Dr Celia Tan (MPhysio '92 DipPaedPhysio '92)
Group Director of Allied Health at Singapore Health Services and the Director of the Postgraduate Allied Health Program at the Singapore General Hospital
An experienced physiotherapist and administrator, Dr Celia Tan is the Group Director of Allied Health at Singapore Health Services and the Director of the Postgraduate Allied Health Program at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
Having graduated from the University of Sydney in 1992 with a Masters in Physiotherapy and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Sciences (Paediatrics), Dr Tan now splits her time between directorial and research roles, training a broad group of health professionals at the SGH whilst driving the development of new clinical services and rehabilitation assistive devices.
“Learning to juggle between the two courses taught me the discipline of priority,” says Dr Tan. “The research grounding was key to building the foundation of a critical and analytical mindset … and in building the tenacity to persevere and work things out to the end, no matter how long it took.”
Highly valued for her innovative and practical approach to the field of physiotherapy, Dr Tan consults to a number of organisations, including the Singapore Ministry of Health, and has driven the improvement of workplace health promotion programs and chronic pain management, plus healthy lifestyle programs for patients. She currently holds five patents and awards acknowledging her ground-breaking work in rehabilitation strategies, and is working towards the development of collaborative academic programs involving local and international hospital and academic institutions.
Though she has achieved great successes in her career, Dr Tan says the highlight so far has been her volunteer work to improve training programs for doctors, nurses and physiotherapists in developing countries around Asia. Having worked with a number of universities and organisations around the world, including the World Confederation of Physical Therapy, she says that Australia needs to respond to the change that is sweeping quickly across the Asia Pacific region, as old ideologies are challenged by the new values and aspirations of its younger populace.
“Australia’s strategic engagement with its fast-growing Asian neighbours is therefore critical. Australia needs to invest more in [its] knowledge and capabilities in research and education in order to be a leader in Asia, as well as to grow its collaboration within the region [and] to be responsive in meeting its evolving needs.”