Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Synopses and speakers

This event has successfully concluded on 29 April 2022. We thank all our partners, speakers and attendees for their strong support.

 Singapore Population Health Symposium 2022


By Professor Lee Chien Earn

Deputy Group CEO (Regional Health System), SingHealth

By Guest-of-Honour Dr Janil Puthucheary Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Health
In old age, life-space mobility, activity, and quality of life are interwoven. Life-space mobility refers to the extent of travel in one’s environment either using muscles or a vehicle.

Life-space mobility underlies a person’s opportunities to access community amenities and participate in meaningful activities outside the home. With increasing age and declining functional capacity, people tend to spend more and more time at home. They may eventually become practically home-bound – a high risk situation for physical inactivity and social isolation.

Turning to physical environment, higher habitat diversity, blue and green areas or recreational facilities close to home correlate with higher physical activity and lower risk of incident mobility limitations. Parallel to the COVID-19 pandemic, higher life-space mobility and active approach to life correlates with better quality of life.

Speaker: Professor Taina Rantanen

Professor of Gerontology and Public Health, Gerontology Research Centre, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Since 2005, Taina Rantanen has been the Professor of Gerontology and Public Health at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She previously worked in the National Institute on Aging (USA) and the World Health Organization (Switzerland). She has led path-breaking studies about life-space mobility, functioning and active ageing. She has served in international and national expert committees and received honors for her contributions to gerontology. Professor Rantanen has published over 350 scientific articles and written and edited textbooks. Having supervised 32 completed PhD-programs and 21 post-doctoral programs, she has significantly contributed to careers of many established and emerging scholars in gerontology.

Life Space is a key measure of Community Mobility in Population Health. Life Spaces encompass destinations to achieve life-goals of self-care, employment, social and recreational needs. Life Space restrictions predict future disability; frailty, falls, dementia. depression, loneliness, poorer recovery after illness and diminished Quality of Life. We describe the frameworks including the WHO-ICF and Intrinsic Capacity that may underpin the Life-Space Construct and report preliminary research data.

We present the Elderly Life Activity Space Envelopes (EASE) project, the largest Life Space project in Singapore thus far. This mixed methods study will involve 900 community seniors where Health, Social and Environmental determinants will be comprehensively assessed, followed by a two-week smartphone GIS tracking and travel diary.

We also discuss emerging controversies in Life-Space Sciences and point to future research. We close by summarising potential interventions in Life Space and emphasise the need for interdisciplinary collaboration between academics, clinicians, government agencies, and the community.

Speaker: Associate Professor Ng Yee Sien

Senior Consultant, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Singapore General Hospital & Sengkang General Hospital

Dr Ng is Senior Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine at Singapore General Hospital and Sengkang General Hospital. He is also Clinical Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Professional Development at Duke-NUS Medical School. He is appointed Consultant in Rehabilitation at the Health Services Division and the Aging Planning Office at the Ministry of Health. His areas of research include Population Health, disability epidemiology, neurorehabilitation, care systems, and technology in rehabilitation. He has received national level grant funding from NRF and NMRC. Dr Ng is also a Board Member at SPD and is Chairman, Rehabilitation Task Force at the Singapore Cancer Society. He advocates for improving the quality of life of the disabled in society through Rehabilitation and Education.

Singapore is rapidly ageing and this has implications for the way we plan and design our built environment. This presentation showcases innovative approaches through which planners, researchers, architects as well as the community can work together to make our living environment more age-friendly, and inclusive.

Speaker: Mr Wong Kai Wen

Senior Planner, Strategic Research, Strategic Planning Group, Urban Redevelopment Authority

Kai Wen is a Senior Planner with the Urban Redevelopment Authority. He has been involved in strategic land use planning and public consultation, including the Long-Term Plan Review. He currently leads research into the spatial planning dimensions of societal issues and trends at the Strategic Research department. Kai Wen graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Geography, and received a Master in Public Administration from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.


Prof Lee Chien Earn, Deputy Group CEO (RHS), SingHealth

Prof Pang Weng Sun, Senior Advisor, Geriatric Education & Research Institute

Prof Julian Thumboo, Director, Centre for Population Health Research and Implementation, SingHealth

Prof Taina Rantanen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

A/Prof Ng Yee Sien, Senior Consultant, Rehabilitation Medicine, Singapore General Hospital & Sengkang General Hospital

Mr Wong Kai Wen, Senior Planner, Urban Redevelopment Authority


Singapore’s healthcare system is considered one of the best in the world. However, when it comes to predicting premature deaths, healthcare plays a relatively minor role, as compared to lifestyle behavioural patterns and social-environmental determinants of health. Interventions for social environmental determinants of health could encourage healthy behaviour and improve health. Partnering relevant stakeholders beyond healthcare can positively impact and sustain the physical and mental health of our population.

Speaker: Mr Danny Quek

Senior Assistant Director, Integrated Health Promotion, MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation

Danny leads the creation of Healthy Precincts within the Integrated Health Promotion team in MOHT, focusing on enabling precinct leaders to create an environment and culture, so as to achieve and sustain a healthy lifestyle. Danny believes that if we were to achieve a sustainable change in healthy behaviour, we would need to partner various stakeholders beyond the healthcare sector. Prior to joining MOHT, Danny held management positions in the community, economic and digital sectors. His specialisation includes engagement, communication, corporate and policy.

Social networks are a determinant of older persons' life space and contribute to successful aging, but is often limited by declining health and social withdrawal. Little is known about how older persons' social network composition changes as they age, and what brings about these changes.

Using longitudinal data on 1,305 older adults, we will present five types of social networks among older Singaporeans and factors associated with transitions over time. Older persons' narratives across some of our qualitative studies will also be shared to highlight some of these challenges. 


Dr Pildoo Sung

Research Fellow, Centre for Ageing Research & Education, Duke-NUS

As a quantitative sociologist, Dr Pildoo Sung explores if and how social relationships influence health and well-being. At the macro level, he investigates international commonalities and variations in the association between social relationships and health/well-being, analysing multinational survey data such as the World Values Survey and the International Social Survey Program. At the micro level, he examines the complexities and dynamics of social relationships and their implications for health/well-being, using various panel data sets that include the Transitions in Health, Employment, Social engagement and Inter-Generational transfers in Singapore Study and the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging.

Dr Ad Maulod

Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Ageing Research & Education, Duke-NUS

Dr Maulod is a cultural anthropologist and strong proponent of using culture-centred approaches to understand and evaluate older persons' needs and experiences around health care and community services. Ad's current research focuses on care integration in the community, caregiving needs, social inclusion and meaningful engagement of older persons. Ad believes in the empowerment of our elders by amplifying their stories and advocating for an inclusive, compassionate and just society for all-ages. 

As modern medicine has significantly improved health, enabling longer lives, focus has shifted to quality of life, the factors of which rest on the long-term actions of individuals. Primary contributors of one's quality of life are frequent day-to-day activity and socialisation, which are effected by one's environment.

Whilst not subject to the rigour of medical testing, urban planning is embracing the scientific process, most notably starting with the advent of modernism. A revolutionising contributor in this field being William Whyte who demonstrated through observation that urban behaviour can be understood, predicted, and manipulated with sensitive design.  

Our work presented here seeks to extend this approach in two ways: Firstly, using AI to enable easier and deeper insight into how spaces are experienced and used. And then using this insight and analytics to explore how we can test and validate urban interventions that aim to improve health orientated citizen outcomes.

Speaker: Assistant Professor Sam Conrad Joyce

Assistant Professor, Architecture and Sustainable Design, Singapore University of Technology and Design

Dr Sam Conrad Joyce is assistant professor at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), and founder of the Meta Design Lab. He has been working in Singapore for 6 years working on the field of 'Augmented Intelligence' where AI analytics and human intuition are combined to enable the next level of data informed building design and planning. His research collaborates with many institutions and the government including CNRS, URA, GovTec and Tampines Town Council, and Changi General Hospital. Prior to this he was an associate at internationally acclaimed architects Foster + Partners.

With the increase in life expectancy, Singapore has seen a rapid rise in the number of citizens aged 60 years and above. Our public transport system is essential to connect people and places, to maximise the potential of our senior citizens to age successfully and lead an active and independent lifestyle through their retirement years.

Over the years, the Land Transport Authority has been re-thinking and enhancing the public transport network system to make it more inclusive and senior friendly. This segment gives an overview of the infrastructure and people-centric initiatives that are designed to help seniors age gracefully. Let’s do our part in building a society that cares for senior citizens.

Speaker: Ms Priscilla Chan

Deputy Group Director (Public Transport), Land Transport Authority

Priscilla is currently Deputy Group Director (Public Transport) in Land Transport Authority, and has amassed extensive experience in the land transport industry. She currently oversees a diverse portfolio including the design and implementation of various public transport schemes, point-to-point transport regulation & vocational licensing, bus contract management as well as the public transport ticketing landscape and services. Priscilla also plays a pivotal role in creating a culture of care and inclusivity by spearheading multiple initiatives for commuters with mobility needs including seniors, persons with visible and invisible disabilities, and families with young children.

Every day we make travel decisions, when we choose where to go to access services, like shopping or leisure activities, when to go, and how to get there.

Most of us are limited in our decision making by external constraints, for example, our inability to choose our place and time of work (although this is becoming more flexible now since the onset of the pandemic), budget constraints or physical limitations. But in some cases, these decisions can be nudged in a way to encourage healthier and more active lifestyles, and urban design and planning can play a key role in nudging behaviour.

This talk presents research findings on how urban design and planning can influence travel behaviour and promote active mobility, and what are the key metrics we can use to track this.

Speaker: Dr Tanvi Maheshwari

Associate Director, Future Cities Laboratory, Singapore-ETH Centre

Dr Tanvi Maheshwari is Associate Director at Future Cities Laboratory Global in Singapore ETH Centre. She recently concluded her PhD research at ETH Zurich, dealing with recent technological disruptions in transportation and how urban design and planning can adequately respond to them. Tanvi trained as an architect in the School of Planning and Architecture in Delhi and obtained her Masters degree in urban design from University of California, Berkeley. She has since worked in various capacities on the development of planning support tools and procedures in urban design and transport planning.


The following speakers will take your questions on their presentations:

Mr Danny Quek

Senior Assistant Director, Integrated Health Promotion,
MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation

Dr Ad Maulod, Senior Research Fellow, & Dr Pildoo Sung, Research Fellow,
Centre for Ageing Research and Education, Duke-NUS Medical School

Dr Sam Conrad Joyce
Architecture and Sustainable Design,
Singapore University of Technology and Design

Ms Priscilla Chan
Deputy Group Director (Public Transport), Land Transport Authority

Dr Tanvi Maheshwari

Associate Director, Future Cities Laboratory, Singapore-ETH Centre

By Associate Professor Ding Yew Yoong

Executive Director, Geriatric Education & Research Institute

Register online now!