​• The 15th batch comprises 72 highly accomplished students.
• The cohort includes a former lawyer, a HR manager and a horse-riding instructor, and they range in age from 22 to 40 years old.

Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore’s flagship graduate-entry medical school, inducted its first batch of medical students admitted through the School’s conditional admissions tracks at a virtual White Coat Ceremony today. Six graduates from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) are among 72 newly admitted medical students who make up the 15th cohort of MD students at Duke-NUS.

The conditional admissions pathways are offered to outstanding students who wish to pursue graduate-entry medicine at Duke-NUS. Under these pathways, students have the opportunity to pursue diverse academic interests while remaining engaged with the medical landscape at Duke-NUS, enabling them to bring different perspectives and apply their skills into the practice of medicine.

To be admitted to Duke-NUS’ world-class four-year MD programme, each applicant has to go through a rigorous evaluation process. On top of having a bachelor’s or honours degree as well as excellent scores in the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), these applicants have to prove to the School’s evaluation committee how their academic and personal attributes make them well-suited to the profession.

Ms Glenda Wee, 22, is a computer and information technology graduate from SUTD and hopes to draw on her background to come up with new healthcare solutions that will improve lives. She said, “With the understanding of technology and medicine, I’ll be able to use my knowledge in these fields as a tool to identify gaps as well as opportunities and hopefully design innovative solutions to bring clinicians and their patients together as partners.”

Ms Wee is among the 72 students of the Class of 2025, which also includes six master’s degree recipients and one PhD graduate. These students come from diverse educational backgrounds and careers as wide ranging as law, human resources, horse riding as well as allied health. But they are united by their dreams of becoming competent and compassionate doctors.

“Since Duke-NUS was established 16 years ago, we have attracted bright minds from many backgrounds to pursue our innovative medical education programmes. Our unique ‘Clinician First, Clinician Plus’ curriculum aims to develop students who will be outstanding clinicians and also critical thinkers who will contribute to improving the practice of medicine in Singapore and beyond,” said Professor Thomas Coffman, Dean of Duke-NUS.

Coming together at the White Coat Ceremony, the new cohort of medical students recited the Hippocratic Oath, a long-standing tradition that marks their entry into the medical community. They were joined by their families and loved ones along with the School’s management, faculty, alumni and staff.

Comparing the white coat to a superhero cape, Professor Coffman said in his keynote address to the students that “unlike superheroes, we do not gain our ‘powers’ serendipitously overnight—instead, they are a result of years of hard work and training, a journey you, the Class of 2025, are now beginning. And with such great power comes great responsibility, a responsibility we accept by pledging the Hippocratic Oath and upholding its tenets throughout our careers as physicians.”

“The newest batch of highly accomplished students cleared the very high bar set by our selective admissions process as the School remains committed to nurturing compassionate clinicians who are capable of rising to current and future healthcare challenges,” added Professor Ian Curran, Vice-Dean for Education at Duke-NUS. “In taking the Hippocratic Oath, our students pledge to uphold the professional values and personal responsibilities that we as a society expect of them. Over the next four years, they will not only study the art of medicine but also immerse themselves in the science that delivers better treatments and cures. Through this combination, they will be well-placed to lead the pursuit of solutions to the challenges faced by the healthcare industry.”

Mr Edmund Leong, 32, a former Senior Manager at the Government Data Office under the Prime Minister’s Office, made a switch in his career after personal health episode when he experienced first-hand how a clinician could help a patient on a deeply personal level: “I felt very anxious as I was about to undergo a colonoscopy for chronic abdominal pain, and my clinician was able to allay my fears and anxiety. The gravity of this whole episode me realise the pivotal role clinicians play in bringing hope to people who are suffering, and it inspired me to be able to do the same for others.”

Having also seen clinicians at work up close, Mr Nicholas Han, 24, was inspired during his clinical attachments—one of which was at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital—to become a clinician who can alleviate pain and the sense of helplessness for patients and their family members. “There is a lot more to being a medical professional than just helping patients with their medical conditions,” said Mr Han, who is Ngee Ann Kongsi Distinguished Scholar. “With the Duke-NUS approach of ‘Clinicians First, Clinicians Plus’, I hope to become a well-rounded doctor who is excellent at all aspects of the job!”

From the NUS-Duke-NUS conditional admissions track, Ms Teo Kaye Min, 23, is similarly excited to find ways to become a Clinician Plus through the skills that she has picked up during her undergraduate years. “With my background in engineering, I hope to effect change in the medical field through improving medical practice or devising innovative treatment options,” she said.

Founded on Duke-NUS’ ‘Clinicians First, Clinicians Plus’ approach, the four-year MD programme is designed to cultivate students into exemplary clinicians who can contribute meaningfully to the healthcare system as scientists, educators, innovators and leaders. Through the School’s strategic partnership with Singapore Health Services (SingHealth), students will be able to receive world class training in a rich, multi-disciplinary ecosystem provided by Singapore’s largest healthcare group. At the end of the programme, graduates from the programme will receive their degrees, which are jointly awarded by the National University of Singapore and Duke University.

The 15th cohort of students were joined by their families, friends, Duke-NUS leadership and Master Academic Clinicians as well as senior faculty from across the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre to celebrate the start of their four-year programme.