Even without the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry has already undergone many changes that are driven by scientific advancements, technological breakthroughs and new approaches such as the advent of personalized medicine. To thrive in this rapidly changing landscape, medical students must adopt a growth mindset and look beyond their own specializations to foster collaborations across disciplines and roles.

“Many healthcare challenges are also intimately linked to national challenges, such as an aging population, economic restructuring, digital disruptions, trends and changes in society, as well as the growing expectations of the population, ”said clinical professor Hsu Pon Poh, president of SingHealth. -Duke-NUS and the Clinician-Innovators Program at the University of Technology and Design of Singapore (SUTD), and Associate Dean of the Office of Academic and Clinical Development at Duke-NUS.

The close partnership between Duke-NUS Medical School and SingHealth, Singapore’s largest healthcare group, offers students a wide range of opportunities to delve into research and innovation to address these challenges. Recently launched institutes like the Academic Medicine Innovation Institute and the SingHealth Duke-NUS Regenerative Medicine Institute in Singapore allow students to work with emerging technologies and data, as well as new therapies and tools in a multidisciplinary environment. – going beyond the traditional principles of medical education.

Professor Hsu said, “Medicine was a master’s degree and a combination of arts, sciences and even philosophy in the past, but in our future daily practice of medicine, we will need elements of cross-border collaboration, d innovation, breakthrough technology and an even greater dose. of humanity.


Clinical Associate Professor Phua Ghee Chee, who is the Chief and Senior Consultant of Respiratory Medicine and Critical Care at Singapore General Hospital and Director of Clinical Services at SingHealth Duke-NUS Lung Center, has seen many changes in his career as a respiratory and intensive specialist. care doctor.

“In the past, we didn’t have the benefit of having electronic medical records providing real-time patient data, such as vital signs, blood results and radiology. We also didn’t have any online resources providing information at hand. We had to manually trace the results by calling the laboratories, recovering the X-ray films and memorizing a lot of medical information, ”he said.

Professor Hsu agrees that medicine has changed dramatically since the early days of his career: “With the tremendous advancements in medicine over the past decades, medical treatments and care plans for our patients have evolved to be more refined, more sophisticated, more precise and more complex. . “

To deal with this growing complexity, Duke-NUS has built its MD program around its Clinicians First, Clinicians Plus vision. Clinicians first, Clinicians Plus aims to develop healthcare professionals who are first and foremost competent clinicians, and who also expand their capacities to become clinician scientists, educators, innovators and leaders.

One of its guiding principles is to actively cultivate diversity within its student body. Duke-NUS is looking for students from a variety of undergraduate academic backgrounds and disciplines. Drawing on a unique set of expertise, skills and experiences is essential when it comes to training progressive, innovative and open-minded clinicians who can open new avenues while ensuring that patients receive the best possible care.


Associate Clinical Professor Phua Ghee Chee believes strong values ​​are the foundation of the medical profession.

The digitization of healthcare has accelerated further with the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Assoc Phua said: “The pandemic has provided a catalyst for innovation and transformation. In particular, technology and AI-assisted decision making will have a major impact. New skill sets and new mindsets are needed.

Duke-NUS School of Medicine practices a progressive learning pedagogy known as TeamLEAD (Learn, Engage, Apply and Develop) to help its students develop material and flexible abilities alongside medical knowledge. Pedagogy encourages students to develop critical thinking skills by reading additional material before attending class to ensure class sessions are more productive, as students can engage in small group discussions and in collaborative problem solving.

“TeamLEAD facilitates strong teamwork and communication,” explained Professor Assoc Phua. “I believe that to be ready for the future, medical students should be exposed to electives such as innovation, technology, data science, translation research, and medical humanities. Finally, strong values ​​are the foundation of the medical profession and it is imperative to instill them through mentorship. “

In addition to providing students with plenty of mentoring opportunities throughout their studies, Duke-NUS also helps faculty become impactful mentors through programs such as the Academic Medicine- AM-ETHOS Mentor Development Fellowship. Enhancing Training, Healthcare, Outcomes & Standards). Fellows are mentored by senior professors from Duke Health in Durham, USA. Afterward, they will help implement a strong academic mentoring culture and supportive framework at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Center.


Cross-border collaboration, disruptive technology and a great deal of humanity are needed in the daily practice of medicine, says clinical professor Hsu Pon Poh.
Cross-border collaboration, disruptive technology and a great deal of humanity are needed in the daily practice of medicine, says clinical professor Hsu Pon Poh.

According to Professor Hsu, there are three skill sets that medical students must adopt to be successful as clinicians: hardware, which refers to the latest clinical knowledge, technological advances and skills; software, which includes situational awareness, communication and collaborative skills; and perhaps most important of all – heartware.

“A moral compass with true northern values ​​to serve humanity, coupled with a strong sense of mission, clarity of purpose and a lasting passion to serve, is imperative,” said Prof Hsu.

Assoc Prof Phua agrees. “Technology has improved healthcare. However, I frequently remind students and young physicians to spend more time interacting with patients rather than their computers. A lot can change, but the human connection remains the same.

This is why Duke-NUS students are encouraged to give back through community service projects that range from organizing camps for children whose family members have cancer to raising awareness of mental wellness through a virtual day of pet therapy and volunteering at the Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) Clinic and activity center for seniors SilverACE. Beyond doing good, community service projects offer Duke-NUS students the opportunity to shape their personal values ​​and put them into practice, so that they can be guided by these principles throughout their careers.

Professor Assoc Phua said: “Medical students should take full advantage of the learning opportunities offered by the school to prepare them for the future. They should arm themselves not only with knowledge and skills, but also with the attitude and values ​​necessary to be excellent physicians. “

Learn more about Duke-NUS School of Medicine.

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