December 2020 | Issue 51
Celebrating the Cream of the Crop at the inaugural Dean’s Awards

​On 3 December, LKCMedicine staff and faculty came together to celebrate the LKCMedicine Appreciation Day and inaugural Dean's Awards.

Colleagues and distinguished guests gathered for the hybrid virtual and in-person event to recognise the extraordinary service and dedication of the people that makes the School the world-class institution it is today.

The celebrations, which incorporate Long Service awards presentation and the School's very first Support Staff Day, began with a 'virtual' performance from dance collective LKCrew from student year groups Year 1 – Year 3, setting the feel-good factor and sense of occasion for the event. 

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In what he hoped would the first of an annual tradition in future years, Dean Professor James Best welcomed everyone to the awards ceremony from the School's Ong Tiong Tat and Irene Tan Liang Kheng Auditorium, where he hosted a small group of attendees, Vice-Deans, the COO, and award winners.

In acknowledging the exceptional staff and faculty woven into the rich tapestry of LKCMedicine, he said, "We've got to stop and celebrate our achievements," referring to the widely-read book by Brene Brown, Dare to Lead.

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Although the world has been shaken by the global pandemic, Prof Best said LKCMedicine has flourished against the odds, which was a credit to the character and spirit of excellence among the School's community.

He commended, in particular, the staff and faculty's commitment in keeping the momentum of the MBBS programme 'alive' by adapting it online, while seamlessly managing the hybrid-onsite Class of 2025 White Coat ceremony and Celebrating the Class of 2020 virtual event, to ensure our students' achievements continued to be honoured.

Prof Best then paid tribute to the administrative teams and support staff for their diligence in safeguarding everyone's wellbeing during the pandemic. He also praised the research teams for their innovation in collaborating with external bodies such as delivering Covid-19 related seminars – with Imperial and NHG – as well as the many research grants won, and research papers published.

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Thanking LKCMedicine staff and faculty

The Dean's words were followed by a video of pre-recorded congratulatory messages from LKCMedicine Vice-Deans Associate Professor Andrew Tan (Faculty Affairs), Professor Lim Kah Leong (Research), Professor Jennifer Cleland (Education), Professor Pang Weng Sun (Clinical Affairs), and School COO, Dr Serene Ng.

Prof Lim said he was delighted that the School's Support Staff were celebrated at the LKCMedicine Appreciation Day. He thanked the unsung heroes behind the scenes, such as the research assistants and the management support officers "for their tremendous efforts for ensuring the success of the School… it is collectively that we achieve many milestones."

Prof Cleland particularly praised the School's transition to online education in light of the pandemic, saying "I have to thank all of the staff involved in that, from IT and Digital Learning to MSO staff, to faculty, to adjunct staff." She added, "When I look around the world, we managed so well."

Dr Ng lauded the resilience and determination of all LKCMedicine staff and faculty to stay on course in what has been a challenging year. "Appreciation Day is meant not just to thank our award winners, but really to thank all of our support staff."

Stars of the show

While adhering to safe distancing measures, the awardees of the ceremony then went on stage to receive their awards.

Associate Professor Yusuf Ali won the Dean's Award for Service, while Associate Professor Kevin Pethe, Assistant Professor Sanjay Chotirmall and Nanyang Assistant Professor Xia Yun took the Dean's Awards for Research. Assistant Professor Tom Carney, Dr Ranganath Vallabhajosyula and Ms Ramani Saravanan received the Dean's Awards for Education.

For the Administration category, Mr Tan Hee Kiang won the Values in Action award and Ms Goh Pei Ling received the Enabler award.

The award for Innovation was picked up by a team comprising Ms Siti Rohanah Koid, Ms Andrea Thum, Ms Amanda Lee and Ms Siti Nur Iman from the Communications and Outreach department; Ms Suzanne Lim, Ms Poh Sook Sun, Ms Bernadette Chia and Ms Jacquelynn Hor from the Development, Planning & Strategic Relations department.

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LKCMedicine Appreciation Day 2020 151ky.jpgRecognising LKCMedicine's Long Service staff

There was also a presentation of the Long Service Awards, with Dr Andrew Ang, Mr Kelvin Foo, Mr Darren Lim, Mr Alan Loe, Ms Poh Sook Sun, Ms Janet Teo and Mr Ken Wong receiving awards for 10 years' service, and Mr Lim Kong Meng receiving an award for 20 years at LKCMedicine.

In a touching video montage in which they spoke warm words, the awardees thanked their colleagues, department and the School for their recognition, and their commitment to continuing the good work.

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Finally, Associate Professor of Human and Microbial Genetics Eric Yap capped off the afternoon with a medley of Christmas holiday favourites on violin, bringing a little festive cheer.

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Congratulations to all the award winners and a heartfelt 'thank you' to all staff and faculty. To the School's support staff – LKCMedicine would not be what it is without you!

2020 has been an extremely challenging year, but in so many ways, it has highlighted the extraordinary strength and talent among the OneLKC community.

Per aspera ad astra!

(popular latin phase meaning 'through adversity to the stars')