‘Bravely go where no AMC has gone before’ is the vision that SingHealth Duke-NUS’ Academic Medical Centre (AMC) is striving to achieve. Duke-NUS Medical School’s Vice Dean of Education, Professor Ian Curran and SingHealth’s Group Director for Education, Professor Chan Choong Meng are steering the AMC towards this vision for education excellence. They share their hopes on the journey ahead.

The SingHealth and Duke-NUS Academic Medicine partnership builds on the collective clinical strengths of the SingHealth Group with Duke-NUS’ academic strengths, research and medical education. With 14 years of sound relationship-building, the partnership is committed to a relentless pursuit of excellence in care improvements, research and innovation, pioneering new advances in medical knowledge to transform medicine and improve lives.

Our progress in Academic Medicine has been enhanced with the establishment of the Academic Clinical Programmes (ACPs) and joint institutes, including the Academic Medicine Education Institute (AMEI) and Academic Medicine Research Institute (AMRI) which facilitate the active development of scientists and educators in the SingHealth Duke-NUS family.

As Co-Directors of SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medicine Education Institute (AMEI), Professor Ian Curran and Professor Chan Choong Meng share an enviable passion as they speak in cohesive tones on the bold vision they have for the SingHealth Duke-NUS’ Academic Medical Centre (AMC)’s education mission.

A Progressive Future – From Competence to Excellence

The SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC is ambitious in its pursuit of becoming an internationally renowned centre of education and training excellence. The first step on this journey is to improve training standards and learning experiences for our key stakeholders, our residents, consultants and students.

“We aim to develop a faculty of accomplished educators, build up our education capacity with state-of-the art resources, new technologies and develop innovative educational techniques. These are our enduring goals,” shared Professor Curran.

At the SingHealth Duke-NUS Education Advance in September 2018, the AMC affirmed its commitments to these plans for the future. At the same time, short-term goals were set. “We are focusing on putting in place the foundations of education excellence. More robust standards of programme evaluation, a greater focus on quality management and educational research”, added Professor Curran.

Professor Chan Choong Meng emphasised these directions. “We are in a relentless pursuit of academic excellence, defined by holistically attaining educational, clinical and research excellence,” he said. “We want to break down barriers such as professional silos and create a culture of learning and scholarship. And in the process, we strive to provide robust, efficient and cost-effective educational solutions to the academic medical system.”

Achievements To-Date

With hearts and minds set on this bold transformative journey, three key thrusts have crystallised, laying the foundation to hasten the progress, said Professor Chan.

“In the last six months, we have made good progress. We have established the joint educational council, which provides partnership and stakeholder representation in all the professional groups and institutions. The Education Executive Committee has been newly minted to provide strategic leadership and coordination as we build co-ordinated educational leadership across the AMC. And thirdly, the Education Strategic Fund is now set up to provide funding and support for important strategic educational initiatives,” he explained.

These are important milestones for achieving the AMC’s goals, which aim towards creating “one community of learning across our AMC,” said Professor Curran, echoing his sentiments. He further said the group’s vision of “one community of learning” is that of a trans-disciplinary, inclusive learning environment within the AMC, where there will be no barriers to learning, a continuum in interprofessional education (IPE) learning, beginning in undergraduate education and extending across the entire healthcare system and workforce.

The Goals Ahead

This pro-learning mindset paves the way for plans ahead too, which encompasses developing the first joint educational masterplan. Professor Chan said this will strengthen the pursuit of educational excellence. “We look forward to working with colleagues across the AMC, to understand the educational needs and to fashion the development of Joint Education Masterplan to achieve this ambitious vision and to bravely go where no AMC has gone before.”

As another effort towards building a community of learning, the ‘Interprofessional Education’ (IPE) Day will be launched, championing team working and collaborative practice, bringing together the elements of the Inter-Professional Collaborative Practice (IPCP).

Moving into the future, developing high-performing teams will be an important focus of the AMC. Promoting interprofessional collaboration in the clinical environment first begins with a shared mental model within common healthcare domains such as communication and patient safety. There is also a need to improve team dynamics to bring about collaborative care coordination. The effective execution of this care model then depends on effective interprofessional education of competencies such as the clear understanding of roles and responsibilities and communication skills, Professor Chan explained..

Summing up the momentum, Professor Curran said, “Our AMC is already a successful training campus. Therefore, to go beyond good to excellence, learning opportunities, faculty capabilities, curricula and facilities will need to be enhanced. More importantly, we need to pioneer, to discover, to innovate and be prepared to take informed risks so that we can become a world class learning AMC. We need to bring in criticality and academic scholarship to our teaching and training activities. Together, all of these concerted efforts will lead us to achieving our vision of being among the top 10 leading AMCs in the world.”