From medical school to workplace, Professor Venkataraman Anantharaman has been a guiding hand for his mentee, Dr Tallie Chua.


Whether you consider yourself a success or not, chances are you would have had a mentor at some point in your life. This mentor sees the best in you, helps point out where you can improve, and encourages you to get up again after a ‘fall’. In this month of Teacher’s Day, we speak to mentee, Dr Tallie Chua, Consultant, Emergency Medicine (EM), and her mentor Professor Venkataraman Anantharaman, Emeritus Consultant, Emergency Medicine.

Please share your first interaction.

Dr Tallie: My first interaction with Prof was during my time as a Year 4 medical student. I was doing my posting at EM as part of my rotation. Initially, I did not know much about EM. During a group tutorial session, my friend asked Prof for career advice as he was interested in pursuing EM. I somehow got roped into the conversation! During the conversation, I realised Prof was very inspiring and visionary. After the conversation, I decided to choose EM as my elective! Then he became my informal mentor. We started working on projects and kept in touch during my time in medical school and Residency.

Prof Anantharaman: Yes! After that when you became Associate Consultant, I continued to be your mentor to guide you during your transition from school.

How would you describe each other?

Dr Tallie: Prof is someone whom I can trust. He sees me as a whole person, understands my dreams, family, and guides me with a holistic approach. This is not something that happens often. I am very grateful to meet him!

Prof Anantharaman: From medical school until now, Dr Tallie is keen, committed and willing to learn. I am very impressed by her attitude. She always strives to be better, which is great, because I always want the next generation to be better that me. I am always amazed by how much she knows that I do not. She is one of the most impressive mentees that I have ever met!

Please share a time when you were touched by each other.

Dr Tallie: After I graduated, Prof asked for my career plan. Then I said I was interested in critical care. Almost immediately, he brought a textbook for me! I was touched by his thoughtfulness.

Prof Anantharaman: I was touched when she asked me to be her mentor. This means she sees the potential in me to guide her.

What would you say to other mentees and mentors?

Dr Tallie: Be open and recognise that every guidance comes with good intention. Mentoring is a two-way relationship and we show care for each other. As a mentee, I hope to be able to pay it forward, learn how to mentor, and cultivate a mentoring culture!

Prof Anantharaman: Understand and develop your mentee as a whole person. Always be willing to lend a listening ear. Mentoring is a long-term relationship. If I see my mentees do well, it is a tremendous reward for me! 

Click here to read more Mentoring Stories, in conjunction with SGH Mentoring Programme, by SGH Learning & Career Development (SGH infopedia access required).


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