Dr Patrick Ip
FRCPCH(UK), FHKAM(Paed), FHKCPaed, MRCP(UK), MRCPCH(UK),
MBBS(HK), MPH, DCH(IRE), DCH(GLAS), Dip Med(CUHK)
Clinical Associate Professor,
Department of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, The University of Hong Kong
Consultant, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong
Dr. Patrick Ip is a Clinical Associate Professor of Department of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, The Unversity of Hong Kong and a Consultant in Paediatrics, Queen Mary Hospital. Dr Ip is a specialist paediatrician with special interest in Community Child Health, Developmental Paediatrics and Child Protection. He has been working in the field for 20 years and has much experience and publications on early childhood development, neurodevelopmental disorders, child maltreatment and global health issues. Dr Ip graduated with his medical degree in the University of Hong Kong and received further training in the Imperial College, London. He has been one of the key coordinators of integrated child health service between hospital and the community and coordinated the Comprehensive Child Development Service (CCDS) of Hospital Authority since its implementation in 2006 until he joined the University of Hong Kong in 2009. He is an appointed tutor of the Association for Research in Infant and Child Development, United Kingdom and the official trainer of Griffith’s Mental Developmental Scale. His research focus on different dimensions of Community Child Health including early brain development, early intervention, underprivileged children, safeguarding children, child mental health, disability and rehabilitation, public health & health promotion.
Child Maltreatment and Its Impact on Child Development
Early life experiences are built into our body and all these adversities would become early childhood roots of impairments in health, learning and behavior (Shonkoff, Boyce & McEwen, 2009). Emerging research in early child development documents the rapid brain development in the first years of life and the positive influence of environmental stimulation (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000). Further research has drawn attention to the larger economic returns of government investment in early childhood compared with adulthood (Heckman, 2004). Recent scientific studies using socioeconomic model showed that the yield of capital investment in human life drops exponentially as age increases while early childhood is the most rewarding period worth investing.
These findings have led countries in North America, Europe and Australia to invest into early childhood intervention and to prevent the occurrence of early life adversities in particular child maltreatment. It is particularly important to identify young children at-risk and provide adequate support and training in order to optimize their development and avoid more serious problems subsequently. Clinical and laboratory studies show that human brain is not mature at birth; early life experience had significant impact on the long term well-being and achievement of any subject. Human development is shaped by a dynamic and continuous interaction between biology and experience, how a child turns out to be is the outcome of the transaction between biology and environment. Early life adverse event like child abuse would impair the development of human in childhood, increase the risk of developing mental health disorder like depression in adulthood and physical health problem like cardiovascular disease in elderly. A recent meta-analysis conducted by HKU team found an alarmingly increase in the risk of developing both Axis 1 and Axis 2 mental health disorders among Chinese suffering from physical abuse in childhood. The risk of Personality Disorder is even higher than that reported in Caucasian population. All these findings support a promising causal model of how child maltreatment and discrimination can have lifelong impacts on our learning, development and health.