The Sultan's Physician
Following his primary and secondary level education in Singapore and at Blackrock College in Dublin, Dr Leslie Lam studied Medicine at UCD graduating MB BChBAO in 1967. While at UCD, he met his future wife, Dr Ivy C Yap (UCD Medicine 1969, Dip Child Health 1977) who is family physician in Singapore.
In further studies at UCD, Leslie obtained his BSc (in Pharmacology, studying with Prof. Paul Cannon) graduating in 1969, and a Diploma in Child Health in1975. While doing his BSc, he worked as Tutor in Clinical Pharmacology in UCD in 1968-1969. Leslie did his postgraduate training in Medicine and subspecialty training in Cardiology in the Dublin hospitals, working with several mentors and lifelong colleagues, including Prof. Sean Blake at the Mater, Prof. Conor Ward in Crumlin, and Prof. Eoin O Brien (at the Richmond hospital, now of UCD Conway Institute.) He duly obtained his MRCPI and completed his cardiology training in Dublin, before returning to Singapore.
Dr Lam has had a highly successful and varied career as a leading physician and interventional cardiologist, and he has for many years been one of the leading cardiologists in Singapore and indeed the region. Among the highlights of his career are his service for some years as personal physician to the Sultan of Brunei, as well as honorary consultant appointments from the Ministries of Health in Myanmar and in the Seychelles in recognition of the contributions that he and his team in the Mount Elizabeth Hospital Cardiac Centre have made to cardiology in the region. Dr. Lam has received numerous honours during his career, including Fellowships from the RCPI, the Academy of Medicine in Singapore, and the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions of the USA. In 1984, he was admitted to the Most Honourable Order of the Kingdom of Brunei. Dr. Lam received an Honorary Fellowship of the UCD Faculty of Medicine in 2005, when he also delivered the commencement address at the UCD Medicine Graduation Ceremony.
Leslie has maintained a strong and continuous connection with UCD, and he has given generously to support a newer generation of UCD students and biomedical scientists in their studies. Leslie has demonstrated his passion for Irish heritage and education in Ireland through a number of initiatives. The Annual Dr Leslie Lam lecture at the UCD Medical Graduates Association meetings informed and delighted our alumni for a period of 5 years. Also, a number of our most gifted students have been fortunate to have been awarded competitive Leslie Lam scholarships to undertake summer research at the University of Queensland – recent students engaged in research on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Biomarker Discovery and on Hypoxic Ischemic Injury in the neonate, and presented their findings in the highly successful annual Summer Student Research Awards event. Leslie also funded several Molecular Medicine Ireland postgraduate research fellowships at UCD.
In December 2012, Leslie partnered with Prof. Eoin O' Brien to donate the O’Brien-Lam collection, a treasure-trove of Irish literature and heritage, to UCD. This collection includes many priceless original Beckett items, collected by Prof. O' Brien, a noted Beckett scholar. The collection also includes a broad range of historical documents, artworks, photographs, essays and correspondence relating to the history of medical education, Irish literature, Irish history and the history of art.
This last gift hints at Leslie's other, broader interests, which extend well beyond medicine and biomedical science. Among the remarks he made in his UCD SMMS honorary fellowship acceptance speech, he noted that he was fortunate to work under Prof Sean Blake at the Mater Hospital in Dublin, and that during those formative years Prof Blake persuaded him to focus on his career in cardiology, and stop spending so much time scuba diving!
The Lam family are recognised for the generous hospitality in Singapore and Dr. Lam has been a strong supporter of the Irish community there serving as a Director of the Singapore Ireland Fund. Dr Lam has been a great friend of education in Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in UCD throughout his career, and for that we in the School of Medicine & Medical Science and the whole UCD community are eternally grateful.
In June 2014, Dr Lam was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of the National University of Ireland (Doctor of Medicine honoris causa), in recognition of his achievements in clinical cardiology in Singapore, his contributions to medical education and research, and his support for the arts in UCD and in Ireland. Only six people have received this title in the University's 160 year history. In 2017, the UCD Medical Graduates Association honour Dato Dr Leslie Lam with their Distinguished Graduate Award following a citation given by classmate Dr Niall Keaney.