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Academic Staff
​Prof. Joseph Tak-fai LAU 劉德輝教授

Prof. Joseph Tak-fai LAU


BSSc (CUHK); MA, PhD (UC, Berkeley); FFPH(UK) 

 Emeritus Professor and Research Professor

Academic Appointments

  • ​Founding Director, Center for Health Behaviours Research, CUHK

  • Vice Director, Division of Behavioral Health, China National Association of Preventive Medicine (Since 2021)

  • Director, Community Research Program on AIDS

  • Director, Centre for Medical Anthropology and Behavioral Health, Sun Yat-sen University, China (Since Dec 2009)

  • Adjunct Chair Professor, School of Public Health, Zhejiang University, China (Since 2018)

  • Adjunct Professor, Tsinghua University, China (Since August 2018)

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology, Sun Yat-sen University, China (Since Jan 2017)

  • Adjunct Professor, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China (Since Jan 2017)

  • Adjunct Professor, Peking Union Medical Center, China (Since Jan 2013)

  • Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health, Shantou University, China (Since May 2012)


Professor Lau received his Bachelor Degree (First Class Honor) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and his master and doctorate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and was a recipient of the Yale in China Scholarship, the CUHK-University of California Reciprocity Scholarship, the Hewlett Packlett Fellowship. and the Population Council Fellowship of the United States. He also received the International Collaboration Award (2019) and the Distinguish Scientist Award (2021) of the International Society of Behavioral Medicine which has 28 member societies in 25 countries. He was also the winner of the Best Health Promotion Award from the Hong Kong government.


He joined the Faculty of Medicine in 1989 and served as the Director of the Centre for Clinical Trials and Epidemiological Research from 1991 through 2002, and the Director of the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics from 2002 till 2009. He co-found the Hong Kong Branch of the Cochran Centre in 2002. He was the President of the Hong Kong Epidemiological Association from 2007-2009. He also served as the Secretary of the Clinical Research Ethics Committee of the University from Oct 2002 to Jun 2008. He is currently the Director of the Centre of Health Behaviors Research of the School of Public Health and Primary Care. Professor Lau is also the Director of the Community Research Program on AIDS, an active research program which was established in 1996 and has been awarded a Focus Investment Grant of the University. Professor Lau is the Founding President of the Hong Kong Society of Behavioral Health, and a member of the Governing Council of the International Society of Behavioral Medicine (ISBM). He was also the co-chair of Strategic Planning Committee of ISBM.

He is also serving as an Associate Editor of the Addiction journal and Frontiers, HIV and AIDS and an editorial member of many international peer-reviewed journals including Vaccines, AIDS Care, Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, International Journal of BioMed Research, Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy Research, Health Psychology and Behavioral Health, The Open AIDS Journal, Chronic Diseases and Translational Medicine, Annals of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Addictive Behavior, and Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, as well as a consultant and advisor for two other scientific journals.

Professor Lau has authored and co-authored about 570 papers published in international peer-reviewed journals, including Lancet and BMJ. He has been awarded 64 grants as the Principal Investigator and 52 grants as a co-investigator. His h-index is 72. He has also served as a reviewer for major journals including Lancet, BMJ, American Journal of Public Health, Emerging Infectious Diseases, AIDS, Journal for Epidemiology and Community Health, Social Sciences & Medicine, Vaccine, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, and Tropical Medicine & International Health.

In terms of consultancy services, Professor Lau serves as a consultant of the WHO Informal Expert Group on Community Engagement Research during the COVID Pandemic, the WPRO Informal Network on Hepatitis Stigma & Discrimination, WHO guideline groups on HIV self-testing and Partner Notification, Disease & Health Management Committee of National Chinese Hospital Association, and as a senior consultant of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of the Hunan and Jiangsu Provinces and the Institute of Family Planning and Research in Shenzhen. He provided professional consultancy to international organizations such as the Family Health International, HLSP and the Cambodian government. Professor Lau is also very active in community services. He has been involved in various advisory governmental committees such as those in HIV/AIDS, rehabilitation, civic education and youth development etc. He chaired the Hong Kong Coalition for AIDS Services Organizations from 2000 to 2002 and has been a Director of AIDS Concern in Hong Kong since 2005 to present and an advisor of the Community Health Organization for Intervention, Care and Empowerment (CHOICE).

Research Interests

  • Inter-disciplinary behavioral health research including behavioral health theories, behavioral interventions and mental health related to risk and preventive behaviors:

    • Addiction research: Substance use, alcohol use, smoking, social media, gaming, and internet addiction

    • Community responses to emerging infectious diseases: psycho-social and behavioral responses to COVID-19, SARS/H5N1/H1N1, influenza vaccination, and HPV vaccination

    • Community mental health research among adolescents, older people, and special populations

    • Impact of social media use

    • Behavioral intervention for non-communicable diseases prevention

    • HIV/AIDS research: Risk behaviors, behavioral and bio-medical interventions, treatment adherence, stigma, comorbidity, and psychosocial issues

    • Sexual health

    • Social marketing and community health promotion: screening and prevention of diabetics, hypertension, organ donation registration, physical activity, dietary change among cancer patients

Recent Funded Research Projects 

  • Lau JTF, Yang X, She R, Xin M. Who in the general public support violent actions in the social movement and why? (20/03/2020—19/09/2020). HKD 482,873.5 - Public Policy Research Funding Scheme (Special round)

  • Lau JTF, Wong MCS, Mo PKH, Mak WWS. A randomized controlled trial evaluating two e-health interventions (presence/absence of motivational interviewing) in increasing colorectal cancer screening among people aged 50-60 with moderate risk (01/10/2018 - 30/09/2020). HKD 1,198,022 - HMRF

  • Lau JTF. A 3-phase survey, training, and inter-disciplinary combined on-line/offline, theory-based and evidence-based intervention for prevention of psychoactive substance use among adolescents who are case-work clients of social workers (The My Sunny Way Project) (01/08/2018 - 31/07/2022). HKD 2,791,153.79 - Beat Drugs Fund

  • Lau JTF. A Longitudinal Study to Investigate Impact of an Online Real-time HIV Self-testing and Counselling (OSTC) Service on Prevalence of the First-time HIV Testing, Retesting and Sexual Risk Behaviours among Hong Kong MSM (01/12/2017 – 31/05/2020) (Ref#: MD17506). HKD 1,069,834.00 - AIDS Trust Fund

Last Updated: 23 September 2021

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