FASS Awards Ceremony2018: Congratulations!

Congratulations to our Graduate Students and Teaching Assistants who have been awarded the Graduate Students Teaching Award at the FASS Awards Ceremony 2018!

Graduate Students Teaching Award Honour Roll
Ang Yee Hong Dennis


Graduate Students Teaching Award
Li Pengxiang
Ng Shi Jia Jessica Cara
Annisa Ridzkynoor Beta
Augustus Ceasar Destura Latosa
Bernadette Low Yan Fen

Professor Mohan J. Dutta Wins The National Communication Association Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award

The National Communication Association’s Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award is given out to the best health communication researcher, recognizing the lasting contributions made to health communication. The Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award recognizes a significant and original contribution, in the form of a monograph, book, and/or program of research, to the study and application of the field of Health Communication. There are five nomination criteria.  The scholar’s work must have:

  • a significant and long-lasting effect on the field of Health Communication;
  • strong heuristic value;
  • influence over others’ work;
  • originality regarding theory, research, and/or practice; and
  • contributed to the development of Health Communication as a distinct field of study.

The award recognizes Professor Mohan J Dutta’s development of the meta-theoretical framework of the culture-centered approach (CCA), for theorizing, empirically examining, and implementing community-driven participatory health communication interventions for addressing health disparities. The conceptual framework of the CCA explores the ways in which:

  1. social structures constrain and enable the health experiences of individuals, groups and communities,
  2. cultural meanings provide interpretive frames for engaging the social structures within which health meanings are negotiated, and
  3. agency is enacted in the day-to-day communicative practices of individuals, groups and communities that negotiate with the social structures and simultaneously seek to transform them.

The impetus of this research program is on explaining the cultural determinants of health inequalities and the constitutive role of communicative tools of dialogue, participation, and voice in transforming these inequalities. Theoretically, this line of work engage with cultural voices in building health interventions that seek to transform unhealthy social structures, and identify positive cultural resources that promote health and well-being. In attending the role of communication as voice, the CCA changes the paradigm of how health communication interventions are conceptualized, implemented, and evaluated. Specifically, the CCA has been utilized to understand the:

  • roles of health information as resources for individuals, groups and communities,
  • relationship between community and health as an entry point for community participation,
  • roles of local, national and global health policies in creating health experiences at the margins of social systems, and
  • agency of the underserved segments of the population in addressing unhealthy social structures.

The key concepts outlined of the CCA are mapped out in the book, Communicating health: A culture-centered approach published by Polity Press in 2007, along with over 82 publications in the 2012-2017 period in the form of book chapters and journal articles, including articles in top tier journals such as Communication Theory, Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Journal of Communication, and Qualitative Health Research.  The CCA has served as the basis for health communication intervention research carried out at the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) at the National University of Singapore.

At NUS, CARE has run over thirty culture-centered interventions, producing policy briefs, white papers, media advocacy campaigns, documentary films, photo exhibitions, and 360 degree media interventions, reaching over 3 million audiences spread across 7 countries (including India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Singapore and the United States), and generating a variety of outcomes from design maps for community hospital infrastructures, community forestry projects, irrigation projects, cultural resource centers, solutions to food insecurity, community food gardens, indigenous-owned seed banks, health promotion interventions. In recognition of this work, he currently serves on the World Health Organization (WHO), Europe’s Expert Advisory Council (EAC) on the “Cultural Contexts of Health and Wellbeing” group, and has served as an expert for UNICEF, UNESCO, US National Library of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences. Some recent projects that have been completed engage:

  1. African American communities in inner city Indiana to develop culturally-based grassroots health advocacy and health activism resources directed at improving heart health;
  2. Communities of women who have had a heart attack or stroke in Singapore to develop a culturally-based heart health intervention;
  3. Malay community members who experience risks of heart disease to develop a culture-centered health promotion intervention; and
  4. Community members in the Queenstown area to develop a community-driven, culturally situated health services design plan to guide the Alexandra Hospital planning team.

Similar culture-centered projects carried out with sex workers and transgender populations in India have developed community-based health resources, communication advocacy interventions, and peer leader toolkits. In recognition of the impact of the CCA, the WHO-Europe report on “Cultural Contexts of Health” adopts the CCA as a framework for communicating health. The CCA has been adopted as a framework in over 55 doctoral dissertations. Other teams of scholars have utilized the CCA for intervention development in Israel, United States, Nepal, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Ghana, China, Hong Kong, and Nigeria. Finally, the entry of the CCA in Encyclopedia and Handbook Chapters on health communication attest to the lasting impact that the framework has made on the field.

Raka Shome Receives Prestigious Charles Woolbert Award

We’re really proud to announce that CNM’s Dr Raka Shome has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the National Communication Association’s (NCA) prestigious Charles Woolbert Award for her work in postcolonial studies and its impact on the field. Of particular note is the essay, Postcolonial Approaches to Communication: Charting the Terrain, Engaging the Intersections, which Raka co-authored with Radha Hegde.

The NCA states:

…the award recognizes a journal article or book chapter whose influence has grown with time, has become a stimulus for new conceptualizations of communication phenomena, and is reflective of the diversity of the discipline and its scholarly pursuits. Thus, the award will be reserved for an article or book chapter that at the time of the award is in its 10th through 15th year in print (i.e., published in 2002–2007 for consideration in 2017) and has not previously received an NCA-sponsored award (though previous winners of interest group-level awards are eligible). The recipient will be recognized at the awards ceremony during the NCA Annual Convention and will receive a plaque supported by Life Member Fund. A panel about the recipient’s scholarship will also take place at the NCA Annual Convention in the following year.


Dr Raka Shome joins an honour roll of other distinguished award winners like Linda Putnam, Rod Hart, Dennis Mumby, Carole Blair and Ed Schiappa.


Hearty congratulations to Prof Elmie Nekmat & Mr Gui Kai Chong for winning the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award (FTEA) for their work in AY2015-16. The FTEA is given in recognition of the high level of teaching commitment demonstrated by faculty members and are based on peer reviews, student feedback and exposition of their teaching philosophy.

Asst Prof Elmie Nekmat has been with CNM since 2014 and teaches strategic communication, social psychology of new media, theories in communications and new media, research methods in communications and new media and principles of communication management.


Asst Prof Elmie Nekmat

Speaking about his approach to teaching, he shares, “Teaching, to me, is an inexact science. I can never expect to ‘perfect’ my teaching. It is through constant reflection and experimentation that I learn how to refine my teaching and I have therefore realized that effective teaching is about constant improvement, innovation, and linking classroom knowledge to real-life experiences and impact on society. Ultimately, my quest for continuous improvement is motivated by my desire to ensure that my students make meaningful connections between theory, practice, and serving the community.

My philosophy in teaching is to stoke and nurture the natural desire in students to know and achieve. I believe that any student can learn anything given enough willpower and motivation. Teaching to me is, thus, a precious opportunity to instill this motivation and groom effective and reflective learners. I teach in the hopes that my students see the value in learning, pursue lifelong independent learning, and uses the knowledge to one day impact the societies they live in.”

Mr Gui Kai Chong has been with CNM since it started out as the Information & Communications Management Programme. He teaches Globalization and New Media, Culture Industries and Digital Economies. Apart from being awarded the FTEA, Mr Gui has also been nominated by the faculty for the Annual Teaching Excellence Award (ATEA).


Mr Gui Kai Chong

Mr Gui says, “It has been a wonderful experience teaching at NUS. The warm and supportive environment at the Department of Communications and New Media (CNM) and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) motivates one to teach to the best of one’s ability. The classes are always very lively due to the participation of vibrant, hardworking, intellectually curious and highly engaged students. Such an academic culture makes teaching enjoyable, meaningful, and intrinsically rewarding. Teaching here is a privilege. I am thus honoured and humbled to receive this award from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. I am also thankful to the Faculty for nominating me for the Annual Teaching Excellence Award (ATEA).”