On 31 August 2018, the Department of Social Work held the inaugural Ann Wee NUS Social Work Award Ceremony. The Award is named after Mrs Ann Wee, a pioneer social work educator and the longest-serving Head of the Department, was present at the ceremony. The Award serves to recognise NUS Social Work alumnus who have made major contributions to social work education and practice. The three alumna who received the award were Ms Goh Song Eng, a senior medical social worker at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH); Ms Lilian Mark Fong Eng, Head of Medical Social Work Department at IMH; and Ms Lim Wan-Li Melissa, Social Work Clinical Director and Principal Social Worker at Shine Children and Youth Services.
Ms Goh was with the Students Care Service for close to 30 years. She was responsible for the agency’s maiden publication ‘Systemic practice in social work’ in 2001. She also established the REACH Counselling Centre during her headship at the REACH Community Services Society. In her current position in IMH, she provides clinical work to patients and their families and conducts supervision and systemic training to younger social workers. Her adaptability, continuous learning stance and willingness to mentor younger social workers leaves behind an inspiring legacy.
Ms Mark has been a social work practitioner since 1986, primarily in the healthcare field. She also spent a few years at the then Ministry of Community Development where she was involved in the funding and service development of policies relating to elder care in the community. She has made pivotal impact to the field at different levels and is instrumental in expanding services for mental health patients through networking with the Ministry of Health, Agency for Integrated Care and many Intermediate and Long Term Care Services. She has demonstrated extraordinary ability in fostering inter-sectorial synergy to reduce service gaps and enhance services for patients. For instance, most recently, she initiated the close partnership between MSF Child Protection Service and IMH in management of patients who are parents and their children.
Ms Lim’s social work career started from the Students Care Service. She went on to lead the School Social Work at Assumption Pathway School prior to joining her current organization, Shine Children and Youth Services. She has conducted workshops for students, teachers, parents and fellow practitioners and contributed professional opinions in the media. She is an inspiring supervisor who never fails to go that extra mile to extend her care and concern. Her enduring presence has also created a nurturing environment that allow colleagues to develop openness and keenness to learn and grow professionally.
Professor Jill Manthorpe, S R Nathan Professor in Social Work, gave a speech at the event titled ”Social Work Education: History and Role of Alumni”. In her speech, she explored the social work journey of the late former President SR Nathan, who served his fieldwork placement first with the Red Cross in Malacca and second in rural Kedah, the heart of rice farming. According to Prof Manthorpe, “such experiences are at the heart of social work training – placing students in positions so that they are ready to be newly qualified social workers and not just new graduates.”
The Department also took the opportunity that day to celebrate the graduation of the cohort who completed the Graduate Diploma in Social Work. Associate Professor Loy Hui Chieh, FASS Vice Dean of External Relations and Student Life presented the certificates to the GDSW graduates. The event ended with a short sharing of their social work education journeys by Ms Amanda Lim, senior youth guidance officer at Ministry of Social and Family Development, and Ms Ranitha Govindasamy, a medical social worker at National Cancer Centre Singapore.