By Rebecca Lavanie David, Foo Yang Yann, Tan Thiam Chye, Sandy Cook

A new Golden Apple category has been established in recognition of individuals who have selflessly committed themselves to guiding younger healthcare professionals.

The award, titled ‘Generativity Award for Educators’, seeks to raise the profile of educators in SingHealth and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School whose passion in teaching has inspired their learners.

What distinguishes this award from others is that it is given to individuals whose primary motivations lie in giving back to the professional community.

‘Generativity’ refers to the midlife concern of successful individuals who wish to establish and guide the development of the next generation1,2 and is expressed through nurturing, leading, and promoting the next generation through such pursuits as professional activities. 3

Within the healthcare context, ‘generativity’ is demonstrated by individuals in the way they guide younger healthcare professionals to develop efficacy in clinical reasoning and practice, share their medical knowledge, conduct evidence-based research and serve a leadership role in the healthcare organisation.

While this definition points heavily to mentorship, ‘generativity’ goes beyond just being a mentor.

Professor Bob Kamei, Vice-Dean of Education of Duke-NUS, tells a personal story to explain the difference between the two.





"As a training director for 17 years, I trained over 300 paediatricians, and I think about all the patients that they are taking care of."

Professor Kamei was a busy clinician in one of the largest paediatric practice when he was approached by the chairman of the department at the University of California San Francisco to take on the residency training programme. He hesitated as he had concerns about keeping up with his practice.

“I spoke to one of my mentors who said to me, ‘Bob, your residents will extend your impact on patients as your residents will be taking care of patients.’   As a training director for 17 years, I trained over 300 paediatricians, and I think about all the patients that they are taking care of,” he says.

“This is the kind of impact of generativity, and that’s very personally satisfying.”

This sentiment is also shared by Professor Lim Shih Hui, the new SingHealth Group Education Chair.

“I feel I get so much more in return when I teach because I get to learn, and I’m so eager to learn.   And I always feel that it is very important to share with my students the experience, the knowledge, and the wisdom I have accumulated over the years so that many more people can benefit,” explains Professor Lim.

“From the way students look at you, acknowledge you when they see you, it gives you the sense of the kind of impact you’ve made.”

Nominate an educator for a Golden Apple Award and honour the best in healthcare education. 


1.        D.P. McAdams, and E. de St. Aubin, ‘A Theory of Generativity and its Assessment through Self-report, Behavioral Acts, and Narrative Themes in Autobiography,’ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 62, 1992, pp. 1003-1015.

2.        B.E. Peterson, K.A. Smirles, and P.A. Wentworth, ‘Generativity and Authoritarianism: Implications for Personality, Political Involvement, and Parenting,’ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 72, 1997, pp. 1202-1216.

3.        D.D. Guastello, S.J. Guastello, and J.M. Briggs, ‘Parenting Style and Generativity Measured in College Students and Their Parents,’ Sage Open, 2014, DOI: 1177/2158244013518053.