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Two professors given Honorary Citizen Award for their contributions to Singapore

Two professors given Honorary Citizen Award for their contributions to Singapore

Honorary Citizen Award recipients Professor Duane J Gubler (third from left) and Professor K Ranga Rama Krishnan (fourth from left). (Photo: MOH)

SINGAPORE: Two professors have been recognised for their contributions to Singapore and were given the Honorary Citizen Award on Thursday (Jun 9).

President Halimah Yacob conferred the award on Professor K Ranga Rama Krishnan and Professor Duane J Gubler at a ceremony held at the Istana on Thursday.

The Honorary Citizen Award is the highest form of national recognition for a non-Singaporean.

It has been conferred by the Singapore Government since 2003 to "recognise and acknowledge the contributions of foreigners who have rendered extensive and valuable services to Singapore and its people", said the Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) on Thursday.

The title of Honorary Citizen is conferred for life.

Prof Krishnan is the chairman of the National Medical Research Council (NMRC) of MOH. He is also the chief executive officer of the Rush University System for Health in the United States.

He guided NMRC to formulate and implement strategies to promote excellence in health and biomedical sciences, "leading to impactful outcomes for Singapore", MOH and NEA said in a joint press release.

Prof Krishnan also helped strengthen NMRC’s support of translational research in key areas such as ageing and health services research.

He served as Dean of Duke-NUS from 2008 to 2015 and was instrumental in laying the foundations for the school and the broader SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre. He also served as a member of the SingHealth Board from 2013 to 2022.

Prof Krishnan said: "I am humbled and deeply grateful to receive the Honorary Citizen Award and to join a very respected group of recipients.

"Singapore gave me a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of building a new medical school, and a truly outstanding academic health system.

"I am thankful for that opportunity and for the chance to participate in the transformation of Singapore’s health system and biotech sector to be a true global leader."

Prof Gubler is an Emeritus Professor and founding director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School. 

He is also the chair of NEA’s Dengue Expert Advisory Panel, which guides its research team in developing and piloting the Wolbachia technology.

Prof Gubler's advice forms the foundation of Singapore’s dengue control programme today.

Singapore’s partnership with Prof Gubler dates back to the 1970s. Since then, he has "played a pivotal role in shaping Singapore’s public health strategies, serving on numerous expert advisory panels for MOH and NEA", the press release said. 

He advocated fostering strong political will to control infectious diseases and proposed a government-community partnership for dengue control, emphasising public education, removal of stagnant water, and robust surveillance.

Beyond dengue, Prof Gubler led the establishment of the EID programme at Duke-NUS and institutionalised the lessons learned from Singapore’s experience with SARS in 2003 and H1N1 influenza in 2009.

"Thanks to this effort, Singapore’s COVID-19 response has been lauded by many around the world for its high level of readiness and efficiency," said MOH and NEA.

Prof Gubler said: "Words cannot convey how humbled I am to receive Honorary Citizenship from a great country like Singapore. I am deeply, greatly honoured to receive this award.

"I have watched Singapore evolve into a global public health and economic leader, becoming a model for other countries to emulate.

"I am proud to have been a part of this evolution, but any contribution I may have made must be attributed to the many Singaporean colleagues and friends whom I have worked with over the years.

"I humbly thank them for making this award possible and will do my best to live up to the honour conferred on me today.”

Source: CNA/fh(mi)

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