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Dr. Maggie Lim: Google Doodle celebrates Singaporean doctor who inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame

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Google Doodle celebrates doctor and public health official Dr. Maggie Lim, the first young woman in Singapore and second Singaporean ever to win the prestigious Queen’s Scholarship in the 45 years of the award’s history, on March 14, 2022. On this day in 2014, Dr. Lim was posthumously inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame.

Who was Dr. Maggie Lim?

Maggie Tan was born in January 1913 in Singapore into a conspicuous family. She went to Raffles Girls’ School, and later, by special arrangement, Raffles Boys’ School. She started her studies at Raffles Girls’ School, where she excelled in academics with a record of six distinctions in her Senior Cambridge examinations.

In 1929, Dr. Maggie Lim entered the then all-men’s Raffles Institution in preparation for the Queen’s Scholarship examination. In 1930, she was the first Singaporean student to win a Queen’s Scholarship. (Her brother Tan Thoon Lip won a similar scholarship the previous year.)

In 1930, Dr. Maggie Lim made history by winning the scholarship. She left home to go to the London School of Medicine for Women, one of the city’s just training hospitals that only trained women. After years of dedicated study, Lim joined the Royal College of Surgeons and acquired her doctor’s license.

Dr. Maggie Lim acquired a medical degree at the London School of Medicine for Women and the Royal Free Hospital. She got back to Singapore in 1940 and served her community with a specialization in maternity and child health, assisting with laying out a system of specialized clinics across Singapore.

During World War II, Dr. Maggie Lim was a camp physician at Endau Settlement in Johor, supporting the Malayan Peoples’ Anti-Japanese Army. After the war, Lim was an obstetrician and public health official in Singapore.

She worked for the Singapore Municipal Health Department at the Prinsep Street Infant Welfare Clinic, particularly on promoting birth control awareness, addressing childhood infectious diseases, and growing maternal and child clinic access.

Dr. Maggie Lim was the honorary medical officer of the Singapore Family Planning Association when it started in 1949. In mid-1951, she was momentarily confined with others, by the government, on charges of spreading Malayan Communist Party propaganda. In 1963, she became head of the maternal and child welfare department in the Ministry of Health.

In 1963, Dr. Maggie Lim contributed her experience from a lifetime of fieldwork as the head of the Ministry of Health’s Maternity and Child Welfare Department before retiring from this position to teach epidemiology and public health at the University of Hawaii for the rest of her career.

Dr. Maggie Lim was president of the Family Planning and Population Board and an advisor to the Midwives’ Council. She served on the Singapore Hospitals Board and was an officer of the Singapore Pediatric Society.

Later in her career, Dr. Maggie Lim was a professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Hawai’i’s East-West Center. While in Hawai’i, she served as VP of Hawaii Planned Parenthood.

Lim was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Physicians of London.

Dr. Maggie Lim died in Claremont, California. She was posthumously inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014.

On March 14, 2022, Google featured a Doodle for celebrating Dr. Maggie Lim to honor the day in 2014 when she was inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame.

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