rd 2018

(Annual/Biennial/Complimentary Student Member) : Monday, December 3rd 2018

(Prospect/Guest) : Monday, December 3rd 2018

Sign Up Deadline

Tuesday, December 11th 2018

Time & Location

12:15 pm - 2:15 pm

Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty

Contact Info

Bettina Buck