The Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine) broke new ground on 30 August 2023 by launching the George and Jennifer Yeo Professorship in Paediatric Oncology.
Named in honour of influential Singaporean couple George and Jennifer Yeo, this professorship aims to dramatically improve the treatment outcomes for children with cancer, not just in Singapore but across Asia. The launch event was held at The Fullerton yesterday evening.
The Inspirational Yeos
George and Jennifer Yeo are a power couple in their own right. They have been monumental in their contributions to Singapore and the global community. George Yeo’s decades-long service in the Singaporean government laid the cornerstone for Singapore’s international trade success. As Minister for Information and the Arts, Health, Trade & Industry, and Foreign Affairs, he led Singapore’s proactive pursuit of bilateral free-trade agreements (FTA), laying the building blocks for a globally proliferating liberal trading system.
At the same time, her family’s battle with childhood cancer inspired Jennifer Yeo. She has been a driving force in paediatric oncology research.
A Timely Mission
The new professorship comes at a critical time. While eight in every 10 Singaporean children with cancer are cured, the numbers are bleak in the broader Asian context. “50% of the world’s burden of childhood cancer resides in Asia, and only 20% are cured.” This is according to Professor Chong Yap Seng, Dean of NUS Medicine.
Bridging Gaps, Building Partnerships
Firstly, George Yeo said, “I hope this professorship will help NUS build up its capability in paediatric oncology and help the VIVA Foundation do more for children with cancer in Singapore and ASEAN.”
Subsequently, Jennifer Yeo added, “As the mother of a childhood cancer survivor, I hope this professorship will lead to new cures and breakthrough therapies for childhood cancer.”
Training the Next Generation
The professorship doesn’t stop at current medical practices. One of its key missions is to train the next generation of leaders in paediatric oncology. This will involve collaborations with a variety of disciplines to holistically address the unique challenges presented by childhood cancer.
A Beacon for Global Academic Talent
In addition to boosting research, the professorship aims to attract global academic talent to Singapore. By doing so, NUS Medicine hopes to play a pivotal role in advancing medical research and healthcare practices. This applies not just in Singapore but around the globe.
A Long-lasting Legacy
The George and Jennifer Yeo Professorship is a testimony to the couple’s enduring spirit. By turning imagination into reality, they have instilled hope for a better future for children fighting cancer in Asia and beyond.
More Than Just a Medical Breakthrough
Beyond the medical aspects, the professorship is a manifestation of the collective efforts of George and Jennifer Yeo in making significant strides for the common good. This spans George Yeo’s hand in pioneering free-trade agreements to Jennifer Yeo’s relentless pursuit of cancer research. Therefore, the professorship symbolises a united front against two of the world’s most challenging issues: trade and health.
As NUS Medicine continues its quest for groundbreaking healthcare solutions, the George and Jennifer Yeo Professorship marks a significant milestone. It also is a monumental step towards improving the odds for children fighting cancer in Asia.
By catalysing medical advancements and inspiring social change, the George and Jennifer Yeo Professorship truly has the potential to reshape the landscape of paediatric oncology in Asia.