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Recognising outstanding clinical faculty who are shaping tomorrow’s leaders in biomedical science

At Duke-NUS Medical School, senior clinicians with outstanding careers, strong leadership skills and exemplary standards of professionalism are recognised as Master Academic Clinicians.

Recognising outstanding clinical faculty who are shaping tomorrow’s leaders in biomedical science

Duke-NUS Medical School's Master Academic Clinicians aim to provide excellent care outcomes for patients, pursue cutting-edge innovation and nurture the next generation of clinicians. Photo: Duke-NUS Medical School

Taking up the mantle of a clinician is a noble pursuit. Among the many who have done so are several who have gone even further by demonstrating their mastery in improving lives through groundbreaking research and dedication to medical education. To recognise these outstanding clinicians, Duke-NUS Medical School established the Hall of Master Academic Clinicians.

To celebrate the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre’s (AMC) greatest faculty, the school inducted its first cohort of eight Master Academic Clinicians earlier this year – one of the highest accolades given to a select group of clinical faculty by Duke-NUS.  

These Master Academic Clinicians are from the hundreds of practising clinicians who have been appointed as clinical faculty by Duke-NUS to train and mentor medical students. With Duke-NUS’ novel TeamLEAD approach, these clinicians play a vital role in the classroom, where they bring their clinical experience to benefit students right from the first year of the rigorous four-year medical course all the way through to the students’ clinical years.

At the same time, these clinical faculty work across the diverse hospitals and specialty centres under SingHealth, Duke-NUS’ partner in academic medicine, and are dedicated to delivering world-class care to patients in Singapore and beyond. 

They hail from more than 40 specialties that span the fields of medicine, surgery, diagnostics and radiology, which, in turn, contribute to the 15 academic clinical programmes (ACPs) established under the AMC. The ACPs correlate the main areas of practice to residency programmes that the Duke-NUS students are allocated upon graduation. 

These ACPs are designed to better prepare students for their future working environment and create a bench-to-bedside continuum for research, education and innovation, allowing clinicians at all stages of their careers to fulfil their potential as scientists, educators and innovators – in other words, what Duke-NUS terms ‘Clinician Plus’.

This bench-to-bedside continuum proved to be particularly useful as the pandemic struck early last year, highlighted Professor Thomas Coffman, dean of Duke-NUS. SingHealth clinicians were able to send patient samples directly to Duke-NUS laboratories, where clinician-scientists worked on developing solutions such as a COVID-19 serum test for the benefit of public health.

Said Prof Coffman: “We have a fantastic reservoir of human talent on our AMC campus. And not just talented people, but people who are dedicated and want to do the right thing. This gives us tremendous strength to deal with whatever comes our way and continue to flourish even amid this pandemic.”

More than being ambassadors for Duke-NUS, Master Academic Clinicians are inspiring role models and mentors for students and faculty alike, leading by example through sharing their professional expertise in clinical research and education.


One of Duke-NUS’ Master Academic Clinicians is Associate Professor Ong Biauw Chi, who heads the anaesthesiology and perioperative sciences ACP at the AMC. She is also one of the two college masters of Seah Cheng Siang College at Duke-NUS, providing support and mentorship to students throughout their time at medical school. 

The anaesthesiology and perioperative sciences ACP chair, Associate Professor Soh Chai Rick, described Assoc Prof Ong as someone who leads by example, citing how she joined frontline healthcare teams working in the dormitories during the COVID-19 outbreak in order to support her staff: “Her relentless pursuit of excellence permeates every aspect of her life and it is no wonder the most challenging and important tasks have consistently fallen on her lap.”

Her fellow Master Academic Clinicians are similarly dedicated to developing excellence in themselves and others. Clinical Professor Ang Chong Lye, of the ophthalmology and visual sciences ACP, is a thought leader in both management and clinical arenas, as well as a role model for trainees who benefit from his guidance. 

Professor Chay Oh Moh, from the paediatrics ACP, has played an instrumental role in shaping education for the next generation of healthcare providers, many of whom she has mentored into leadership positions. 

Other renowned clinician mentors are Clinical Professor Fock Kwong Ming of the medicine ACP and Clinical Professor Tan Kok Chai of the musculoskeletal sciences ACP. Prof Tan is one of the earliest trained microsurgeons in Singapore who has shared his knowledge and expertise with generations of plastic surgeons, while Prof Fock has built a legacy of enhancing Singapore’s healthcare and serving the public selflessly. 

Also from the medicine ACP is Clinical Professor Tan Ban Hock, a holistic caregiver skilled in clinical medicine who has led the field in innovating care processes, especially in patient safety and quality issues.

Clinical Professor Venkataraman Anantharaman is regarded as the father of emergency medicine in Singapore, having created early initiatives in the development of a world-class emergency care system. He brings his expertise to the emergency medicine ACP.

In the surgery ACP, Clinical Professor Wong Wai Keong has trained many young gastrointestinal surgeons and has undertaken clinical and educational leadership throughout his career.


Along with their clinical faculty colleagues, the Master Academic Clinicians are the lifeblood of the AMC. Across the AMC, this pool of talented medical practitioners and researchers aims to provide excellent care outcomes for patients, pursue cutting-edge innovation and nurture the next generation of clinicians. 

Said SingHealth’s group CEO and Duke-NUS governing board member, Clinical Professor Ivy Ng: “What makes this partnership work is that we share a single vision. On the SingHealth side, our single motivation is patients at the heart of all we do, while Duke-NUS’ vision is focused on improving lives.”

Speaking at the induction of the first eight Master Academic Clinicians, Duke-NUS vice-dean for Academic & Clinical Development and SingHealth deputy group CEO (Research and Education) Professor Wong Tien Yin said that the event demonstrated the progress of the AMC, as well as the role of the Master Academic Clinicians as beacons lighting the way  for the next generation of clinicians.

As they inspire and mentor new generations of clinicians, the Master Academic Clinicians continue to contribute to the growth of Singapore’s healthcare ecosystem, striving towards a vision of greatness – not for themselves, but for the benefit of their students, junior colleagues and the patients they serve.

Learn more about Duke-NUS Medical School’s Master Academic Clinicians.

Source: CNA


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