• Centre expected to train more than 1,000 healthcare practitioners each year
  • World-renowned expert in epithelial stem cell biology conferred the Lee Seng Teik and Lee Hoo Leng Professorship in Plastic Surgery and Regenerative Medicine

Singapore, 24 October 2015 – The SingHealth Duke-NUS Surgical Skills and Simulation Centre was launched today on SGH Campus. The opening, officiated by Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health, was held in conjunction with the 2nd SingHealth Surgical Congress, a biennial event that attracts more than 600 local and international surgeons, procedural specialists, nurses, allied health professionals and medical students.

Themed “Surgical Excellence through Collaboration”, the Congress is a platform for participants to hone their skills, learn best practices and keep abreast with the latest advances in surgery. The two-day programme features distinguished local and overseas speakers presenting on a range of topics which includes minimally invasive surgery, vascular and cardiothoracic surgery, reconstructive surgery, hepato-pancreato-biliary surgery, medical device development, trauma and critical care.  

“Evidence has shown that surgical outcomes are critically dependent on the entire medical team and not solely on individual surgeons. In coming together to exchange ideas and best practices with one another, we are able to tap on the collective wisdom of different specialists to set new benchmarks and address common challenges with the aim to improve outcomes for our patients”, said Dr Tan Hiang Khoon, Co-organising Chairperson.  

New Facility to Advance Surgical Training 

Located within Academia, SingHealth’s healthcare training hub located on SGH Campus, the SingHealth Duke-NUS Surgical Skills and Simulation Centre (SSSC) offers state-of-the-art facilities for surgical and procedural skills training.

“Simulation is an essential part of skills training in the healthcare industry and its importance will continue to grow as it impacts patient safety and the delivery of quality care. As a key clinical and education partner for academic institutes and the industry, the new facility will allow our Academic Medical Centre to train more than 1,000 local and overseas healthcare practitioners each year. This is a 20 per cent increase from our current intake and reflects the growing demand for such training”, said Associate Professor Andrew Tan, Director, SingHealth Duke-NUS Surgical Skills and Simulation Centre.

Surgical, Simulation and Procedural Skills Training Under One Roof

Purpose-built to meet the diverse needs of 20 specialties and subspecialties, the Centre offers healthcare practitioners a range of surgical, simulation and procedural skills courses under one roof. Its comprehensive curriculum not only caters to surgeons, nurses and medical students but also procedural specialists such as anaesthetists, gastroenterologists and respiratory physicians.

To facilitate learning without borders, the Centre is ‘wired’ to provide live streaming and recordings of training sessions. Its 24-hour Surgical Simulation Laboratory, equipped with high-fidelity procedural simulators for key surgical techniques in minimally invasive surgery, endoscopy and endovascular procedures, further allows surgeons to hone their skills at their own pace, at any time. This is a feature that is particularly useful to accommodate the schedules of medical students and surgeons as they pursue continuous training. 

Furthering Research in Plastic Surgery and Regenerative Medicine

SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre also announced the conferment of the Lee Seng Teik and Lee Hoo Leng Professorship in Plastic Surgery and Regenerative Medicine on Professor Yann Barrandon at the Congress today. Prof Barrandon is joint professor of Stem Cell Dynamics at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale Lausanne (EPFL) and Lausanne University, and Head of the Department of Experimental Surgery at the Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland.

The Professorship recognises Prof Barrandon as an outstanding clinician, researcher and educator who has demonstrated academic leadership and is a pioneer in advancing the frontiers of translational skin research and regenerative medicine. He is a world-renowned expert in epithelial stem cell biology, and has made significant contributions towards the understanding of basic epithelial stem cell biology and advancements in stem cell therapy. His current research focuses on the potency of various epithelial stem cells, the role of variations in microenvironment on stem cell behavior and translational research in gene therapy to treat dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa; a rare but devastating congenital disease of the skin.

In addition to publishing and reviewing in numerous prestigious journals, Prof Barrandon reviews for many international agencies, including the National University of Singapore (NUS). In 1991, he was invited as a visiting expert on cell therapy by the Ministry of Health to develop skin culture expertise at the Singapore General Hospital’s Burns Centre. The technology involves “growing” skin in the laboratory and is critical to saving the lives of those suffering from major burns. He has maintained a long lasting collaboration with the hospital’s Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and has trained several Singaporean scientists in Paris and Lausanne. Prof Barrandon heads the Stem Cell Dynamics laboratory at A*STAR’s Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) at Biopolis, initiated to create collaborations between A*STAR and EPFL.