First International Surgical Society Woman President Yip Says Surgical Care Must Be Universally Accessible

Malaysian consultant breast surgeon Dr Yip Cheng Har, the first female president of the International Society of Surgery (ISS), says ISS will work towards achieving universally available, accessible, and quality surgical care.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 – Malaysian consultant breast surgeon Dr Yip Cheng Har has been elected the first female president of the International Society of Surgery (ISS/SIC).

Dr Yip was installed as president of the oldest international surgical association in the world formed in 1902, which represents over 3,000 surgeons across the globe, during the International Surgical Week last month in Vienna, Austria.

“I am indeed honoured to become the president of the ISS. I will continue to uphold the mission of the society, which is to educate and train surgeons around the world,” Dr Yip told CodeBlue.

“Together with our partners, particularly the G4 Alliance, ISS will advocate globally for the neglected surgical patient, and work towards achieving universally available, accessible, and quality surgical care.  

“Being the first woman to be president will reinforce that the society believes in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), which is now a requirement in all organisations.”

The G4 Alliance is a coalition of associations and organisations around the world for surgical, obstetric, trauma, and anaesthesia care.

Dr Yip noted that the ISS Council has members from around the world, of all ethnicities, including three women, one of whom is Prof Dr April Camilla Roslani from Universiti Malaya.

Malaysia’s Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah just completed a four-year term as an ISS council member.

Dr Yip is currently a consultant breast surgeon at Ramsay Sime Darby Health Care, a private hospital in Malaysia, and is the lead clinician for the breast cancer research programme in Cancer Research Malaysia.

She was the first woman president of the College of Surgeons of Malaysia from 2010 to 2013 and also a past president of the Association of University Surgeons of Asia (2003-2005) and Breast Surgery International (2015-2017). 

Although a clinician, Dr Yip is very involved in cancer control and prevention, and was a past president of the Asia Pacific Organisation for Cancer Prevention from 2010 to 2012. 

She has been appointed an expert in cancer control by the World Health Organization (WHO) and has been on two IMPACT missions with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to assess the cancer control programme in Cambodia and Jordan. Dr Yip has also been involved with the Breast Health Global Initiative since 2005. 

Dr Yip was awarded an honorary fellowship from the American College of Surgeons in October  2013 and from the American Surgical Association in April 2017, and in each of these two organisations, she was the first Malaysian to be honoured with an honorary fellowship. 

She is currently an associate editor with the World Journal of Surgery, an academic editor of the International Journal of Surgical Oncology, and on the international editorial board of JAMA Surgery. 

The breast surgeon has over 250 publications in peer-reviewed journals, mainly on breast cancer in the Asian setting.

Dr Yip was a member of the executive committee of the Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA) in charge of research and development, and is currently an advisor to the local breast cancer patient group. 

She is also a commissioner on the prestigious Lancer Commission on Breast Cancer, and is a member of the WHO Global Breast Cancer Initiative. 

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