"Life is like a box of chocolates."

Like the famous movie character who took what life has to offer and ran with it, Dr Brian Chan made the most out of all the "chocolates" that his medical school life has had to offer him, to prepare himself for life as a clinician.

The 29 year old did not only pick and polish the "excel-at-academics" chocolate, he did the same with the "hone-leadership-skills" chocolate, and "give-back-to-the-community" chocolate, making him a well-rounded graduate ready to contribute to the healthcare community.

Dr Chan is one of Duke NUS Medical School's most recent MD graduates. He will be commencing his Post Graduate Year 1 training programme in SingHealth and hopes to pursue specialty training in neurological surgery.

He had received a degree in Life Sciences from the National University of Singapore before starting his journey in medicine. He said, "I'm grateful to Duke-NUS for the opportunity to pursue my passion in life. The past four years have been full of opportunities and challenges."

And what a journey the past four years had been for him.

On 3 June 2017, a total of 61 Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) graduates received their degrees from Dean of Duke-NUS, Professor Thomas Coffman and Guest-of-Honour, Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence. 
A total of 47 MD graduates, 5 MD/PhD graduates and 9 PhD graduates celebrated their graduation at Academia. Read more…

If there’s anyone that fits the description of being a natural born and driven leader, it would be Dr Brian Chan. Dr Chan was president of his class throughout his time at Duke-NUS, representing his fellow students and giving them a voice. His dedication and active leadership in numerous educational and community service initiatives won him the 10th Anniversary Duke-NUS Scholarship in 2015.       

Studying medicine while being a stand-out leader would have been enough for any student, but Dr Chan wanted to prepare himself as much as he can for life as a clinician. So he elected to be a part of Duke-NUS' Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC).

"The LIC allowed me to experience a continuity of relationships with faculty preceptors and peers, longitudinal care of patients, and concurrent exposure to multiple disciplines in tandem. I feel it had prepared me to be a more holistic physician."

In his third year, Dr Chan conducted a study on the critical care of patients with severe traumatic brain injury, mentored by Associate Professor Ng Wai Hoe, Medical Director and Senior Consultant, Neurosurgery, at the National Neuroscience Institute. His research thesis won him an AM-ETHOS Duke-NUS Medical Student Research Fellowship LEAP Award for Excellence.

More than just focusing on academics, the avid runner also dedicated his time to volunteerism and humanitarian efforts.

Giving back to the community, the avid runner volunteered as a guide for Runninghour, a running club for the visually and intellectually challenged. He has also led Project Dove (Duke-NUS Overseas Volunteering Expedition), running medical camps in Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia, and volunteered for numerous international humanitarian efforts with recognised NGOs.

At the graduation ceremony, Duke-NUS Dean, Professor Thomas Coffman advised the MD graduates "Value and learn from each of your patients, who will always be your most powerful teachers. And no matter where your career path eventually takes you, work hard to become the best clinician you can be in order to provide the best and most compassionate care and support to your patients."

Dr Chan has made the most out of all the sweets the Duke-NUS experience had to offer. Now it is time for him and his fellow graduates to take this advice to heart and make an impact on the lives of our patients.

"We could not have succeeded without the support of our school, faculty, friends and family. I believe I speak for all of us when I say that this graduation makes the many sacrifices and sleepless nights worth it."

Run Brian, run!