Dr. Indra Selvarajah (Keynote)

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An image of Dr. Indra Selvarajah. At the bottom of the picture is an image of the Malaysian flag.

Indra Selvarajah, the founding president of the Malaysian Music Therapy Association (MMTA), stands as Malaysia’s pioneer PhD-qualified music therapist. Her doctoral journey led her to Florida State University (FSU), where she specialized in medical music therapy as a government-sponsored scholar. Presently, she holds a position at University Putra Malaysia (UPM) and works extensively with the community from children with disabilities, to rehabilitation hospital settings, to mental health.

An ardent champion of music’s impact on health and well-being, Dr. Indra continuously pushes healthcare boundaries to enhance community services. Notable conferences that she has helmed include “Music Heals: From Tradition to Medical Innovation” (2019, 2022) in collaboration with the Malaysian Society for Music in Medicine (MSMM). This groundbreaking initiative united medical music therapy, music in medicine, and healthcare stakeholders. Similarly, her efforts to develop music therapy training in Malaysia materialized in “Music Therapy as a Catalyst for Nation Building and Community Development” (2016) which saw the official launch of the Malaysian Music Therapy Association (MMTA), as well as “Moving Music Therapy Forward in the Region: Challenges, Opportunities & Strategies” (2023), convening thought leaders, educators, and industry stakeholders from over 10 countries to discuss higher education needs and challenges as well as solutions for building a more conducive environment for music therapists to grow and to thrive in South East Asia. Aligned with the MMTA, Dr. Indra has been instrumental in setting standards, guidelines, and professional prerequisites for music therapists in Malaysia. She currently collaborates with the MMTA to establish music therapy as an Allied Health Practice in Malaysia, laying the groundwork for a forthcoming music therapy training program at UPM.

Dr. Indra’s influence extends to advisory roles, such as her executive committee position at MSMM and membership in the International Advisory Board for the Institute of Salutogenesis and Complementary Medicine (ISCM) at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, ISCM Sri Balaji Vidhyapeeth University, India. Further, she lends her expertise to the development of music therapy modules at the University Pelitas Harapan, Indonesia, and is a member of the South East Asia Masters group initiated by Dr. Petra Kern, former president of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT) and Dr. Dena Register, of the US-based Certification Board of Music Therapy (CBMT).

Recently elected Chair of the Global Crises Intervention Commission for the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT) from 2023-2026, Dr. Indra is currently spearheading the establishment of adept volunteers across nations. These volunteers specialize in trauma-informed care, psychological first aid, and advocacy, enabling swift crisis response and WFMT’s advocacy efforts. Since 2020, Dr. Indra’s collaboration with the Responsible Tourism movement has harnessed music therapy’s potential to innovate solutions for the tourism industry, fostering hope, health, and healing within communities.