In the Year of Celebrating SG Women, we present stories which showcase and celebrate women’s multi-faceted contributions and progress at SNEC and SERI.
Join us to honour and acknowledge our team of amazing women who have made impact in the field of Ophthalmology, inspiring those around them with their brand of ethos in life.
Clin Assoc Prof Ho Ching LinSenior Consultant, Glaucoma Department, SNECDirector, Strategic Development and Philanthropy, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Academic Clinical Programme (EYE ACP)
In your multiple roles as Clinician and Adminstrator, which do you prefer and why?I am a clinician first, and that’s the role I enjoy most. It’s an immense privilege to be able to have a direct impact on improving the lives of patients through my work. My administrative and research duties are essential roles to support my clinical work, so that we continuously strive for the most effective treatment and care delivery for our patients.
Did you have a role model who influenced your decision to work as an ophthalmologist?The person who had the most influence on my decision to work as an ophthalmologist was the late Professor Arthur Lim. He was a charismatic visionary, and my esteemed and beloved mentor and teacher. He inspired me to return to residency to train in ophthalmology even after I’d completed my professional training in Paediatrics and scored a Gold Medal in the paediatrics professional exams. I hold two specialist degrees, thanks to him. As a mentor, he was instrumental in making me feel confident and assured that I’m as capable as the men in my professional and leadership capabilities, and that being of the fairer gender doesn’t preclude being a heavyweight in my field. Clearly, there is a need for both men and women leaders like him if we want to see more women leaders in Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and I hope to follow in his footsteps.
What is your hope for the current projects you’re working on in terms of women’s role in science and heading organisations? I hope to see more women having careers in STEM and heading organisations because we are as good as the guys, and we often bring a different perspective and skill set to the game. I am heading Philanthropy and Development in SNEC, after having headed the Glaucoma Department for almost a decade. In both roles, the leadership capabilities I find essential include resilience, the ability to inspire and motivate others, collaboration and building relationships, and championing change. Women are rated better on these capabilities than men, although they tend to rate themselves as less confident than men, especially earlier in their careers. Hence, there is a need for organisations to assure women of their competence and encourage them to take up leadership positions earlier in their careers.
How would you encourage more girls to pursue a career in ophthalmology?I would tell them that it is a fabulous career, as nothing is more gratifying and fulfilling than saving sight and improving lives. I hope to inspire and motivate women doctors — and women in general — to do more for themselves and the betterment of others. To have true gender equality, we first have to reshape how women perceive themselves: they must firmly believe and know that they are just as capable and deserving, if not much more so, than men.
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Women of Vision series.
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