Duke-NUS Dean Professor Thomas Coffman leads the audience in a round of applause for the clinical faculty members who received their promotions, appointments and 15-year long service awards at the ceremony on 27 July

Duke-NUS celebrated the promotion and new appointment of senior clinical faculty at the School’s Amphitheatre on Wednesday, 27 July 2022. During the same celebrations, the School also recognised its very own pioneer clinicians who have served Duke-NUS since its inception and received their 15-year long service award.

Opening the celebrations, Duke-NUS Dean Professor Thomas Coffman welcomed the clinical faculty members and well-wishers from the School and the wider Academic Medical Centre (AMC).

“Today, we are celebrating our distinguished clinical faculty and their dedication to our academic medicine mission. That is to build a strong academic medicine culture and to educate the next generation of medical leaders,” said Prof Coffman, who joined the celebrations virtually.

“Thank you for your commitment to this academic medicine journey. Some of you have been on this road for a very long time. But all of you have contributed to our successes to becoming a world-class AMC,” he added.

The newly promoted and appointed senior faculty join Vice-Dean for Academic and Clinical Development Clinical Associate Professor Chow Wan Cheng (front, centre) for a group photo.

Following his welcome remarks, newly appointed and promoted senior clinical faculty were called to the stage to receive their plaques. A total of 21 senior clinical faculty were promoted or appointed to associate and full professors, two of the highest academic ranks. Those who were able to attend the event received their award from Vice-Dean for Academic and Clinical Development Clinical Associate Professor Chow Wan Cheng.

After the promotions and new appointments, the audience watched a video montage that set the stage for the next group of awardees, who were instrumental in the setting up of the School. For many of them, joining this new venture was both a “leap of faith” as well as a chance to shape a new medical curriculum and School culture—in other words, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The 15-year long service award recipients gather for a commemorative photo with Clin Assoc Prof Chow (front, centre) as well as Senior Vice-Dean for Corporate Services Ms Karen Chang (second left) and Vice-Dean for Education Professor Ian Curran (right)

Thirteen clinical faculty members received their long service awards and five of them stepped forward to talk about the early days and how they first became involved in the School.

One of these pioneers, and now Duke-NUS Senior Advisor and Benjamin Sheares Professor of Academic Medicine, Professor Soo Khee Chee summed up everyone’s experience when he said that what the School had achieved was “beyond our imagination”.

Prof Soo pointed to the new curriculum, novel teaching pedagogy—called TeamLEAD—and Singapore General Hospital’s stellar showing in Newsweek’s ranking of hospitals, as some of the School’s and wider Academic Medical Centre’s achievements that resulted because of the people who got involved in the setting up of the School and helped trigger a cultural sea change.

Getting involved in the new medical school also offered other joys. He reflected on the joy that clinicians like him experienced when teaching “brilliant young minds”. “It is such a privilege to see us turning on the light bulbs in their minds,” said Prof Soo.

After hearing the candid memories and inspiring experiences from Prof Soo and his fellow pioneers, Assoc Prof Chow stepped forward to deliver her closing remarks, saying that “it is my honour” to recognise all the senior clinical faculty.

“I want to thank them for their courage and their conviction,” said Assoc Prof Chow, adding that she hoped that the newly promoted and appointed faculty would in turn inspire and mentor the next generation to reach even greater heights.

Following the official celebrations, the award recipients and invited guests had a chance to catch up during an informal reception held in the Atrium.