Founders' Profiles

Dr Helen Ko, Executive Director

In the last 30 years, Dr Helen Ko pioneered the development of several programmes for seniors in Singapore, including gerontological counselling, case management, daycare for seniors and a suite of training programmes related to ageing workforce. She has taught courses at several universities and trained thousands of employers, older adults, volunteers and caregivers across different sectors, consistently garnering 'excellent' ratings from many participants. Currently, she is also a Senior Lecturer with the Singapore University of Social Sciences, teaching courses in the Master and PhD in Gerontology, and the Master of Counselling Programmes. She was previously Chief Executive Officer of St Luke’s Eldercare, Executive Director of Centre for Seniors and Director of Sage Counselling Centre.

Through her research, Dr Ko has developed an evidence-based model for counselling older adults in Singapore. The model is featured in her book, Counselling Older Adults: An Asian Perspective, which has received highly positive reviews by industry leaders. She is also lead author of Understanding and Counselling Older Persons and co-author of Gerontological Counselling: An Introductory Handbook (see section on Publications & Papers for details). All the books are/had been key texts for courses at several universities/training institutions. She has carried out research on Singapore’s ageing workforce and published in various scientific journals. Through her latest award-winning research, she has developed an evidence-based, process model (including strategies/principles) for training/coaching mature adult learners, within an Asian context.

Dr Ko received further training in gerontology at Harvard and Oxford Universities. She is accredited to administer several psychometric tools, and uses this knowledge to enhance her training programmes. She had served in various national committees, including the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Ageing Population and the Committee on Ageing Issues. Currently, she serves on the Boards of Council For Third Age and St Luke’s Hospital.

Dr Ko Soo Meng, Director

Dr Ko is Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at Mount Alvernia Medical Centre, and Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Psychological Medicine, National University of Singapore. Besides having special interests in stress and anxiety disorders, and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, he also received training in geriatric psychiatry at the Memory Diagnostic Clinic and Special Care Dementia Unit, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He had been attached to the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre, University of California San Diego, the Stanford / VA Alzheimer’s Centre, Stanford University School of Medicine and the Academic Unit for Psychiatry of Old Age, University of Melbourne, Australia. Dr Ko was previously senior consultant psychiatrist with the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Head, Division of Stress Medicine at the National University Hospital. His research in the elderly included suicide, depression and epidemiology in Old Age Psychiatry, with publications in scientific journals and books on mental health issues. He frequently trains and speaks at workshops and talks for professionals and the public.