G ood health is central to our happiness and well-being. The importance of taking care of our health can never be overstated. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) recognises this, and implements health education, promotion and prevention programmes aimed at empowering Singaporeans to adopt healthy behaviours.
HPB’s mission strongly resonated with Xiong Lingxi, Senior Executive in HPB’s School Health Planning Department, and Delvin Goh, Economics student at the National University of Singapore (NUS) when they were exploring their future career options. It provided them with an impetus to apply for the HPB Local Undergraduate Scholarship, through which they have received opportunities to initiate positive changes in Singaporeans. They share their motivations and insights from the perspective of a working professional and student respectively.
HPB Local Undergraduate Scholar
Senior Executive, School Health Planning,
School Health and Outreach Division
Shaping Plans, Shaping Behaviours
In the School Health Planning Department, Lingxi and her team lead strategic planning for various school-health initiatives implemented in the pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. She tells us that her role matches her intrinsic interest in shaping the habits of our young. Part of her job sees her going down to various kindergartens and childcare centres to conduct consultations and establish healthy eating regimes.
She explains, “The team has put in place a Healthy Meals in Childcare Centres Programme (HMCCP) to ensure young children have good eating habits. It is important to inculcate healthy behaviours from a young age, given that the rate of childhood obesity in Singapore is slowly creeping upwards. HMCCP has a set of guidelines which helps childcare centres understand what kind of set meals to provide children with, and how much milk and vegetables children should consume.”
As she communicates with stakeholders from kindergartens and childcare centres, Lingxi is certainly in a good position to help shape policy decisions and future plans pertaining to child and youth health.
Goh Jun De Delvin
HPB Local Undergraduate Scholar
Gaining a Broad Perspective
Delvin knew that the healthcare sector would serve as a good platform to kick start his career. Given the increasing attention paid to healthcare in Singapore, Delvin felt that it would be brimming with essential learning opportunities to expand his interest in the health sector. However, he did not choose the conventional path to become a doctor or allied healthcare professional. He explains, “I was driven by the prospect of shaping policies and sparking interventions. Being able to make a difference to the lives of Singaporeans and making an impact on their health is something I look forward to.”
As someone who values looking at the bigger picture, Delvin was pleased at the opportunity to gain a broad perspective of HPB’s functions through his internship. He was attached to the Organisational & Learning Excellence Department where he was introduced to the analogy of HPB’s value chain concept. “At HPB, each department sees itself as being on a production line. Different departments come together to form a final service or product – which is essentially the health intervention programmes we customise for different groups of people. My internship gave me the chance to witness how the departments in HPB come together as one to work towards a common goal.”
Delvin shares some of the challenges he faced during his internship, as would anyone who is new to the workforce. But he welcomes them as essential learning opportunities. “As a scholar, there are bound to be certain expectations set on you. But with expectations come more exciting learning opportunities. I view this positively as I can push myself to expand my knowledge and increase my skillsets during the internship,” says Delvin.
Another way HPB grants its scholars greater exposure is through the practice of interdepartmental rotation. This allows scholars to gain insights into various aspects of HPB’s dynamic operations.
For Lingxi, prior to her posting with School Health Planning, she had been with the Mental Health department. When she first joined the Mental Health department, the team was working on a collaboration with local artiste Zoe Tay to raise awareness of dementia through Recipe, a local telemovie. Lingxi explains, “People don’t seem to be as receptive when you merely preach about dementia. The team takes this into account and uses innovative outreach methods such as film to reach the masses more effectively.”
Following Your Interests
Both Lingxi and Delvin agree that it is important to follow your passion and interest, because motivation does not come easy without them. If you are considering different scholarship options, talking to your seniors at school can help to provide deeper insights and offer future career prospects.
Delvin also shares his belief that a degree equips you with critical thinking skills. He concludes, “There is value in whichever discipline you go into, because the content of a degree programme matters less than its relevance to a scholarship organisation. A university education hones your analytical skills and imparts knowledge, allowing you to invariably add value to your future organisation. It is thus essential to identify your interests and pursue them wholeheartedly.”