From left to right : Dr Lim Chee Tiong (CT), Senior Manager, Academic Affairs, Surgery ACP; Ms Jaxii Yong (JX), Senior Manager, Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Paediatrics ACPs; Dr T Jayabaskar (JB), Deputy Director, Academic Affairs, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences ACP.

As administrators, what are your roles in the ACPs?

JB:   The roles of an ACP administrator, like myself, are unique as we are the facilitators for SingHealth and Duke-NUS in implementing the Academic Medicine strategic initiatives in our respective ACPs.   I am involved in managing the day-to-day running of ACP-related programs, working with our Key Appointment Holders (KAHs) on strategic planning and developing programmes to spur innovative changes and improve the culture and activities in education, research and clinical excellence.   I also undertake special projects such as developing new training programmes for nurses and AHPs, developing new educational partnerships and working on philanthropy development for long term sustainability.

CT:   We are the connectors between the clinicians and the leader, and the enablers and facilitators for new research and education activities.   We are also partners to the ACP Chair and KAHs in executing their vision. I facilitate the research activities of the Device Development Office. The concept of having clinical formulation solutions and implementing a development strategy is quite unfamiliar to most people here, so I need to constantly engage our stakeholders and emphasise the benefits of working with the team and set up new administrative policies for a smooth operation.

JX:   Administrators work with a constantly evolving system and we also manage teething problems at the operational level.   We are currently transiting Residency Programme into our ACP and there are issues we need to iron out, such as in finance, and staff reporting structures and flow.   We have also recently raised funds for the ACP and worked on the process internally and with Duke-NUS.

What other areas of work are you constantly exposed to?

   We proactively identify gaps in existing research, education and clinical areas, while proposing suitable initiatives to strengthen our academic mission.

JX:   I am both an administrator for KKH Division of Medicine and for two ACPs.   As I work across institutions and with different systems (KKH, SGH, SingHealth and Duke-NUS),  I have the privilege to see the link between education, research and clinical work in a holistic view.   The advantage is that I can bring the ACP team and clinical administrators together so that everyone works as a team, but I have to be cognisant that the two ACPs are different, though based in the same institutions.

You have different past work experiences. How have they helped you in your current roles?

JB:  My past experience in policy making, research management, and programme development in healthcare, pharmaceutical industry and government organisations has enabled me to explore new initiatives in these areas and to connect to the right external agencies.

CT:   Before my work with Surgery ACP, I was doing research in an A*STAR institute, and medical devices and diagnostics research at Johnsons & Johnsons. It provided clarity in identifying research focus, facilitate external collaborations and implement multiple research initiatives.

JX:   My role in Division of Medicine, focusing on the clinical aspect prior to my expanded role in the ACPs, helps me understand the challenges experienced by our clinicians, identify their areas of needs and connect the right people.

What areas do you think should be enhanced to enable an ACP to progress?

   We need to manage the expectations of the relevant stakeholders involved and provide avenues to support new programmes that are future focused and develop ACPs as centres of excellence in the respective areas. ACPs also can do better in acknowledging nursing and AHP as an integral part of our journey.

CT:   We should reconcile the roles of ACPs with existing institution structures and resources to effectively implement academic initiatives, handle challenges and plan for financial sustainability. ACPs are formed to address the needs of the clinicians in the areas of research and education.   If we understand the clinicians’ needs before devising and implementing any initiatives, the clinicians should (hopefully) be interested and proactively engage the ACPs.