Exclusive HQ interview with Dr. Carolyn Lam

Cardiovascular Research at the Forefront
22nd Apr, 2016

Dr Carolyn Lam is a Senior Consultant of the National Heart Centre, Singapore and Associate Professor of Duke-NUS Cardiovascular Academic Clinical Program, and Chairperson of the Asia Pacific Association of Women’s Cardiovascular Disease. Dr Lam’s clinical sub-specialty is heart failure, and she is recognised globally for her expertise in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. She also has expertise in women’s cardiovascular disease, hemodynamics, echocardiography, biomarkers and clinical trials. Interview Rémi Dévé

Could you introduce yourself for those who do not know you?

Dr. Carolyn LamI'm a clinician scientist, meaning a medical doctor and research geek rolled into one. On the clinical front, I take care of patients as a Senior Consultant Cardiologist at the National Heart Institute, Singapore, in my Women's Heart Health Clinic and Heart Failure Clinic. On the research front, I lead clinical trials, scientific projects and research networks both regionally and internationally, as an Associate Professor at Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, and serve as an Associate Editor of Circulation and European Journal of Heart Failure (top cardiology journals). In the public eye in Singapore I am probably best known as the Resident Doctor of the primetime television health series "Body and Soul".

You’ve won a lot of awards. What are the achievements you are most proud of?

I started the first Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction Programme and Women’s Heart Health Clinic in Singapore. I was awarded the L’Oreal Women In Science Award (2012) for my work in women’s cardiovascular disease, and then named an InterAcademy Medical Panel Young Physician Leader at the World Health Summit in Berlin (2012), and won the award for the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World for 2014 –Singapore (2014).

But if pressed to choose an award, then this would be the Rosalind Franklin Award, because I think Rosalind Franklin is a role model for women in science: few know that it was her pioneering work on X-ray diffraction images of DNA that led to the discovery of the DNA double helix - a discovery that was credited to male scientists Watson and Crick instead.

You’ve created the Cardiovascular Clinical Trialist forum for Asia. What were your motivations behind bringing this Forum here? What is your vision for CVCT Asia?

I was struck by the under-representation of Asia at the global Cardiovascular Clinical Trialist forum in Paris, despite the fact that the global burden of cardiovascular disease in Asia outweighs that in other parts of the world. I firmly believe that the time has come for Asia to take centre-stage in cardiovascular research! My vision is that CVCT Asia will be the "go-to" forum where top cardiovascular clinicians, trialists/ scientists, industry partners, regulators, and research organizations can enjoy in-depth discussions geared at advancing cardiovascular research in Asia, ultimately resulting in improved care and outcomes for our patients.

You are raising the awareness of the “feminisation of aging”. Can you explain what it’s about and what it implies?

This simply means women outlive men, such that the older the population, the greater the % of women (eg among 60+ year olds, ~half are women; whereas among 80+ year olds, almost two thirds are women). Implying that in aging societies such as ours, women's health is extremely important!

With so many hats that you wear, and only so much time, which are the must-attend conferences you attend?

The CVCT conferences of course! They provide the highest level of discussions and the greatest networking opportunities of all conferences... Plus they're the most fun.

In your opinion, what makes Singapore an ideal and preferred destination for conventions and conferences?

Singapore's central location, excellent infrastructure, beautiful environment and great efficiency make it the perfect setting for meetings. I have yet to meet a visitor who hasn't fallen in love with Singapore once he/she gets here. After all, what's there not to love? Beyond the direct meeting setting, the weather is always warm and sunny, people are friendly, environment is safe and food is spectacular.

CVCT Asia has received endorsement by the Asia Pacific Society of Cardiology and the Singapore Cardiac Society. The CVCT Asia Forum follows the successful example of the main CVCT meetings in Paris (globalcvctforum.com) which annually enjoy large representation from Europe and the US. The 2016 CVCT ASIA will take place in Singapore 15-17 July 2016

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