PA(S) Elections 2017-2019: For President (Marabelle Heng)

Candidate 1

Marabelle Heng
Name: Marabelle Heng

Nominator: Jasper Tong; Seconder: Chelsea Law

Length of Practice in Singapore: 8 years 3 months
Membership with PA(S): 2009 to 2017
Past PA(S) committees: Public Relations Officer 2009,
Secretary 2010, Vice-President 2011 – 2015, President 2015 – 2017

This year, PA(S) celebrates 20 years. What would Podiatry in Singapore look like in the next 3 and 5 years? What would we look like in 20 years at our 40th anniversary? I break the years into smaller visions for 3 and 5 years because I believe that great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together (Vincent Van Gogh, 1882).

Vision & goals
My vision for the profession is “gearing towards a sustainable and respectable future for podiatry in Singapore” – a group that is dependable, reliable and well connected in healthcare and health education community; a profession skilled to deliver best ethical care trusted by patients; a fraternity spurring each other to greater excellence.
From the PA(S) perspective, this can be attained through several means – these are my goals and intention if I were elected for the coming 2 year term.
1. Inspire and instill solidarity in our professional goals and aspirations, especially in delivery of professional, ethical and excellent care
2. Source and provide quality continuing education opportunities, so that we can better ourselves, serve our patients and work with doctors and health care team with greater competency and confidence – eg. local anaesthesia refresher course
3. Maintain and expand strategic partnerships for education & learning opportunities – eg. e2i Employment and Employability Institute, Postgraduate Allied Health Institute, Australasian Podiatry Council, Singapore Orthopedic Association
4. Maintain and expand strategic partnerships for outreach, publicity and community services for podiatry profession –eg. Diabetes Society Singapore, NUS Medical Society, NTU mass communication
5. Cooperate and work with Ministry of Health and readiness committee for registration preparation work
Within our association, I intend to review and relook the membership fee income to put this to better use – to have more tangible returns back to you. If I were elected, I will work with my committee to achieve this for everyone. We will also be seeking your advice on what matters to you and how we can achieve those.

A little about me as a podiatrist
I stumbled upon podiatry as a ballerina who suffered traumatic broken toe nails from dancing on pointe. I found podiatry to have very interesting hands-on component. After completion of my studies, I started work in SGH in 2008. I then furthered my studies in biomechanical research and completed my Masters degree in 2015. My other professional interests include research around joint hypermobility assessment and quantification and have published papers in this area. I have recently been invited to represent podiatrists in the Singapore Orthopedic Association 40th Conference Committee. The conference theme is Foot & Ankle Advancement and I will be planning and leading the podiatry symposium segment within the conference. I am glad for this opportunity and I feel that this could be one of the stepping stones in our aspirations for greater recognition in Singapore. I hope for closer relationship built on confidence and trust between the Orthopedic Foot & Ankle and Podiatry fraternities in Singapore.

2015 – 2017 term
In my term as president 2015-2017, my team and I have worked hard to smoothen out the work processes within the Association, especially in the areas of membership administration and treasury. I believe that good in-house administration is fundamental for smooth function of the Association. We have also made headway in partnership with NUS Medical Society in their annual Public Health Screening. I deem this partnership as a strategic and important one, to educate not only the public but also to gain headstart to introduce future generations of medical doctors to our area of work.

In the past 2 years, I have emphasized with MOH representatives that representation from all sectors – hospital, polyclinic, private and PA(S) is necessary during registration readiness work for a holistic view of our profession. I have explained to them that the infrastructures that hospital setting enjoy- such as quick trigger for antibiotics, medical support for adverse events in nail avulsion, referral with attached prescription for use of local anaesthesia to name a few – are not so readily available in other sectors. We are now a little closer to these important conversations on how to make things work across the sectors – PA(S) will be called upon for information and perspective and my approach would be to consider the profession as a whole and conduct national polls. I believe we can clear these in stages together and leave no one behind. Things don’t happen overnight – although some steps are small and some roads winding, is important that we take sure and steady steps towards the future. Leaders in various positions steer and direct but all of us run the race and push frontiers together. The baton is now with us so let’s make this a good lap in this long race. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our pioneering podiatrists who worked tirelessly to shape our early years. Without them proving themselves and earning trust and respect of other healthcare professionals, we will not be here today celebrating 20 years.

Serving you again
If I were elected this term, it will take me into the 10th year service in PA(S) and it would be my honour and pleasure to serve you all as president again. I seek your support, not only during this time of elections, but also during the term. Together, we can bring podiatry in Singapore from one level to the next, one step at a time. Of the current committee of 10 members, 7 have expressed willingness to continue in their current posts in the coming term, should they be re-elected or co-opted. This is the highest ‘retention’ in recent years, and I feel this continuity and stability for our profession is timely during this pre-registration period. I hope you have been satisfied with the committee’s service this term and I ask for your support for me and my team members who wish to serve for a second consecutive term. We hope to serve you even better during our second term.
May our esprit de corps take us take us through the seasons, towards a sustainable, respectable and better future for podiatry in Singapore. In all our pursuits, let’s always uphold the four principles of medical ethics – autonomy, justice, beneficence and non-maleficence. In simple terms: respect your patients’ rights, uphold existing laws and fair play, do good to others and do no harm.

“The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more (meaningful) than to love others”
– adapted from quote from Vincent Van Gogh

Committee Comments :
Marabelle attended approximately 79% of PA(S) events in 2015-17.

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