April Axed As UM Dean Of Medicine, Three Months Into Three-Year Reappointment

Prof Dr April Camilla Roslani was abruptly removed as Dean of Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Medicine last month, despite her Dec 2023 reappointment for another three years until Dec 2026. A letter by the UM VC simply cited UM’s “new direction and plans”.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — Universiti Malaya (UM) unexpectedly removed Prof Dr April Camilla Roslani as Dean of its Faculty of Medicine last March, just three months into her three-year reappointment beginning last December.

The colorectal cancer surgeon from the Department of Surgery was initially appointed dean of the top public university’s medicine faculty a prior three years in December 2020, before her reappointment in December 2023 for another three-year term until December 2026.

CodeBlue sighted an “appreciation and thank you” letter by UM to Dr April dated March 13 – signed by Vice Chancellor Prof Noor Azuan Abu Osman – that simply stated, “in line with Universiti Malaya’s new direction and plans”, Dr April’s term as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine effectively ended on March 18, 2024.

Noor Azuan, an engineer, was appointed UM vice chancellor for a term of three years from November 6, 2023, to November 5, 2026. 

His appointment as VC by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) – just a month before Dr April’s reappointment as dean – was based on his “good leadership reputation and extensive administrative experience at the institutional level”, according to an MOHE statement last November 2.

Dr April remains a professor at Universiti Malaya and an appointed member of the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC).

CodeBlue understands that while universities can nominate candidates for council membership, the MMC is responsible for selecting and recommending candidates to the health minister for appointment.

Throughout her tenure as dean of UM’s Faculty of Medicine over the past three years, CodeBlue understands that Dr April had navigated challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic, such as overseeing the vaccination roll-out, transitioning academic programmes, and managing work arrangements.

Under her leadership, productivity increased, evident in the rise in grants, publications, and revenue. Dr April also led efforts to upgrade facilities, using funds raised by the faculty itself rather than relying solely on university resources. 

Additionally, she played a key role in enhancing Universiti Malaya’s international presence by hosting events such as the Asia Pacific Medical Education Conference and the ASEAN Medical Schools Network. Dr April further assumed the role of SEA Regional Ambassador for the Association of Academic Health Centres International.

Dr April also served as chair of the Conjoint Committee for Postgraduate Medical Degrees (JBILP), the National Postgraduate Medical Curriculum, and the Train the Trainers Steering Committee.

During her tenure, several national specialist degree curricula were introduced to streamline specialist training across the country. The Train the Trainers curriculum was established, along with training materials that were disseminated nationwide, benefiting over 1,000 trainers.

CodeBlue understands that the Faculty of Medicine has not yet appointed a new dean. Five nominees have been identified, and an election will take place. 

At the time of writing, UM’s website still lists Dr April as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. She is also still listed as a member of the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) board of management as dean. The university’s corporate communications unit told CodeBlue that it would issue a statement today on Dr April’s removal.

Dr April declined comment when contacted by CodeBlue, as civil servants are prohibited from speaking to the media.

CodeBlue sighted an email yesterday from UMMC that sent a “gentle reminder” to staff on the prohibition against making public statements about UMMC, either on mainstream or social media, as hospital management found that some staff had freely done so in a way that could “embarrass or affect the good name of UMMC and other individuals”.

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