Goh-Fung Cynthia Ruth, more commonly known as Professor Goh - is one of the trailblazers in introducing and setting up hospice and palliative care in Singapore. Starting out as a volunteer at St. Joseph’s Home in 1986, she would become a well-known palliative care pioneer and be inducted into the Singapore Women's Hall of Fame for her extensive contributions to Singapore.
Professor Goh was born in Hong Kong to a family of doctors on November 21st, 1949. She attended medical school at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, University of London, where she met her future husband, Dr. Hak-Su Goh, in 1969. After marrying in 1974, they had a daughter and a son and moved to Singapore in 1981.
In a 2019 interview with The Straits Times, Professor Goh revealed that, despite being told in the 1980s that there was no need for such services, she nonetheless recognized a need to improve the life of the terminally ill. Thus, Professor Goh helped set up palliative care services at Singapore General Hospital and the National Cancer Center Singapore in 1999.
Throughout her career, Professor Goh held a number of professional appointments and committee memberships. Her first role was that of the Founding President of HCA Hospice Care, Singapore’s largest hospice care provider. Her extensive history of roles also includes Founding President of the Association of Southeast Asian Pain Societies (ASEAPS), member of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), co-head of the World Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA), and Chair of the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN).
Professor Goh passed away on February 13th, 2022 of pancreatic cancer, aged 72. “She had the best palliative care from her friends and colleagues at home on her last days.” said her husband, Dr. Goh Hak-Su, 73. “She was able to die at home, which she wanted.” Her approach exemplified what she had always championed and done – to help the dying live their days comfortably and with as much dignity as possible.
We hope to celebrate her achievements and continue her work.
Help APHN continue Professor Goh's regional work
Donate via Credit/Debit Card or PayPal or Alipay
Donate via Cheque Payee:
Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network
c/o Division of Supportive & Palliative Care
National Cancer Centre Singapore
11 Hospital Crescent
‘Dr Goh’s family has decided to continue her legacy by establishing the Cynthia Goh Global Palliative Care Institute (CGGPCI). The Institute aims to leverage on existing expertise of the partner organisations to develop joint programmes and appointments to develop its activities whilst advancing education and research capacity and capability in the region. The partners include the APHN, the Lien Centre for Palliative Care and the SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute.
The CGGPCI will serve as a catalyst from which programmes can be developed to improve access to palliative care for individuals with serious advanced illnesses and their families. These programmes will focus on multi-region research and interdisciplinary education to enhance palliative care practice and standards in Singapore and the Asia Pacific region. The Institute seeks for an endowed donation of S$10 million (with matching to S$20 million), and expendable donation of S$2 million (with matching to S$2 million) to fund the expenses.
We invite you to support this initiative through funding a percentage of the S$12 million required for its establishment. Your support will allow the institute to continue Cynthia’s efforts in advancing palliative care practice and access, especially in low to middle-income regions.
Dr Ednin Hamzah’s Funding to establish Cynthia Goh Global Palliative Care Institute. For more information, please read the full article at https://aphn.org/funding-to-establish-cynthia-goh-global-palliative-care-institute/.
Remembering the pioneer of palliative care
Professor Cynthia Goh