The newly inducted Master Academic Clinicians on stage with SingHealth Chairman Mr Cheng Wai Keung (first left), SingHealth Deputy Group CEO for Medical and Clinical Services Professor Fong Kok Yong (second left), Professor Thomas Coffman (second right) and Duke-NUS Chairman Mr Goh Yew Lin (first right). 

Duke-NUS inducted nine senior clinicians from the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre (AMC) into the Hall of Master Academic Clinicians—the highest recognition for outstanding clinical faculty conferred by the School. This was the third cohort to be inducted into the Hall. A 100-strong audience celebrated the occasion in the Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium on 23 February with many more tuning in online to offer their congratulations.

But that was not the only reason to celebrate.

“While we’re here today to welcome a new group of Master Academic Clinicians, we have two additional reasons to celebrate,” said Duke-NUS Dean Professor Thomas Coffman in his welcome remarks, referring to the 17 former academic chairs of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Clinical Programmes (ACPs) and 20 newly promoted or appointed senior clinical faculty members who were recognised at the event.

Addressing the nine about-to-be inducted Master Academic Clinicians, Prof Coffman thanked them for their contributions: “They are beacons within the health system, guiding and encouraging peers and younger doctors alike, inspiring the next generation of ‘Clinicians Plus’. They really are the best of us.”

Before the Master Academic Clinicians stepped on stage to receive their awards from Prof Coffman and Duke-NUS Governing Board Chairman Mr Goh Yew Lin, they reflected on their journey in academic medicine in a short video, sharing what motivates them to pursue academic medicine, the challenges they faced as well as offering advice for junior doctors hoping to forge a path in academic medicine.

The nine Master Academic Clinicians join 16 previous inductees who were inducted in 2021 and 2022, bringing the number of Master Academic Clinicians at the AMC to 25.  

“My hope is that this ceremony will become a tradition, where we gather each year to honour this very special group of people, while having the highly accomplished group of past awardees here to welcome them into their circle of honour,” added Prof Coffman.

The spotlight then shifted to the former academic chairs from the School’s 15 ACPs who were honoured for their dedication and contributions to advancing academic medicine. Established in 2011, the ACPs provide a framework which enables the AMC to integrate the strengths of Duke-NUS’ medical education and research capabilities with SingHealth’s clinical expertise.

Highlighting the contributions of the former academic chairs in leading the ACPs, Prof Coffman said: “Most of these individuals have been with us since the very beginning, when the vision for a world-class AMC on this campus was first hatched…They navigated many challenges, driven by a dedication to advance academic medicine and they succeeded, establishing the strong foundation upon which our AMC rests.”

At the same ceremony, 20 senior clinical faculty members also marked new milestones in their careers as they were appointed or promoted to the ranks of associate and full professor in recognition of their stellar academic accomplishments in their respective fields.

“And from this group, I’m certain the future generations of MACs will arise,” added Prof Coffman.

The ceremony drew to a close with SingHealth Deputy Group CEO for Medical and Clinical Services and Duke-NUS Governing Board member Professor Fong Kok Yong reflecting on the AMC’s achievements in advancing academic medicine: “We have arrived at a very important milestone. The milestone of openly recognising that clinical care and academia can coexist, and not only coexist, but thrive at the highest level, side by side in a clinician. So you can be a good clinician and you can be a good academic clinician.”