Upon graduation from NUS in 1985, Dr. Tan Lai Yong worked as a medical doctor in Singapore. In 1996, he and his wife, and one year old daughter moved to Yunnan, China, and joined a community development team, working with the poverty affected in remote villages, caring for orphans, disabled children and leprosy affected. In his 15 years on Yunnan, he had to cycle about 30 km daily, create innovative ways to teach health and hygiene to the different Minority Ethnic groups and villages, plan for “surgery camps” for cleft palate babies and other disabled people, and also initiated tree planting (e.g. walnut) efforts that led to thousands of trees being planted to help raise farm income and also reduce soil erosion.
As part of the China National Day celebrations in 2004, Dr. Tan was given the Friendship Award for Foreign Experts at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, an event that was graced by Premier Wen Jia Bao. Dr. Tan was also given the Singapore International Foundation (SIF Award) presented by Mr. Lee Hsien Loong and the 2005 Singapore MILK Fund (Mainly I Love Kids) Award for Outstanding Youth and Children’s Worker by President Nathan. In 2007, the Yunnan Provincial TV Station ran a series on people in Yunnan and the viewers voted Dr. Tan as one of the "Good Citizens of Kunming"（昆明好人）.
Dr. Tan has written several books and his first book, "Biting the Bamboo", about his experiences of work and life in Yunnan, is in its 5th printing. He also wrote the books "Two Ears But Only One Mouth – Reflections on Wisdom in Rural Yunnan" and "Pilgrims" – a photo-journal of life in a Dai Village in Xishuangbanna (a joint publication with photographer Andrew Chew). He is married to Lay Chin and has 2 teenage children.
After earning his PhD in political science at the University of Wisconsin in 2008, Dr. Kevin McGahan served as a post-doctoral fellow at NUS. He is currently a lecturer in the department of political science at NUS, where he conducts research in international relations and comparative politics. He has taught both graduate and undergraduate classes, ranging from international law to global migration to Southeast Asian politics. His main research agenda involves examining state and societal responses to transnational migration in Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia and Thailand. Another broad area of focus centers on the role of states and non-state actors in various issues of global governance, such as transnational migration, human rights, and maritime piracy.
In addition to his research interests, Dr. McGahan has practical experience in working for government agencies, political consultancies, and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), including serving as an international election observer in Timor-Leste.
To relieve stress, he mountain bikes, skis and runs as well as competes in several endurance races for charities.
Professor Mohan J. Dutta is Provost's Chair Professor and Head of the Department of Communications and New Media (CNM) at NUS, Adjunct Professor at the Interactive Digital Media Institute (IDMI) at NUS, and Courtesy Professor of Communication at Purdue University. At NUS, he is the Founding Director of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), directing research on culturally-centered, community-based projects of social change. He teaches and conducts research in international health communication, critical cultural theory, poverty in healthcare, health activism in globalisation politics, indigenous cosmologies of health, subaltern studies and dialogue, and public policy and participatory social change. Currently, he serves as Editor of the "Critical Cultural Studies in Global Health Communication Book Series" with Left Coast Press and sits on the editorial board of seven journals. Before arriving to NUS, he served as Associate Dean of Research in the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University, a Service Learning Fellow, and a fellow of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy. Also at Purdue, he served as the Founding Director of the Center for Poverty and Health Inequities (COPHI), where he continued to hold an Affiliate appointment.
Professor Dutta holds a Bachelor of Technology (Honors) in Agricultural Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, and a PhD in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota. He began his career at Purdue University in 2001, was tenured in 2005, and became Full Professor in 2009. In June, 2010, he was appointed as the Lim Chong Yah Professor of Communication and New Media at NUS, and formally joined NUS as Professor of Communication in July, 2012.
Professor Dutta's research examines marginalisation in contemporary healthcare, health care inequalities, the intersections of poverty and health experiences at the margins, political economy of global health policies, the mobilisation of cultural tropes for the justification of neo-colonial health development projects, the meanings of health in the realms of marginalised experiences in highly underserved communities in the global South, and the ways in which participatory culture-centered processes and strategies are organised in marginalised contexts to bring about changes in neo-colonial structures of global oppression and exploitation. Engaging in dialogues with subaltern communities at the global margins in imagining alternative spaces that resist neoliberal formations forms the crux of Professor Dutta's academic and activist projects.
Based on his work on healthcare among indigenous communities, sex workers, migrant workers, rural communities of farmers, and communities living in extreme poverty, he has developed an approach called the culture-centered approach that outlines culturally-based participatory strategies for addressing unequal healthcare policies and global disparities. Based on academic-activist collaborations, the culture-centered approach uses a combination of postcolonial deconstruction, resistive strategies for performance and dialogue-based reflexive participation to create entry points for listening to the voices of marginalised communities that have historically been stripped of agency in modernisation discourse and constructed as recipients of messages of development targeted by experts located in the global North. At the core of his research agenda is the activist emphasis on provincialising Eurocentric knowledge structures, and de-centering hegemonic knowledge constructions through subaltern participation. He has received over $4 million in funding to work on culture-centered projects of health communication, social change, and health advocacy. Currently, he is working on a $1.5 million grant funded by the Agency for HealthCare Research & Quality (AHRQ) to develop a culturally-centered health communication project on heart disease among African American communities in the Lake and Marion counties of Indiana. This community-grounded project interrogating the unhealthy structures that constrain the health and wellbeing of African American neighborhoods in the US became the basis for multiple organic projects rooted in the aspirations in the community for health and wellbeing. At NUS, he has received $1.9 million in funding from the Office of the Provost to run culture-centered projects of health in South Asia. In addition, he has received funding from the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Singapore for projects on mapping health information needs, health of transgender sexworkers, and health needs of women with cardiovascular disease.
Professor Dutta has published over 170 journal articles and book chapters, and was recently noted as the most published scholar in Health Communication. He has authored the book "Communicating health: A culture-centered approach" published by Polity Press, co-edited "Emerging perspectives in health communication: Meaning, culture, and power" (with Heather Zoller) published by Taylor and Francis, and "Communicating for social impact: Engaging communication theory, research, and pedagogy" (with Lynn Harter & Courtney Cole) published by Hampton Press. He has recently written the book "Communicating social change: Structure, culture, agency" published by Taylor and Francis, and the edited book "Communicating healthcare disparities" (with Gary Kreps) published by Peter Lang Press. In August 2012, Purdue University has published his book "Voices of Resistance". His recent book "Neoliberal health organising" published by Left Coast Press explores the ways in which meanings of health circulating within dominant political, economic, and social structures of global organising threaten human health and wellbeing. For his scholarly productivity and contributions to health communication, Dr. Dutta was recognised as the Lewis Donohew Outstanding Scholar in Health Communication in 2006. At Purdue University, he was recognised as a University Faculty Scholar for his research productivity. Currently, he is working on the book "Imagining India in Discourse: Meaning, Power, Structure" to be published by Springer. In this book, Professor Dutta traces the particular aspirations of Indian politics, economy, and society registered in elite discourses that imagine India.