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Ruth Wong Award 2021: Dr Tan Seok Hui

This is the second of a three-part series featuring the 2020/2021 Ruth Wong & Gopal Haridas Award winners of the SCS Awards.


Dedicated to the cause: Dr Tan (right), who received the Gold Service Award during the Singapore Children’s Society Awards 2019, poses with Dr Cheung Hoi Shan (left), member of the Research Committee, and Chief Service Officer, Ms Sue Cheng (centre)


The work of the Research and Advocacy Department at Singapore Children’s Society has always been a cause that Dr Tan Seok Hui was drawn to. This is especially because she knows that current, relevant and local research is key to advocating for children’s well-being and lending families and children professional support.

In 2007, the late Prof John Elliott invited Dr Tan to volunteer as a research advisor for a study on infant temperament – and she has not looked back since. She has gone on to undertake several leadership roles in the Society including Chairman of the Research Committee, Vice Chairman of the Research and Advocacy Standing Committee, and as a nominated member of the Board. 

For her contributions, she received the Ruth Wong Award this year, acknowledging her exceptional leadership and years of dedicated voluntary service. 

“It's a privilege to further the cause of the Society in advocating for children's well-being and safety,” says Dr Tan of her volunteering journey.

As the current Chairman of the Research Committee, Dr Tan sets the agenda and charts the direction of the Society’s Research Unit. She plays an active role in many of its studies, reviewing proposals and ensuring they maintain the highest ethical standards, especially since some of these research participants include children. She also serves as Research Advisor for our ongoing Academic Stress and Well-Being study, which she helped conceptualise.

Dr Tan pushes for the department’s research findings to be published in academic journals and presented at international conferences. She plays a key role in developing the capabilities of our Research Officers and in contributing to research literature through meaningful studies. In addition, she leads the review process for research grants to undergraduate, Masters and PhD students. 

The past 14 years have been both enriching and illuminating, says Dr Tan.

“I have made friends that I hold close, including Prof Elliott, who had a great sense of humour. I have also learnt a lot about myself along the way, both as a professional in child development, and as a manager.” 

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