Lauded as first Malaysian woman to be Oxford don, Dr Masliza says actually second to Dr Phaik

Masliza is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the British Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Heart Failure Research Task Force. — Picture via Facebook
Masliza is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the British Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Heart Failure Research Task Force. — Picture via Facebook

KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 — Dr Masliza Mahmod has clarified that she is not, in fact, the first Malaysian woman to be an associate professor at Oxford University.

In a Facebook post on Monday, she clarified that she was preceded by another Malaysian woman who reached the same position at the prestigious British institution four years ago.

“Dear all, it has come to my attention that Dr Phaik Yeong Cheah has been Associate Professor in Bioethics and Engagement since 2016.

“Let us congratulate her on being the first Malaysian woman to achieve this at Oxford University.

“Together as Malaysian women, we both will continue to keep Malaysia on the map. Congratulations to her!” she wrote.

Dr Phaik, 46 is now the head of the Bioethics and Engagement Department at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok. She has been with Oxford since 2005.

She works on ethical issues arising from conducting research and working with vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant women, migrants as well as other disadvantaged and hard-to-reach populations.

On July 11, national news agency Bernama reported Dr Maszliza as the first Malaysian woman to become an associate professor at Oxford University, where she will teach cardiovascular medicine.

This led to a slew on congratulations to her, including one on Sunday from Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

According to an Instagram post from the Istana Negara, the Agong had expressed pride at was then thought to be her pioneering feat for Malaysians at Oxford.

Others who also congratulated her included Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, who on Saturday lauded her brilliance as well as outstanding achievements as a cardiologist.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun also released a poster congratulating Dr Masliza the same day.

Despite missing out on being the first Malaysian woman to be an associate professor at Oxford, Dr Masliza still has various accolades to her name.

Dr Masliza obtained her PhD in Cardiovascular Medicine from Oxford, in addition to her Master's of Medicine from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians from the UK and primary medical degree from the University of Otago, New Zealand.

She was awarded the Young Investigator Fellowship for her work in hypertension at the Malaysian Society of Hypertension in Kuala Lumpur in 2009.

In 2005, her research on newly diagnosed hypertensive won the Young Investigator Award at the Singapore-Malaysia Congress of Medicine.

She is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the British Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (BSCMR) Heart Failure Research Task Force.

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