Professor Paul Anantharajah Tambyah was elected President-Elect of the International Society of Infectious Diseases (ISID)’s Executive Committee sometime this year and is on track to become ISID’s President in 2022.
Prof Tambyah is an accomplished medical professional in Singapore and has been practicing medicine in Singapore since 1999. An infectious diseases expert, Prof Tambyah is a Professor of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Senior Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician at the National University Hospital (NUH).
Prof Tambyah is also the Research Director in the Division of Infectious Diseases of the National University Health System and the Secretary-General of the Asia Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection. He has served as the Assistant Dean of the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and is the immediate past president of the Singapore Society of Infectious Diseases.
As part of his new role as the President-Elect of ISID’s executive committee, Prof Tambyah is expected to support the current ISID President, and assume the role of the president if necessary. The ISID said that Prof Tambyah will become President of the ISID in two years’ time and is currently learning the means of operations for the society in his role as President-Elect.
ISID’s past president, Marc Mendelson, said: “Paul is well-known to all in the field of infectious diseases, and brings a wealth of experience from his time with multiple international societies and august bodies, as well as formidable experience across the spectrum of infection, including outbreaks, tropical medicine, and clinical applied research. He is a go-to speaker on so many topics and currently serves as Chair of the ISID Publications Committee, playing a vital role in the success of our journal IJID.”
Prof Tambyah recently drew praise for the way he explained the nature of the COVID-19 virus and how Singaporeans should protect themselves from the risk of transmission, in several interviews and commentaries he gave since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Locals responding to his advice praised his clear explanations, frank advice, and calm and reassuring demeanor.
Aside from his work in the field of medicine, Prof Tambyah is well known in local politics. The respected doctor entered opposition politics due to dissatisfaction with healthcare funding, Singapore’s education system and the quality of human rights protection for Singapore workers and the underprivileged.
After a stint in civil society during which he helped found human rights NGO Maruah, Dr Tambyah felt he would be better able to effect change through politics and joined the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). In 2017, he was elected SDP chairman.
On his appointment as chairman, Dr Tambyah had said: “The SDP has never shied away from holding the government accountable to the people and I am happy to be a part of the SDP’s efforts for the good of Singaporeans.”
He also urged Singaporeans to be more active on political matters: “I hope that more academics, professionals, and young people in particular will step up to be involved in civil society and politics in Singapore.”
Last year, SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan said that Prof Tambyah could have become a minister had he joined the ruling party but the doctor did not do so because he believes in the values of the SDP.
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