• Reciting the Hippocratic Oath at a virtual White Coat Ceremony today, the new medical students make up the School’s 14thbatch since establishment.
  • Former Republic of Singapore Air Force public relations manager, healthcare policy analyst at Ministry of Health, and Architecture graduate and TCM Physician are among this year’s intake of future clinicians at Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore’s only graduate medical school.


Duke-NUS Medical School today welcomed the 14th cohort of its Doctor of Medicine (MD) programme, jointly awarded by the National University of Singapore and Duke University, at its first virtual White Coat Ceremony. The Class of 2024 comprises 72 students, with six holding Master’s Degrees and one with a PhD. Among other accomplished students from diverse educational backgrounds this year, the School also welcomed a former public relations manager, an architect, a healthcare policy analyst and an ex-Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician.

The White Coat Ceremony, one of two significant occasions in a medical student’s journey, is a special event to formally induct new students into its medical fraternity. The second is the graduation, which culminates with the students entering the medical profession.

"I am delighted to welcome our Class of 2024, a highly accomplished group whose diverse academic and life experiences will add depth and bring fresh perspectives to Singapore’s medical community. The decision of this cohort to enter the medical profession when the world is facing an unprecedented pandemic truly demonstrates their commitment to our current and future healthcare challenges," said Professor Thomas Coffman, Dean of Duke-NUS. 

"The White Coat Ceremony marks the formal start of our students’ journey into the medical profession and indicates their public commitment to uphold the highest personal and professional standards of care to their future patients. We look forward to nurturing our new intake of students by providing them, through the unique Duke-NUS curriculum, with a rich and diverse range of educational experiences so helping them develop the knowledge, skills, insights and capabilities that will prepare them to take on their professional responsibilities as clinicians and to ultimately develop the clinical virtues of respect, humility, and humanity that will underpin a lifetime of clinical service to the people of Singapore," said Professor Ian Curran, Vice-Dean of Education, Duke-NUS.

As a graduate medical school, Duke-NUS has a robust and vigorous screening and assessment process managed by a high level committee. All applicants are expected to have a Bachelor or honours degree as well as excellent scores in Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Each application is reviewed holistically, taking into consideration academic and personal attributes that will help applicants succeed in their chosen career not only as clinicians but also clinicians-plus.

Ms Grace Chew, 29, a former Senior Manager of New Media and Public Relations from the Republic of Singapore Air Force, was inspired to switch careers to be a clinician as the "School’s vision and mission of transforming medicine and improving lives appealed" to her. "My personal and professional experiences taught me how medicine is an incredible mix of human interaction, healing others, and making direct, tangible impact upon those seeking help. These experiences showed me how clinicians could dignify their patients in the most difficult situations and motivated me to listen to my inner voice to do something more to serve and safeguard the community around me," said Ms Chew.

Sharing her sentiments is fellow Singaporean, Mr Leon Lim, 26, who was formerly working at the Ministry of Health. Mr Lim was in the organising committee for Heart2Heart, a cardiovascular health awareness initiative based in Youth Corps Singapore and enjoys volunteering during his free time. "I truly believe that medicine has a crucial role to play in the community. I am sure enrolling at Duke-NUS will give me a fantastic opportunity to combine my passion for healthcare and interest in science. I am also fascinated by the School’s TeamLEAD learning experience, as it focuses heavily on self-directed learning through meaningful discussions," said Mr Lim.

Ms Alyssa Chua, 23, is a recent Architecture graduate, who decided to switch to studying medicine. “This decision to study medicine after architecture was not easy but I evaluated it carefully and I am glad to have the opportunity to pursue my interest with Duke-NUS,” said Ms Chua.

This year, the School also welcomes many international students from around the world, namely from Australia, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea and even countries such as Ukraine and Turkey. Mr Andrii Kovalenko, 25, from Ukraine came with a Masters in Science from Boston University, and Ms Tuleen Sihabi, 21, from Turkey came with a Bachelor of Science from New York University Abu Dhabi. “I was impressed not only by Singapore’s diversity of ethnicities and languages, but also by its similarity, in many aspects, to the United Arab Emirates, where I grew up, in terms of its lifestyle practices and rapid development. It reminded me a lot of home, and the culture in Singapore is very welcoming and supportive and I look forward to bringing a fresh perspective to my fellow classmates at Duke-NUS,” said Ms Sihabi.

The entry of the students to a 4-year Duke-NUS MD programme at the virtual White Coat Ceremony was witnessed by the Governing Board Members of Duke-NUS, SingHealth leaders and clinicians as well as key faculty members and family and friends of the students.

The 4-year MD curriculum founded on the 'Clinicians First, Clinicians Plus' innovative approach is designed to nurture students with the skills to become outstanding clinicians who are able to further contribute to the healthcare system as scientists, educators, innovators, and leaders. The School’s strategic Academic Medicine partnership with Singapore Health Services (SingHealth), Singapore’s largest healthcare group will also provide a rich, multi-disciplinary ecosystem for the students to receive world class clinical training.

For media enquiries, please contact Dharshini Subbiah or Lekshmy Sreekumar, Duke-NUS Communications.