Professor Dr. Jason Teoh passed away on Monday, March 9, 2015, in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia at the age of 77. He died from a stroke.
Professor Teoh graduated in MBBS from the National University of Singapore and in the 1960s, he completed his postgraduate degrees in public health at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, England.
Professor Teoh was crucial in the establishment of Public Health at the University of Malaya and nationally. He served as the Head of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine from 1992 to 2000. Prior to that, he was the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine from 1990 to 1992. He retired from the university in 2003.
His research interest was in nutrition and he was instrumental in developing the National Recommended Dietary Intakes for Malaysia. This document was then used as a reference and training resource by dietitians, nutritionists, medical students, and specialists. His research areas include health management systems, medical education, and curriculum development. He initiated and developed the Master in Public Health program in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Malaya. In 1996, he headed the National Household Health Expenditure Survey in Malaysia. His teaching of nutrition and public health management was inspirational. His constant pursuit of knowledge and his motivation to share knowledge combined with his sense of humour made him a great lecturer.
Professor Teoh was also an active member of the Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health (APACPH). He was a member of the Standards and Accreditation Subcommittee and a member of the Board of Studies for the Regional Master of Public Health Program in the late 1980s. Professor Teoh was also a World Health Organization Fellow, travelling to Australia to study innovative ideas in public health teaching and management. He was also a consultant to the World Bank where he planned and developed the Institute of Health Management and the Health Education Unit at the Ministry of Health, Malaysia. Internationally, he was also the Advisor to the World Health Organization for regional courses on maternal and child health and on appropriate technologies in teaching and instructional development. For his contributions toward public health in the nation, he was awarded the Officer of the Order of the Defender of the Realm (Kesatria Mangku Negara, KMN, 1989) and the Companion of the Order of Loyalty to the Crown of Malaysia (Johan Setia Mahkota, JSM, 1994)
Apart from work, Professor Teoh was not just an avid reader of public health-related books, but also of biographies of renowned persons from around the world. His interests also included leadership management, strategic planning, and the military, and he had a large collection of books on these subjects. Those who knew him will know of his obsession with anything military, from weapons, fighter planes, battleships, and tanks, to the different types of camouflage worn. Professor Teoh is survived by his loving wife, Josephine and his only daughter Jasmin. He will long be remembered for his contribution to public health and nutrition in Malaysia and throughout the region and to APACPH. His friends will miss him for his cheery disposition, thoughtfulness, and willingness to help. He will be missed by all at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, and all colleagues and friends in public health.
Written by Wah-Yun Low, PhD, from the University of Malaya, and Colin Binns, MBBS, MPH, PhD, from the Curtin University, Perth, Australia.
First published on the Asia-Pacific Jounral of Public Health – DOI: 10.1177/1010539515582856