Boosting GHI’s Asian connection

Professor David Shum and two endeavour scholarship winners from China
Professor David Shum with Endeavour Scholarship winners from Beijing

The Griffith Health Group’s strengthening connections in Asia are being given a boost through two Endeavour Award winners from China working with the school of Applied Psychology.

Dr Wang Ya and Dr Huang Jia from the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing have been working with Professor David Shum in his research areas of schizophrenia and prospective memory.

“My focus, since April, has been on research and picking up new skills. The environment here is very quiet compared to home so it’s easier to focus,” said Dr Huang.

“Improving my English skills, especially writing skills, has also been important as we (Chinese researchers) want to improve our ability to publish in English language journals.”

“You need to be Genuine”

Professor Shum, Griffith Health Institute’s Head of Research has been forging a relationship with the Institute for Psychology, Beijing for over ten years and regularly shuttles between Beijing and Brisbane.

“My experience (in China) is you really have to put in the time and effort with your personal relationships. Things in China move fast, but you just need to be genuine.”

Drs Huang and Wang have been working with a number of Applied Psychology academics including Professor John O’Gorman and Dr Tim Cutmore, exchanging the latest techniques and ideas.

Psychology a growing field in China

“People with mental health problems still suffer from stigmas in China, but society is becoming more and more complex. Urbanisation continues at a very fast rate and workforce competition is creating ever greater anxiety,” said Dr Huang.

“Like Australia, funding for mental health research and treatment is not enough so many people are suffering,” she said.

Both researchers, however, conceded their fondest memories of Australia will be eating oysters and swimming at the Gold Coast.