As the main driver for national health promotion and disease prevention in Singapore, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) aims to promote healthier living through a wide range of programmes. To work towards the vision of a nation of healthy people, HPB is working against the clock for forward-thinking and passionate individuals who can help to introduce initiatives that will encourage the public to embrace a healthier lifestyle.
One of the ways in which HPB nurtures such individuals is through scholarship opportunities which are offered to talented candidates with a zeal for health promotion in Singapore. We speak to HPB managers Farah Aslinda Binte Abdul Razak and Delvin Goh to find out more about their bursary and scholarship journeys, and how they’re driving healthy living in their current roles.
Prevention In Healthcare
Delvin was attracted to a career with HPB as it focused on the prevention of diseases. He likened it to a funnel, an example he first heard during his scholarship interview. “Think of the healthcare sector as a funnel. HPB’s work is at the top of the funnel, and the more people we keep out of this funnel, the less need there is to intervene at later stages of healthcare.”
With this in mind, it made sense for Delvin to take up a scholarship with HPB, and he hasn’t looked back since. Besides providing academic support, the scholarship has exposed him to different job rotations. “This allowed me to be exposed to a wider breath of work which facilitates a wider scope of learning about working in the public healthcare sector,” he shares.
Farah Aslinda Binte Abdul Razak
HPB Local Bursary Award
Manager (Regional Health System and Community Engagement)
Bachelors of Science (Life Sciences) – National University of Singapore
Encouraging Healthy Living
In Farah’s case, her main motivations are to make healthy living accessible and to better serve the community. A career with HPB aligned with these motivations. “A career in HPB has allowed me to be the bridge to the community by providing opportunities for people to engage in positive health behaviours,” she says.
Since starting work at HPB, Farah has had the opportunity to hone skills that were not taught in the classroom. Along with hands-on opportunities and interacting with colleagues who are generous with their guidance, HPB has provided her with the skills to meet the challenges of her role with grace.
Being a Manager at Regional Health and Community Engagement Division, Farah has had many opportunities to work with internal and external stakeholders to introduce health promotion programmes to different communities. Sharing an example, she tells us, “I have worked with Health Ambassadors, tapping on their network of senior activity centres to promote senior-centric programmes. This allows seniors to benefit from the programme and deepen our engagement with partners as we work to promote the seniors’ health.”
HPB Local Merit Undergraduate Scholarship
Manager (Healthy Food and Dining Division)
Bachelors of Social Science (Economics)
– National University of Singapore
Similarly, Delvin is able to encourage healthier living through his work in the Healthy Food and Dining Division. Currently, his team is working on generating consumer demand for healthier food in Singapore through the Eat, Drink, Shop Healthy challenge. Describing his role in driving healthy living, he says, “My work aims to encourage individuals to look for healthier option decals when shopping for groceries and eating out. As Singaporeans become more aware of healthier eating options, they will be more encouraged to start looking out for their own health in other ways such as exercising regularly.”
Both managers feel that HPB’s working culture is a supportive one that has encouraged them to try out and implement new ideas. Describing the management’s attitude of innovation, Delvin tells us, “Our senior management encourages the staff to try out their ideas, rather than spending an inordinate amount of time debating the potential outcomes. This is a great way to validate ideas.” Farah agrees, adding, “Working in HPB has exposed me to innovative approaches in the developing and implementation of health promotion programmes. I am also able to seek guidance from experienced colleagues without any hesitation.”
Towards A Healthier Singapore
When it comes to promoting healthy living, challenges are inevitable as there are different ways to motivate individuals to exercise and eat healthier food. This is why Farah advises aspiring scholars to be willing to constantly learn, adapt, and improve to meet the needs of the community and the HPB vision. She says, “You should be passionate about serving the community and empowering people to take ownership of their health.”
Delvin caps it off, “Expect a fast-paced dynamic working environment that challenges you to step out of your comfort zone and lead teams on short notice.” He adds, “Be prepared to work with different colleagues across different functions in the organisation and be ready to learn many things during your career.”