1.  Why are we pursuing Academic Medicine?

As Singapore’s largest healthcare provider, our mission has always been to improve the lives of patients through excellent clinical care, teaching and research. Our strategic partnership in Academic Medicine with Duke-NUS builds on the collective strengths of the SingHealth group with Duke-NUS’ research and medical education capabilities.

Together, we aim to build a vibrant academic culture for new discoveries, sharing of knowledge and care innovation – and bring it to where it matters most: our patients.

Like with many academic medical centres in the world, the partnership between a healthcare provider and university provides a synergistic framework where research, scholarly work and education contribute to the advancement of patient care.

Our pursuit of Academic Medicine is fundamentally to improve patient care and outcomes and to transform healthcare in Singapore.

Shared Mission –
Improving the lives of Patients
Presented by Prof Ranga at the Joint SingHealth & Duke-NUS Board Retreat, May 2011

2.  What is an Academic Clinical Programme? 

An Academic Clinical Programme (ACP) is a cluster-wide framework for all clinical specialties to advance in Academic Medicine with resources and funding support from SingHealth and Duke-NUS. Each ACP brings together specialists in a particular discipline from different institutions to maximise the power of shared knowledge and resources.

The formation of ACPs taps on the combined strengths of the partnership between the SingHealth Group and Duke-NUS. Research, scholarly work and education contribute to the enhancement of patient care. ACPs give recognition to clinicians who have been contributing actively to teaching and research as multi-disciplinary teams that strive to improve patient care and outcomes.

Click on any of these ACPs to find out more about them:

 3.    What functions do the ACPs serve?

The formation of Academic Clinical Programme is consistent with practices in most academic healthcare centres, where the partnership between a healthcare provider and university provides a synergistic framework where research, scholarly work and education contribute to the advancement of patient care.

Our strategic partnership in Academic Medicine builds on the collective strengths of the SingHealth group with Duke-NUS’ research and medical education capabilities. To catalyse cross-fertilization of ideas and sharing of resources, joint institutes with Duke-NUS on Education and faculty development (Academic Medicine Education Institute – AM•EI), and Research (Academic Medicine Research Institute – AMRI) were established to work in tandem with all ACPs.

4.  Which ACPs have been rolled out?

The first wave of ACPs launched in August 2011 comprises:

    • Medicine ACP (MED ACP) – SGH Division of Medicine
    • Obstetrics & Gynaecology ACP (OBGYN ACP) – KKH Division of O&G and SGH Department of O&G
    • Paediatrics ACP (PAEDS ACP) – KKH Division of Medicine and SGH Department of Neonatal & Developmental Medicine

The second wave of ACPs implemented in March 2012 includes:

    • Surgery ACP (SURG ACP) – SGH Division of Surgery, KKH Division of Surgery and NCCS Department of Surgical Oncology
    • Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences ACP (EYE ACP) – SNEC and SERI
    • Neuroscience ACP (NEUROSC ACP) – National Neuroscience Institute

The third wave of ACPs announced and launched in January 2013 includes:

    • Oncology ACP (ONCO ACP) – National Cancer Centre Singapore
    • Cardiovascular Sciences ACP (CVS ACP) – National Heart Centre Singapore
    • Pathology ACP (PATH ACP) – SGH Department of Pathology and KKH Department of Pathology

The next waves of ACPs established in 2014 includes:

    • Radiological Sciences ACP (RADSC ACP) in April 2014 - Radiology departments of SGH, KKH, NCCS, NHCS, NNI, and SGH Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET
    • Oral Health ACP (ORH ACP) in August 2014 - Three clinical departments and six specialties across NDCS, KKH, SHP and CGH

The latest wave of ACPs established in 2016 and 2017 includes:

    • Musculoskeletal Sciences ACP (MSK ACP) in July 2016 - Clinical specialties in Orthopaedic Surgery, Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery and Hand Surgery across SGH, KKH and SKH
    • Anaesthesiology & Perioperative Sciences ACP in July 2016 - Three Anaesthesiology departments in SGH and KKH
    • Family Medicine ACP in January 2017

5. How does an ACP work?

Through SingHealth’s strategic partnership in Academic Medicine with Duke-NUS Medical School, all physicians in the ACPs will be recommended for Academic Titles in recognition of their contributions to the betterment of patient care through teaching, research and care innovation.

The Academic Titles will be given in accordance to the level of contribution and commitment of time in teaching and research efforts. Besides Academic titles, the ACPs provide a vehicle for career enhancements as specialists are able to map out protected time for teaching and research, and be meaningfully rewarded for their contributions.

6. Will all doctors be part of an ACP?

Everyone, especially our clinicians, has an important role to play in Academic Medicine.

Through the ACPs, our doctors will be given opportunities for academic pursuits in teaching and research while maintaining high standards of clinical practice.

The roles of doctors will be expanded through the introduction of Clinician Career Model – offering various career tracks in the roles of Clinician Practitioner, Clinician Educator, Clinician Researcher and Clinician Administrator. These career paths recognise that each individual doctor has different strengths and preferences.

Clinical excellence remains a firm foundation regardless of the career track you choose. However, what is important for doctors in an academic environment is the spirit of inquiry to drive care innovation through research and improve the future of Medicine through education. Ultimately, all our efforts are aimed at improving patient care and outcomes.

For Clinician Practitioners whose competencies are primarily in the area of clinical service, the individual plays an integral role in Academic Medicine by being actively supportive of academic activities of the hospital/institution. For example, referring patients for research projects and education collaborations.

7. How can I play a role even though I may not be a doctor?

Whether you’re a nurse, allied health professional or administrator, you play an important role in Academic Medicine when you adopt the spirit of inquiry to improve care, teach and innovate, right where you are in your department and institution.

For example, it is ingrained in our nurses that they are not just ‘do-ers’, but critical thinkers who can influence their practice and advance medical knowledge. They know that innovation and research are intrinsic to their work and culture and this translates into quality care for patients. Our nurses have to be up-to-date with current research and know the best practices in the field. Only then can they transfer this knowledge to their patients and colleagues.

8. What is the role of nurses in Academic Medicine? 

Academic healthcare centres are involved in care innovation. More often than not, nurses are initiators of QI projects and are already making improvements in care and service delivery.

As care innovators at SingHealth, our nurses and allied health professionals work hand in hand with doctors to improve care and are critical to the success of our Academic Clinical Programs.

9. Must all staff teach and do research? 

Academic Medicine reflects the relentless pursuit of care improvements through research and innovation, with a commitment to share new knowledge and teach the next generation to do likewise.

While all staff are encouraged to support care innovation, not everyone needs to be personally teaching or doing research. Academic Medicine takes a multi-disciplinary team effort, and together we bring the synergies of research and education to improve patient care and outcomes.

10.  What are the criteria for faculty appointments by Duke-NUS?

The criteria for attaining an academic appointment is dependent on:

            •  Contributions to Medical Education
              •  Role in medical education
              • Leadership role in Duke-NUS (if any)
            • Contributions to Academic and Scholarly work
              •  Medical / Scientific publications
              •  Research projects involved in
            • Reference to NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine academic rank attained
            • Clinical Level of Appointment

To ensure academic rigour, a stringent joint-selection process has been put in place to review the clinical and academic achievements of all clinicians before faculty appointments are given.

11.  What is AM·EI?

The Academic Medicine Education Institute (AM·EI) is a joint institute by SingHealth and Duke-NUS that brings together educational expertise from SingHealth and Duke-NUS to form a community of excellent educators and leaders in education who are committed to excellence in teaching and learning.

To find out more about AM·EI’s programs and the community of learners, click here.

12. What is AMRI?

The Academic Medicine Research Institute (AMRI) serves to enable research-oriented careers of SingHealth clinicians with the long-term goal to achieve excellence in innovative translational, clinical and health services research. In collaboration with the Institutional and ACP Vice Chairs (Research) & Heads of the Residency Training Programs, AMRI helps to identify, nurture and support budding and established Clinician Scientists (CS). AMRI provides educational tools and mentoring opportunities via the Khoo Scholars Programme and Research Development Seminars for clinician scientists and CS track residents.

For more details about AMRI, click here.

13. What is a SDDC?

Sprouting from the academic fervour are SingHealth Duke-NUS Disease Centres (SDDCs), taking multidisciplinary practice to a higher level and enabling subspecialties across ACPs to come together and offer patient-centered care. First formed in 2014, the SDDCs break away from the traditional hospital setting, graduating to disease-based care, where patients receive holistic care from a broader base of healthcare professionals without the need to travel to multiple institutions.

There are current six SDDCs:

i)   Head & Neck Centre (led by Assoc Prof Gopal Iyer, NCCS)
     Brings together multidisciplinary specialists to care for patients with tumours of the head and neck region

ii)  Breast Centre (Led by Dr Ong Kong Wee, NCCS)
     The largest centre in Singapore treating the full spectrum of breast conditions, serving patients at SGH, NCCS and KKH

iii) Lung Centre (Led by Assoc Prof Loo Chian Min, SGH)
     Multi-disciplinary centre for cardiovascular and lung treatment

iv)  Diabetes Centre (Led by Dr Bee Yong Mong, SGH)
     The centre providing hollistic and integrated diabetes care for patients

v)   Liver Transplant Centre (Led by Dr Jeyaraj Prema Raj, SGH)
     An Integrated and multidisciplinary centre furthering clinical service, education and research in liver transplant

vi) Blood Cancer Centre (Led by Assoc Prof William Hwang, SGH)

     A multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional service line that delivers integrated and borderless treatment of Blood Cancer diseases

14. What is a Joint Research Institute?

The formation of national research institutes are research collaborations between the ACPs and Duke-NUS’ Signature Research Programmes, to reinforce transformation in clinical services and improve treatments of diseases through collaborative research.

They are:

i)  National Neuroscience Research Institute Singapore (NNRIS)
    Singapore’s largest institute specialising in neuroscience research, bringing together more than 200 neurologists, neuroscientists and research professionals from NNI and Duke-NUS to work in collaboration

ii) National Heart Research Institute Singapore (NHRIS)
    Established with the aim of transforming cardiovascular outcomes, with research themes ranging from heart function and genetics to regenerative medicine

iii) SingHealth Duke-NUS Institute of PRecision Medicine (PRISM)

     To drive, promote and standardise the application of precision medicine strategies to disease conditions relevant in Asia

iv) Health Services Research Institute

     To leverage on SingHealth and Duke-NUS’ existing resources and strengths in Health Services Research (HSR), and serve as a bridge to synergise efforts, minimise practical barriers and maximise the utility and quality of HSR for improved patient care

Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved.