NUMed’s Vishna Nadarajah is first Malaysian to win Ian Hart Award

NEWCASTLE University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) Provost and CEO Prof Dr Vishna Devi Nadarajah (main pic, second from left) has been conferred the prestigious Ian Hart Ottawa Award for Innovation in Medical Education at the Ottawa 2024 Conference in Melbourne, Australia yesterday (Feb 27).

The Ian Hart Award celebrates individuals who have made remarkable contributions to medical education through their outstanding creativity, diligence, adaptability, leadership and effective communication.

This is further reflected through significant advancements in curriculum development, teaching methodologies, assessment practices and educational administration at national, regional or international levels.

“For me, it’s the recognition of the significant work my colleagues and I have done for health professions assessments from the national to international level,” enthused Prof Vishna.

“This includes contextualising assessment best practices based on sociocultural, educational and healthcare needs as well as harnessing technology as an enabler for enhancing assessment outcomes and bringing medical education scholarship from our part of the world to others.”

For NUMed, Prof Vishna hopes the award would serve as an endorsement in the expertise and commitment of the senior leadership and that it will motivate both staff and students of the university to pursue professional health education as “the clinicians and medical educators of tomorrow”.

The Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) in Iskandar Puteri, Johor.

With over 24 years of experience, Prof Vishna is an accomplished educator and administrator, making significant contributions to biomedical sciences, medical and health professions education, including faculty development, assessment and innovative teaching methods.

“I wouldn’t change anything; the journey has included some high points as well as lots of mistakes,” she remarked when reflecting on her journey. “I don’t think I’d be here today if I didn’t go through that journey. If anything, I would say spend more time with your family because they make you who you are.”

When asked for advice, Prof Vishna emphasised the importance of maintaining a professional identity within the healthcare team.

“I believe every professional in a healthcare team has their own identity, so don’t stray from that path. Keep to your identity, bring your work and unique value forward, and your voice will be heard,” she stated.


Prof Vishna went on to admit that she is proud of the multi-professional team that she has built and the global teams that she works with. “We truly respect each other and understand the importance of respecting contextual differences in practice.”

She further highlighted the evolving landscape of medical education research, encouraging researchers to tackle problems with practical solutions.

“In a research setting, more and more journal editors are opening their minds, so it’s not just medical education for research in medicine; it is research across the professions,” she revealed.

“Keep doing things that have value for the professions, institutions and healthcare. I think the most important thing is to solve the problem that you have at hand because that problem that you have, others also have it. Do it in the right way and others will want to hear about it.”

With a First-Class Honours degree in Biochemistry from the University of Malaya, a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge and a Masters in Health Professions Education from Maastricht University, Prof Vishna’s remarkable academic journey coupled with her significant contributions to biomedical sciences and medical education exemplifies her dedication and expertise in her field.

Her receipt of the Ian Hart Ottawa Award for Innovation in Medical Education further solidifies her position as a leader in advancing healthcare education. – Feb 28, 2024

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE