The National University of Singapore (NUS) today announced the appointment of Professor Teo Yik Ying, known internationally for his research in biostatistics, population genomics and genetic epidemiology, as the next Dean of the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, with effect from 1 January 2018. Prof Teo is currently Vice Dean (Research) at the School and also holds a joint appointment at the Department of Statistics and Applied Probability under the NUS Faculty of Science.
Prof Teo will succeed Professor Chia Kee Seng, who has served as the founding Dean of the School since its establishment in October 2011. Prof Chia will return to teaching and his research when he steps down next year. Prof Chia specialises in molecular epidemiology of chronic diseases - such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes - and primary prevention of such diseases.
NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said, “The University is deeply appreciative of Prof Chia Kee Seng’s vision, strong commitment and dedication. Under Prof Chia’s leadership, the School has transitioned successfully from an academic department to a full-fledge Faculty in the last six years. He has established solid foundations, spearheaded several strategic initiatives, and placed the School on the international Public Health map.”
For instance, the School successfully developed the integrated “Total Workplace Safety and Health” (Total WSH) approach, which is now driven by a tri-partite committee involving the Ministries of Health and Manpower, to enhance the safety, health and well-being of employees in the workplace. The School also recruited 50,000 community-based participants into the Singapore Population Health Studies, which is a population-based health research initiative that aims to discover how lifestyle factors, physiological factors, genetic factors and their interactions impact the development of common health conditions. In recent years, the School also provided crucial projections which helped inform and drive Singapore’s War on Diabetes, highlighting the urgent need to increase the capacity of current health systems, and step up prevention efforts to prevent the development of diabetes.
Prof Chia commented, “Over the last six years, I have had the remarkable privilege and opportunity to work with my colleagues to translate research into national health promotion and disease prevention with societal impact. In its next phase of growth, the School will need to be even more active in translating its research into more public health policies and programmes to improve the health of Singaporeans. I am very confident that Prof Teo will very effectively lead the School not only in its translational research enterprise, but also raise the School’s academic standing internationally.”
“NUS is pleased that after a rigorous global search, Prof Teo has been selected to be the next Dean. He has a true passion for high quality education, which will drive innovative programmes that enhance teaching and learning in the School. As an accomplished researcher, I am confident that he will bring research at the School to new heights of international excellence. At the same time, he is strongly committed to translational public health research that impacts national policies and programmes, and addresses the increasingly complex public health challenges that Singapore and the world face,” added Prof Tan.
“I am both honoured and humbled by the opportunity to lead the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, particularly building on the good work of Prof Chia. The School might have been established for only six years, but it has already earned its national mandate and achieved an international outreach in education and research focused on improving population health. Since inception, the School has prided itself as a collaborative, multi-disciplinary academic community with robust connections to both local and international partners,” said Prof Teo.
He added, “Addressing important, complex public health issues will remain an integral part of the School’s mission. It is indeed a critical time now for the School, given the many big national and global health challenges, such as obesity and diabetes, facing us. There will be the increasing need for evidence-based approaches to guide public policies in health and healthcare that are both sustainable and cost-effective. Our ability to contribute with impact will rely on how nimble and ready we are to embrace the right technologies and approaches, and apply them to health promotion, surveillance, prevention and planning. I am grateful for this amazing opportunity and will strive to the best of my ability to serve the School, NUS and the greater community.”
Please refer to the Annex for the biography of Professor Teo Yik Ying.