Duke-NUS’ 17th cohort of the MD programme includes 72 highly accomplished students from various background, ranging from science to law enforcement.

Duke-NUS Medical School marked a significant milestone today as it officially inducted the 17th cohort of its Doctor of Medicine (MD) programme in a White Coat Ceremony. The ceremony celebrated the remarkable career switches of several students, including a defence engineer, a police officer and a policy analyst, who have embarked on a journey to become compassionate and forward-thinking medical professionals.

The White Coat Ceremony, held at SingHealth's Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium, symbolises the transition of medical students into the field of medicine. The newest cohort of 72 students includes working adults from various industries, along with recent science, law and accounting graduates. Notably, the group also includes 10 students with master's degrees and one PhD holder, highlighting the diverse backgrounds of the incoming class.

Ms Denise Loh, a former Special Victims Unit Investigation Officer in the Singapore Police Force, who also holds a PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, shared her motivations for the career switch: "Despite the similarities in career goals for a police officer and a doctor—which is to save lives—I felt that I could do more as a doctor and that reignited my dream of becoming a doctor. And now that I'm here, I believe my experiences thus far will come in handy when I serve my patients in the future."

Professor Thomas Coffman, Dean of Duke-NUS, emphasised the importance of nurturing students from diverse backgrounds: "By nurturing students from diverse backgrounds, we seed our healthcare ecosystem with clinicians who can bring fresh perspectives to help tackle pressing healthcare challenges."

He also elaborated on the changing expectations for future doctors: "From the emergence of artificial intelligence to the growing threat from climate change to the challenges of population health, the nature of healthcare delivery will change dramatically over the coming years. Our dynamic curriculum will enable our students to easily adapt their skills to this evolving landscape."

Selected through rigorous admission processes, the students in the Class of 2027 have demonstrated their capabilities through interviews, strict assessments and academic achievements. They are now poised to become future medical leaders in Singapore and beyond.

Mr Dennis Chew, a former defence engineer at DSO National Laboratories, shared his vision as a future clinician: "I hope to take advantage of my unique perspective to become a more effective clinician-researcher and to be the link between research that's carried out in the labs and the reality on the ground, combining technical and experiential knowledge to more effectively advocate for my patients."

Ms Beatrix Tang, a recipient of the Chua Hock Tat & Lee Pui King Bursary, expressed gratitude for the support she received: "Receiving the bursary for my medical studies at Duke-NUS has fundamentally shaped my journey towards becoming a compassionate physician. This generous support has alleviated the financial burden, allowing me to focus on my studies and clinical experiences." Ms Tang echoes the gratitude of over 60 per cent of the students who benefit from a range of student financial aid at Duke-NUS.

Mr Teo Kai Qin, an engineer with the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Defence Science and Technology Agency, shared his inspirations for applying to Duke-NUS: "Having a strong sense of purpose in my job and being of service to the people around me inspire me to give my best every day. I also feel a strong sense of indignance whenever I hear of someone from my circle of family, friends and colleagues diagnosed with cancer or succumbing to it. It spurs me on—I want to do something about it and not be a bystander."

Duke-NUS is committed to shaping well-rounded physicians and clinicians who possess not only the knowledge and skills necessary for medical practice but also the empathy and commitment to patient care. The MD programme's all-encompassing curriculum is designed to nurture students into competent and compassionate clinicians who can shape the future landscape of healthcare as scientists, educators, innovators, and leaders. The MD degree is jointly awarded by Duke University and the National University of Singapore. Through the School's strategic partnership with SingHealth, students will receive world-class training in a rich, multi-disciplinary ecosystem provided by Singapore's largest healthcare group.

At the ceremony, the students, by donning their white coats in front of their loved ones, faculty members, and healthcare professionals, demonstrated their dedication to upholding the highest standards of medical ethics, empathy and professionalism throughout their lifelong pursuit of knowledge and service.

With the induction of this diverse and talented cohort, Duke-NUS Medical School reaffirms its commitment to producing exceptional medical professionals who will contribute significantly to the healthcare landscape in Singapore and beyond.

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