News: Enhancing partnerships to produce the best doctors


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

In line with the School’s goals to transform healthcare and improve community health, Associate Professor Sunny Wong has been appointed Assistant Dean, Academic Medicine to develop strategies and drive academic medicine initiatives with its primary clinical partner the National Healthcare Group (NHG), and enhance synergistic collaborations with other clinical partners.

A/Prof Wong joined LKCMedicine in August 2021 as Associate Professor of Nutrition, Digestion and Metabolism. Appointed to his new role in May, he will also assist with the development of the School’s endeavour to establish an Academic Health System with NHG. He talks to The LKCMedicine about his plans as Assistant Dean, Academic Medicine and his aspirations for the School. 

Q: Congratulations on your new appointment! Tell us about your role as Assistant Dean, Academic Medicine.

My key role will be to support the development of academic strategies and clinical programme of LKCMedicine with NHG and other clinical partners. In my role as Assistant Dean, I work closely with clinical partners, including NHG, to ensure that our research priorities are mutually aligned. Together, we strive to create an environment that promotes excellence in clinical care and research, while also supporting the professional development of academic faculty and clinician-scientists. Our end goal is to provide the best possible care for our patients, while we contribute to the advancement of clinical science and medical knowledge.


Q: Why did you choose to take on this role?

I am passionate about this exciting role. I hope to use my experience to contribute to the academic developments and foster the growth of LKCMedicine along with our clinical partners. I look forward to working with our faculty and partners to potentiate our strengths in research, education, and healthcare services.  


Q: This is a new role. How does this feature in the School’s journey into the next phase?

The next phase of our School's journey will be one of continued excellence in medical sciences, closer integration with our clinical partners, and greater inter-disciplinary collaboration with other schools in NTU. My role will be to support this development at LKCMedicine, especially formulating and integrating our clinical programme with NHG and other clinical partners. I am confident that this next phase will be a fruitful one, bringing our excellence in research into clinical care and implementation.


Q: How does this tie in with the move towards an NTU-LKCMedicine Academic Health System with the National Healthcare Group?

Together with NHG, we have a plan to integrate our education and research, and work towards building an Academic Health System. This will require a larger pool of talents including clinical academics, clinician-scientists, healthcare researchers, and innovators. We will also need to build up our clinical and translational research infrastructure. Our clinical partners will be essential in this process to create an environment that is conducive to inter-disciplinary collaboration and partnership. We believe that this is a necessary step to provide the best care for our patients through excellent research and education.


Q: We will need more and more clinician-scientists then. Will you be working towards growing this pool?

As mentioned, clinician-scientists are vitally important as with clinical academics, healthcare innovators and other talents. We are working with NHG to establish an Academy of Clinician-Scientists and Innovators to build up this talent pool and support their development at various career stages.


Q: What are your aspirations for the School in being a lead for academic medicine? 

Medical schools have a unique role in society in the training of doctors, searching for new knowledge, and caring for the sick. We aspire to be a world-class institution that excels in these three areas. Our faculty is dedicated to teaching and our students are passionate about learning. We are committed to produce the best doctors to care for our patients and we are constantly searching for new ways to improve the health of our community. We are proud of our tradition of excellence, and we will continue to work hard to earn our place as an excellent medical school.


Q: How will this contribute to the School’s mission to transform healthcare? 

Development of academic medicine is a cornerstone of the School’s mission to transform healthcare. By training the next generation of doctors, advancing medical science, making new treatments and technologies available to patients, academic medicine plays an indispensable role in defining and shaping the future of healthcare. By working together, we can make a lasting impact on the health of our community and the world.


Q: How about the training of future doctors? 

The training of future doctors is important to ensure the provision of quality healthcare. Through their studies, future doctors learn about the human body and the various diseases, as well as develop important critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will be essential in their future careers. In addition, the medical school training provides them with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a variety of clinical settings. This allows them to see first-hand how different treatments are applied in real-world situations. Training of doctors in an academic clinical setting is essential to prepare them for their roles as healthcare providers.


Q: In terms of research, can we expect more clinical trials? In which areas?

Clinical trials are key to finding the best therapies for patients with diseases. We can test whether new treatments and drugs are effective, as well as understand how diseases progress in a clinical setting. Translational studies are another important aspect that can help us to apply scientific discoveries into real-world applications. By conducting clinical trials and translational studies, we can leverage our strengths in infectious diseases, skin conditions, neurological and other diseases. This way, we can provide the best possible care for our patients.


Q: What do you hope to see in terms of future collaborations?


I look forward to seeing more collaborations in both research initiatives and educational programmes. Of particular importance are translational research and clinical trials, as these studies can take upstream discoveries into applications that directly impact patients. I will be delighted to see more jointly developed curricula for medical students and postgraduates, which integrate basic science training with clinical experience. Going forward, the School plans to continue its efforts to strengthen its ties to our clinical partners. This will include both expanding existing collaborations and forging new partnerships.