Dr Lai Heng Foong
I learned to be tolerant and caring, but most importantly that we should always aim to do our best and to be true to ourselves.
After completing a BA (Hon) in Philosophy and Chemistry at Dartmouth College and a Masters in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Lai Heng Foong (PC 88-90) studied medicine in Australia before joining Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). She recently returned to Australia to complete a course in Emergency Medicine Training.
Following on from her UWC experience Lai Heng remained actively involved in voluntary work donating her time and skills to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, the Student Health and Welfare Organization in Cape Town, the John Hopkins Health and Human Rights Group, and a soup kitchen/drop-in centre in Adelaide for homeless and Aboriginal people.
Lai Heng founded the Health and Human Rights Group at Flinders University Medical School and has been active in human rights and international development issues. She did her intern and resident year at Alice Springs Hospital where she was involved in Aboriginal health, after which she volunteered for MSF in Angola.
During her time in Angola Lai Heng was based in the rebel stronghold of Kuito where she worked in treating medical complications of patients in two therapeutic feeding centres. She was also ‘doctor on call’ for the main hospital. Lai Heng has now returned to the Northern Territory, in Darwin, to complete part of her Emergency Medicine training, and to continue to make her small contribution towards the betterment of Aboriginal health in Australia.
"I learned to be tolerant and caring, but most importantly that we should always aim to do our best and to be true to ourselves", says Lai Heng. “The more you know, the more there is to know". Lai Heng's philosophy and perspective were shaped by UWC, where she learned that "people are people, no matter what their colour, ethnicity, religion, or political affiliations and that these principles are the foundation for peace, conflict resolution, and true international understanding.”