​SingHealth Duke-NUS Charity Golf 2016 raises a total of $397,900 for medical research and education.

With a rapidly ageing population and evolving disease patterns, the search for better outcomes and treatments for patients can only come through a tenacious focus on constant research and education.

Professor Tan Ser Kiat, Patron of SingHealth Duke-NUS Charity Golf 2016, said, “The aim of our Academic Medical Centre is to ensure that we are always able to provide the best care for our patients with the latest technology and new knowledge. Research and education are key drivers that enable us to do so.”

However, research, in particular, is a costly process, with a long road to fruition. Biomedical research typically takes 10 to 15 years before ideas in the laboratory translate to real benefits for patients. This investment to find new treatments and cures can amount to millions of dollars.

“We cannot rely entirely on Government funding as many different agencies compete for the same pool of research grants. Yet if we do not engage in medical research, we will never advance,” explained Prof Tan.

Since 2011, the SingHealth-Duke NUS Charity Golf has raised close to $2 million for research and education initiatives. For the first time this year, the Charity Golf also featured an auction of 16 fine wines, bringing the total amount raised to $397,900.

Prof Tan Ser Kiat (left) is patron of the charity event

Associate Professor Andrew Chin, Head and Senior Consultant of Hand Surgery, SGH, has been actively involved helping to secure wines for each year’s auction. “It isn’t easy getting donors to part with some of the rare wines from their collection,” Dr Chin said. “However, it is very current gloomy economic outlook, there are many who are willing to support us with monetary and in-kind donations.”

Long-time corporate sponsors like Club 21 and Goldheart have been supporting the event since 2012. Goldheart believes that “it is important to nurture more scientists and researchers to seek constant advancements in medical knowledge, life-saving treatments and cures.” This year’s event also saw new sponsors such as Art Workz and de la Cour.

To Prof Tan, there are three objectives of these fundraising events. “First, we can fuel new and innovative projects so that we keep getting better at what we do. Second, clinicians have the opportunity to build their network of friends outside the healthcare community. Lastly, by being involved in fundraising, clinicians realise that securing research funds does not come easily, especially in times of economic downturn. Hopefully, there is a better appreciation of the efforts that go into strengthening our AMC journey.”

Regardless of whether it is monetary contributions, donations in-kind or contributions of time and effort, Prof Tan Kok Chai, who has served as the organising chairman for the Charity Golf since its inception, considers them philanthropic ‘gifts’ that will better healthcare outcomes for future generations. “What motivates me to keep contributing to this event year after year, is the potential to raise funds for research programmes that we really need. More importantly, I know that whatever money we manage to raise will, in one way or another, impact the lives of our patients.”