News: More sports medicine professionals gear up to meet growing need

By Kimberley Wang, Manager, Media and Publications, Communications and Outreach

On 28 January, LKCMedicine celebrated the graduation of its third cohort of Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine (GDSM) students – the Class of 2021.

Launched in 2018, GDSM is the first graduate sports medicine programme in Singapore to equip medical practitioners, including general practitioners, with the knowledge and skills to meet the growing demand for sports medicine services. Currently, these services are only available at specialist clinics in public hospitals and private clinics. 

The scope of sports medicine practice has expanded beyond sports-related injuries to include prevention of common chronic diseases and treatment of general musculoskeletal injuries, which are particularly common in older people. 

Developed by LKCMedicine in partnership with the Singapore Sport and Exercise Medicine Centre at Changi General Hospital, the programme enables medical doctors to better prevent and treat the growing number of musculoskeletal and sports-related injuries and ailments in a population which is rapidly ageing but staying active longer.

With a strong emphasis on delivering high quality content and enhancing the learning experience for students, GDSM has been consistently over-subscribed since its inception.

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, 24 graduates from the Class of 2021 crossed the hurdles to successfully complete the one-year programme.

In his opening remarks, LKCMedicine Dean Professor Joseph Sung commended the graduates for completing their graduate diploma amid a difficult time with the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same time, Prof Sung highlighted that the graduation ceremony is a celebration of the collaborations that have made the programme possible, “We are also celebrating the close collaboration between LKCMedicine and Changi General Hospital, as well as the sports medicine community here in Singapore, Australia and the United States.

“The success in our partnerships is a clear demonstration of the power of collaboration among like-minded people and institutions.”

Next, Senior Consultant at the Singapore Sport and Exercise Medicine Centre at Changi General Hospital Associate Professor Roger Tian, who is also the Course Director (Clinical) for GDSM, shared his observations about the programme.

A/Prof Tian noted that the course has been consistently oversubscribed since it first started, “due to the relevance of the GDSM syllabus as well as sports and exercise medicine across a wide range of medical practice”.

He also thanked the clinicians and chiefs from the various hospitals and institutions who contributed their time and expertise as faculty, clinical teachers and examiners.

Programme Director for GDSM Associate Professor Fabian Lim then introduced the guest speaker for the GDSM Annual Lecture, Dr Teoh Chin Sim, Senior Consultant of the Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

The GDSM Annual Lecture invites senior members of the sports medicine community to share their journey and inspire the graduands. This year’s lecture is in memory of the late Dr Teh Kong Chuan, former Chairman of the Singapore National Olympic Council’s medical commission, who passed away on 17 November 2021. Dr Teh, who also served on the GDSM advisory committee, supported thousands in their sports journey, provided mentorship to the next generation of sports medicine doctors, and brought recognition to sports medicine.

Dr Teoh took to the stage to share about her journey in sports medicine and experiences in her career. She encouraged the graduates to be a role model and advocate, to immerse themselves in the people, work and environment, and to find and pursue their passion. She also highlighted the importance of having a pioneering “can do” spirit and to make friends and connections along the way.

“Gather your tribe, the people who will run along with you, build together with you, and share your vision and passion with you,” said Dr Teoh.

It was a proud moment for the Class of 2021 as they went onstage to receive their Graduate Diploma certificates from Prof Sung and Professor Ng Wai Hoe, Chief Executive Officer of Changi General Hospital.

The Top-of-Class Award went to Dr Mok Ying-Pei, Karen. Dr Mok, who was unable to attend the ceremony in person, delivered a heartfelt speech in a video clip to her fellow graduates. 

“The knowledge and skills that I’ve gained from this course has helped me be a better doctor by giving me a wider perspective on my daily practice, especially on patients’ common complaints of aches and pains,” said Dr Mok, who is currently working in the community setting doing home care.

The ceremony concluded with a video to acknowledge and thank the GDSM lecturers and advisory committee.

After the graduation ceremony, the Class of 2021 had a well-deserved celebratory dinner with the School’s faculty and invited guests, with safe management measures in place.

Reflecting on her experience, Top-of-Class Awardee Dr Mok said, “The learning journey was great and I learnt a lot. The knowledge and skills I learnt not only help me diagnose and manage my own injuries, it also helped me give better advice to the patients I care for.”

Having graduated three cohorts, the programme has trained 66 sports medicine professionals to meet the urgent need for such services in Singapore. They will play a leading role in the prevention of injuries and chronic diseases as well as the management of minor injuries and prompt referral of complex cases to sports medicine specialists.

​For more information on the Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine, please click here.