“He has a special skill – that of listening and encouraging. As the Vice Chair for Faculty & Professional Development (F&PD), he has been a great source of support and sounding board for us,” shared Assoc Prof Yeo Khung Keong, Deputy CEO (Data Science & Innovation) and Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology. 

Assoc Prof Yeo is referring to Asst Prof Kurugulasigamoney Gunasegaran, Senior Consultant from the Department of Cardiology, or better known simply as Dr Guna. Since the establishment of Cardiovascular Sciences Academic Clinical Programme (CVS ACP) 2012, Dr Guna has been leading the education portfolio, and later assumed the role of Vice Chair for F&PD in 2017. During his tenure, he has helped shape, and build the training and education pillars in CVS ACP, such as supporting programme directors in enhancing medical students’ education programme and residency programmes. In May 2022, Dr Guna officially handed the reins over to Assoc Prof Chin Chee Tang, Chief Risk Officer and Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology. 

With his genuine and nurturing nature, Dr Guna (with tie), has formed strong bonds with fellow cardiologists and staff.

Describing him as a people’s leader, Tasha Tan, Manager, ACP, said, “Dr Guna is a joy to work with as he respects people’s opinions in decision-making. His genuine character and ability to listen to each of us truly won the hearts of his co-workers!” 

Dr Guna shares more about his journey below. 

What were your initial thoughts when you first embarked on the ACP journey as VC, F&PD? 

I had never done anything like this before and was uncertain how to proceed. However, I was fortunate to have gotten some pointers from our Chief Executive Officer, Prof Terrance Chua as well as great support from a team of people representing the various areas in NHCS, namely Ms Tasha Tan from ACP (overseeing the administrative areas), Dr Teo Lee Wah from Nursing, and Ms Hon Jin Shing from Pharmacy (representing Allied Health). I learnt a lot from their respective staff programmes which were already well-established. In addition, the guidance I received from Prof Thomas Bashore from Duke University helped pushed me forward. Prof Bashore is renowned for his deep commitment in teaching and mentoring while serving as the Programme Director for the Cardiology Fellowship at Duke University. 

Looking back, what has been the most challenging area in this journey and how did you overcome it? 

The most challenging part was trying to arrange programmes that are suited for a wide variety of staff at NHCS. While the other staff categories already had established programmes, the medical group had not started any formally yet, hence it was challenging to get the CVS ACP programme off the ground. 

What motivated you the most?

Getting to meet people from different areas and trying to see how we could help guide them in their career journey at NHCS. 

Your greatest strength is your ability to connect with people - What do you think of this?

Connecting with people is something I enjoy and will continue to do. I think trying to connect with people from different areas in NHCS is an integral part of keeping the organisation a place that people would like to work and excel in – I strongly believe that the strength of the NHCS is its people. 

What’s next for you? 

My successor, Assoc Prof Chin Chee Tang is very qualified and committed to this role. I am confident he will take faculty development to greater heights. For me, I hope to continue my interactions with our fellow colleagues and contribute in whatever way I can. 

Assoc Prof Chin humbly shared that he was initially surprised and even intimidated upon learning about the new role he is to take on. “Dr Guna has been such an outstanding example of a mentor and friend, and always has the interests of others first and foremost. It will be a big task to even attempt to fill those shoes.” 

Sharing his hopes for the road ahead, Assoc Prof Chin aims to continue spreading the message that faculty development is a priority in CVS ACP and to this end, facilitate efforts in accessing resources or funding required to achieve staff ambitions, with the ultimate goal of strengthening CVS ACP into a strong pillar at SingHealth.

We thank Dr Guna for his invaluable contributions and look forward to Assoc Prof Chin’s leadership in elevating the training and capability of medical and healthcare professionals.