The father-and-son team of psychiatrists, Drs. Kien and Maurice Siu, bring a unique perspective to The Scarborough Hospital’s Mental Health Services. Together, they represent close to 50 years of knowledge and experience in the psychiatric field.
“It’s an interesting field that covers so much—physical, mental, psychosocial,” explains the elder Dr. Siu, who began his practice in 1973. “And today, more people are aware of mental health issues, and there’s less stigma attached to psychiatric problems.”
Dr. Kien Siu completed his medical degree in Australia before attending Queen’s University psychiatric residency in Kingston. His son Maurice started his practice here at TSH in 2003, and convinced his father—who was living in Alberta at the time—to move to Toronto and to join TSH the next year.
“I never pushed my son into psychiatry; he chose it,” Dr. Kien Siu emphasizes. The subject of psychiatry was not frequently discussed at the Siu dinner table when Maurice was growing up.
“While an undergrad at university, one of the courses was Abnormal Psychology, which turned out to be the most interesting of my classes,” Dr. Maurice Siu explains. “I never really knew what type of practice my father had. I didn’t know what kind of patients he saw and what treatments he used. When I went to medical school and was exposed to psychiatry, I developed an interest in assessing and managing psychiatric disorders.
“It is a very complex specialty and it’s an under-serviced field. I was first interested in some of the more severe psychiatric disorders—bipolar disorder and schizophrenia—so I applied to the University of Toronto to do my residency in psychiatry.”
Having spent 37 years as a psychiatrist, Dr. Kien Siu has seen many changes over the years.
“The focus now is on a multidisciplinary approach, working with nurses, psychologists, social workers,” he explains. “There are also new therapies and medications, as well as evidence-based psychiatry.”
His son concurs.
“From a biological perspective, I believe the next step in the evolution of psychiatry will be a better understanding of what causes psychiatric disorders,” Dr. Maurice Siu says. “Once we know this, we can hopefully design our drug treatments to target psychiatric symptoms in a more specific and efficacious fashion.”
Both father and son enjoy working in the community mental health setting.
“Working as part of a team, you certainly get more input from others than you would in a private office setting,” Dr. Maurice Siu explains. “Certainly, working in Scarborough, and dealing with a multicultural population, presents a lot of challenges.”
Family get-togethers (they live about ten minutes away from each other) don’t typically involve discussing cases, but it is bound to happen. And while the senior Dr. Siu enjoys family-oriented activities in his spare time, son Maurice spends his extracurricular activity on a boat in the middle of the lake fishing for bass.
“I usually participate in one or two amateur bass fishing tournaments every summer. I find fishing is very relaxing; I can get rid of my stresses and focus on the sun, the water and on trying to catch fish,” he says.