Congratulations Dr Nadarajaw

2022 Outstanding Asian Paediatrician award


Congratulations to Dr Thiyagar Nadarajaw who was awarded ‘Outstanding Asian Pediatrician’ by the Asia Pacific Pediatric Association (APPA) for ‘making a significant contribution to Paediatric & Child Health above and beyond one’s official role’. He was nominated by the Malaysia Paediatric Society.

Dr Nadarajaw spent 2006 at the Centre for Adolescent Health to undertake a clinical fellowship in adolescent health and medicine, only the 2nd paediatrician in Malaysia to obtain specialist training in adolescent medicine. Since then, Thiyagar has been actively advocating for adolescent health in his own hospital, his state, through the Malaysian Ministry of Health, and through professional associations in Malaysia. He is Head of the Department of Paediatrics at Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital, Malaysia, where he practises as a Senior Consultant Paediatrician and Adolescent Medicine Specialist. He is also State Paediatrician in Kedah, an advisory role for all paediatric matters. Dr Nadarajaw has helped organise every annual conference of the Malaysian Association for Adolescent Health since his return to Malaysia. He has also held senior leadership roles within the Malaysian Paediatric Association (past president 2015- 2017), the Malaysian Association for Adolescent Health (vice president 2020-2022, 2016/2018) and Malaysian Medical Association (state president 2020-2022).

In a 2019 profile on Dr Nadarajaw in the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, Professor Sawyer noted: “I know how grateful his colleagues are for the strength of his leadership and professional ethics – and how much future Malaysian adolescents will gain from his advocacy.”

In reflecting on his year in Melbourne, Dr Nadarajaw said that his fellowship at the Centre for Adolescent Health is still fresh in his mind. He still remembers his surprise at his first supervision session with Professor Sawyer, who rather than discussing clinical aspects of adolescent medicine as he was expecting, shared a wider vision of medical leadership in a session that finished with her lending him Atual Gawende’s book “Complications”. Dr Nadarajaw suggests that his time at the Centre led to him appreciate the value of advocacy, the power of integrating both “ethos” and “pathos” into one’s advocacy efforts, and the importance of scientific evidence. Dr Nadarajaw has been successfully implementing these messages for the past 15 years. He has used these skills to powerfully communicate the importance of adolescent health and development to his colleagues, and to the media with whom he engages as a strategy to amplify his advocacy messages. Beyond driving important clinical developments in his own service, the state of Kedah, and in Malaysia more broadly, these skills equally underpin the recognition he and his colleagues have achieved for the new subspeciality of Adolescent Medicine in Malaysia.

Fast forward 15 years. Professor Sawyer was thrilled to learn of this award, saying that it was “richly deserved” and that “it epitomises what Thiyagar has achieved in his efforts to improve the health of Malaysian adolescents by raising the profile of adolescent health and medicine”.

Congratulations from all of us at the Centre for Adolescent Health.



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