Dean of Faculty of Medicine is recognised for her contributions to infectious disease research; joins the ranks of world-renowned leaders.
KUALA LUMPUR – The Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Professor Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman was conferred Doctor of Laws honoris causa (honorary doctorate) by the Deputy Chancellor of Monash University, Mr. Yehudi Blacher here today.
The conferment of the honorary doctorate was in recognition of Professor Adeeba’s outstanding contributions in the research on infectious diseases and as a health advocate.
“I am deeply honoured and humbled to receive the highest form of recognition that Monash University could bestow; and as an alumna, this makes the award even more meaningful to me,” said Professor Adeeba who received her medical degree and early professional training from the aforementioned University.
“Reflecting on the early years of my work in the field of infectious diseases particularly HIV and AIDS, I am pleased to note the many recent scientific advancements made in improving the quality of health of people affected by the epidemic. However, the work is far from over. While the search for a cure continues to gain traction, a vast majority of people and communities affected by HIV and AIDS are, to this day, still being denied access to lifesaving prevention and treatment services due to attitudes, practices, policies and laws that stigmatise, marginalise and criminalise them. I wish to dedicate this honour, which will serve as a strong reminder of the long battle ahead, to all my colleagues in HIV medicine, research and response sector, especially people living with HIV and other affected communities for their courage and inspiration,” she added.
In an illustrous three-decade long career, Professor Adeeba has carved a niche in the field of HIV and AIDS research, not only as one Malaysia’s foremost medical specialists but also as the leading voice for communities and civil society in the fight for equal access to health for all.
She joined the University of Malaya in 1996 as a lecturer at the Department of Medicine and quickly rose through the ranks of Professorship in 2001. In 2011, she became the first woman to be appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya.
Her role as President of the Malaysian AIDS Council was instrumental in the introduction and implementation of the needle and syringe exchange programme and methadone maintenance therapy in 2006, which has since halved new HIV infections among people who use drugs. She served as President of the Malaysian AIDS Council between 2006 and 2010, and is currently Chairman of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation.
She was a crucial member of the clinical and investigative team of the Nipah Encephalitis outbreak which led to the discovery of the nipah virus and two highly prestigious awards – the Tun Mahathir Science Award (2007) and the Merdeka Award (2008).
Internationally, she is on a number of important committees. She currently chairs the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee and is a Governing Council Member of the International AIDS Society (IAS) as well as the UNAIDS Scientific Expert Panel. In 2013, she was co-chair of the 7th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, Kuala Lumpur – the world’s largest open scientific conference on HIV and AIDS – with Nobel laureate Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, co-discoverer of HIV. Last year, she was named one of the twenty most influential Muslim female scientists in the world.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya, Professor Dato’ Dr. Mohd Amin Jalaludin commented, “As Vice-Chancellor, I am very proud that an academic from our university has been conferred an Honorary Doctorate by Monash University. In the area of HIV and AIDS, Professor Adeeba’s research has not only contributed to new knowledge but also transformed the lives of many in Malaysia who have been afflicted by the disease. Her work among those in prisons and marginalised groups in the Klang Valley especially has had a positive impact on society. I wish to extend my warmest congratulations to her and I believe that her research will continue to touch the lives of both people living with HIV as well as their families.”
The Honorary Doctorate is the highest award offered by Monash University and reserved for individuals of conspicuous merit. Past recipients of the Monash University Honorary Doctorate include the Prime Minister of Malaysia Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak (2011) and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi (2013).
Photo credit: umexpert.um.edu.my