On March 3 2023, President and representatives from the Dr Wu Lien-Teh Society attended the award ceremony for the Dr Wu Lien-Teh Award for the Best Student in Doctor of Public Health (DrPH), Universiti Malaya, organised by the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya. There were seven highly qualified finalists shortlisted for this award. Dr Wong Min Fui@Esther Wong from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, a mother of two, was the winner of this award’s second year in running.
Dr Wong completed her Master’s in Master of Public Health (MPH) and DrPH over 4 years in time during the COVID-19 pandemic. She developed a digital psychosocial intervention for low-income urban dwellers for her project. Her passion for working with the poor urban community and mental health stemmed from her 12 years of working experience at the primary care and district health office in Sabah and Kuala Lumpur. She owed her success to her family. Growing up in a B40 family is never a barrier to becoming a successful person. In fact, she becomes more resilient and steadfast. She felt it is not enough to have a good policy in public health, the implementers must believe it works and build trust in order to convince people to actually follow it.
Dr Wong received congratulatory notes from her DrPH supervisors, Professor Dr Hazreen bin Abdul Majid, and Associate Professor Dr Mas Ayu binti Said) and a strong mandate to go the extra mile with her selfless character from her Head of Department, Professor Dr Victor Hoe Chee Wai Abdullah. Prof Victor emphasized the importance of self-enrichment and enriching the world, living to the value of selflessness with great characters and personalities that touch lives. During the speech by Dato’ Seri (Dr) Anwar Fazal, health activism is a core component of making impacts with positive changes when one like Dr Wu ignited actions and stood up bravely to take the necessary actions.
We also have the first recipient of the award 2021, Dr Wan Kim Sui to join the ceremony. He shared the value of the award in inspiring him to go further in his career and life. Post-award, he received peer recognition, promotion in his career to the National Institutes of Health, Malaysia and invitations from other civil societies for collaborations.
This award was set up by the Dr Wu Lien-Teh Society in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya in 2021. It aims to inspire fellow awardees to continue their passion for public health and to follow in the footstep of Dr Wu. Dr Wu Lien-Teh was a highly respected public health physician and an internationally acclaimed plague fighter in the medical fraternity. Not only was he the first Malayan student who graduated from the University of Cambridge in Medicine, but he was also the first nominee from Malaya to be considered for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1935. In the advent of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Wu’s contributions as a plague fighter a century ago, right from the face mask design and implementation of a variety of public health measures epitomized his control strategies since the beginning of this pandemic.
The selection process for this award is conducted by an independent panel of academicians set up by the Faculty of Medicine and approved by the Senate of Universiti Malaya, with 4 domains of evaluation (leadership, community engagement, academic standing, and professionalism). The awardee receives a medal, RM 1000 cash prize, and a certificate from the Dr Wu Lien-Teh Society.
Representatives from the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya:
- Professor Dr Sanjay Rampal A/L Lekhraj Rampal, Acting Dean, Faculty of Medicine
- Professor Dr Shahrul Bahyah binti Kamaruzzaman, Deputy Dean (Postgraduate), Faculty of Medicine
- Professor Dr Victor Hoe Chee Wai bin Abdullah, Head, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
- Professor Dr Claire Choo Wan Yuen, Acting Head, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
- Other academic and non-academic personnel.
Representatives from the Dr Wu Lien-Teh Society:
- Professor Dato’ Seri (Dr.) Anwar Fazal, President
- Dr Hor Chee Peng, Secretary-General
- Mr Clement Liang Chow Ming, Honorary Treasurer
- Mr Ronald Quay Ong Guan, Committee Member
This report was prepared by Dr Hor Chee Peng, Secretary General, The Dr Wu Lien-Teh Society. Photos were taken by Mr Abdul Rahman bin Awang Senik, and Mr Muhammad Haizril Arif bin Md Mokhtar from the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya.