Message from Our Dean: Grateful, proud and inspired

March 2022 marks the end of the first year since I arrived in Singapore and joined the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. I have nothing much to say except being grateful, proud and inspired.

I am grateful that the Lee Foundation has given not only a generous donation but also trust for us to build this medical school under the name of the late philanthropist Mr Lee Kong Chian. The Lee family is truly legendary, both in their successful business undertakings, as well their numerous gifts to society. In the past 10 years, the Lee Foundation has given us tremendous support in the development of LKCMedicine. When I visited Dr Lee Seng Tee (son of Mr Lee Kong Chian) and his wife at the Lee’s mansion on his 99th birthday, I reported to them the success of the Imperial College London and NTU collaboration agreement, and the opening of a new chapter for LKCMedicine in 2028. Dr Lee and Mrs Lee gave us their full support and blessings for the future of the School. Not a sense of worry, not a single word of skepticism; the trust that they have given us is tremendous.

I am grateful also to the leadership of Imperial College: Faculty of Medicine Dean Prof Jonathan Weber and his team, Prof Desmond Johnston, Dr Martin Lupton and others. For the past 12 years, colleagues at Imperial have helped LKCMedicine set the foundations of our MBBS programme, and ensure our curriculum is up to the standard set by their renowned medical school in London. They have also helped establish various research opportunities in the areas of infectious disease, population health, respiratory medicine, neuroscience, and dementia, just to name a few. There are faculty members who joined us from Imperial over the years who have become pillars of our teaching and research faculty in LKCMedicine, as well as leaders of the School. Their contributions are instrumental to the success of this School. To express our gratitude, I presented them with two calligraphies during my recent visit to Imperial College.

On a personal level, I am grateful to my leadership team: my Vice-Deans Profs Lim Kah Leong, Jennifer Cleland, Pang Weng Sun, Andrew Tan, and Chief Operating Officer Dr Serene Ng, for their valuable advice and immense assistance during my first year in the School. They are my counsellors, my comrades, and my best friends. In the past one year, we faced the challenges of COVID-19 that affected every aspect of our teaching and how we conducted examinations; we encountered unanticipated budgetary constraints; we negotiated with Imperial College and the National Healthcare Group (NHG) on our collaboration agreements. The perseverance and selfless attitude of the leadership team helped us to sail through all these challenges and hurdles. 

LKCMedicine is a young and relatively small medical school. To date, the School has graduated four cohorts of young doctors who received positive feedback from both professionals and the public on their performance. One more cohort will be joining the healthcare workforce next month. We have introduced postgraduate programmes in the form of the PhD programme and a graduate diploma. Last year, LKCMedicine became the first medical school in Singapore and fourth in Asia to receive the internationally acclaimed ASPIRE award for innovation and excellence in the MBBS curriculum development, and a commendation for Student Engagement. In just 10 years, we are ranked one of the top 100 medical schools in the world. Despite having a small faculty size and the young age of the School, our research endeavours have reached international levels, with impact and citation matching top-tier medical schools in the region. Our inventions have improved diagnosis and the management of COVID-19. Our innovations in technology and healthcare are set to change the practise of Medicine. I am proud to join and lead LKCMedicine to the next phase of development.

Looking forward, I am confident that LKCMedicine will grow from strength to strength. We have finished drafting the strategic plan for the next five years: the LKCMedicine 2025. In order to take our research to the next level of excellence, we are determined to build stronger collaborations with other colleges and schools in NTU – Engineering, Science, Business and Social Sciences. In order to ensure our training of tomorrow’s doctors remain successful and our research endeavours translate well to benefit patients, we resolve to build stronger ties with NHG and healthcare institutions in the other clusters. In order to expand our students’ horizons and put LKCMedicine on the map of academic medicine, we are taking steps to establish new international partnerships with top-tier medical schools in different continents. LKCMedicine is turning a new chapter in her development. And I am inspired to lead LKCMedicine to become a world-class medical school.