Health Promotion Board
Feature | HPB

Agents For Change

At the Health Promotion Board (HPB), there are plenty of opportunities to contribute towards national health whilst carving out a dynamic and fulfilling career that you will enjoy.

With the goal of promoting healthier living through a wide range of programmes, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) drives the national effort towards a vision of a nation of healthy people. To achieve this, the team at HPB comes up with various initiatives that encourage healthier choices in daily living. Implementing these initiatives take resilience and an adaptability to react to the dynamism of the job, qualities which HPB managers Yeo Kai Lin, 26, and Yee Jinxiong Isaac, 29, possess.

What motivated you to pursue the HPB Scholarship?

Isaac: I love sports and was in the basketball team back in school. During one of my regular practices, my right lung collapsed – it took a month to recover, but it happened two more times over the next six months. Thankfully, an operation to remove some scarred tissue in my lungs helped. This incident helped me to appreciate the importance of good health. I was looking for scholarships in university when the HPB scholarship caught my attention. I started reading up more about HPB and got more interested in the topic of health promotion.

Yeo Kai Lin

Yeo Kai Lin 
HPB Mid-Term Undergraduate Scholarship
Manager, Workplace Health and Outreach
Bachelor of Business Administration
– National University of Singapore
Bachelor of Arts (Economics)
– National University of Singapore

Kai Lin: My introduction to public health was in my second year of studies at NUS. I took a module that focused on how public health theories could be applied in the community. This made me realise that public health was a dynamic and interesting field with the potential to make a big difference in people’s lives.

I was also very inspired by my university professor who strongly believed in giving back to the community and empowering others to help themselves. Combining this with my interest in public health, the HPB scholarship was a natural choice for me.

Tell us more about your current roles and responsibilities.

Isaac: I am currently in the Strategic Planning and Collaborations department where I manage International Collaborations. I work to establish Singapore as a thought leader in health promotion globally, as well as facilitate the learning of best practices from around the world. This is done through the planning and implementation of strategic engagements (e.g. forums and conferences, meetings, workshops, visits, and webinars) with the World Health Organisation (WHO), key international networks, and other governments.

“I enjoy being able to work with colleagues who are innovative and open to new ideas to improve workplace health promotion” Kai Lin

Kai Lin: I am currently in the Workplace Health and Outreach Division, where I am involved in conceptualising, implementing, and refining workplace health programmes and strategies to increase adoption of Workplace Health Promotion by employers from seven key sectors with a higher proportion of mature workers. The aim is to enable older workers to take better care of their health and to promote lifelong employability, so that they can continue working for as long as they wish to.

How has your scholarship helped you excel at your current role?

Isaac: Since the start of my career, HPB’s talent development programme has given me the opportunity to take on assignments that pushed me beyond my comfort zone, such as performing secretariat roles for key meetings, presentations to important visitors, and staffing of senior management at conferences both local and overseas. This has given me the confidence and a good grasp of HPB’s strategic overview to represent the Board internationally, and lead in discussions with colleagues from other departments internally.

Kai Lin: As a HPB scholar, I have been given opportunities to lead my own projects and work in cross-matrix teams with other departments and divisions. These projects have challenged me to learn fast and step out of my comfort zone, such as by organising a media event and ministerial visits to feature our workplace health programmes. This has given me the confidence to take on tougher projects and also engage senior management from other companies.

Isaac Yee Jinxiong

Isaac Yee Jinxiong 
HPB Mid-Term Undergraduate Scholarship
Manager, Strategic Planning and Collaborations
Bachelors in Social Science, Honours (Psychology)
– National University of Singapore

What do you enjoy about working at HPB?

Isaac: There is an intrinsic joy in knowing that slowly but surely, I am improving the lives of my loved ones and friends. HPB has moved beyond short-term health educational campaigns to creating lasting positive changes to our environment. Through the rapid scaling up of health programmes, we are also gradually creating a movement towards healthy living.

“There is an intrinsic joy in knowing that slowly but surely, I am improving the lives of my loved ones and friends.” Isaac

Kai Lin: The work at HPB is very dynamic, and I enjoy being able to work with colleagues who are innovative and open to new ideas to improve workplace health promotion and better impact the lives of Singaporeans. I feel that this is especially meaningful, as working adults spend most of their waking hours in the workplace and it is a very important platform for promoting healthy living.

Do you have any advice for scholars hoping to pursue a career with HPB?

Isaac: Health promotion is an uphill battle due to the complexity of trying to change human and social behaviour, but it has the potential to save more lives than doctors can. Be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead and anticipate the vast influence that you can have in the lives of others.

Kai Lin: Health promotion is very challenging as it involves changing people’s mindsets and habits. It can also be a thankless job – even the best programme cannot please everyone and there will always be citizens who are unhappy with your initiatives. At the same time, it is also difficult to measure the impact of your efforts as key indicators like population disease rates take a long time to change and are influenced by many factors. It is hence important to have resilience and grit and believe firmly in the kind of difference you want to make in the lives of others.