On 6 September, LKCMedicine and National Healthcare Group (NHG) launched the Academy of Clinician Scientists and Innovators (ACSI) to develop research and innovation capabilities of medical students, doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. Held at the Centre of Healthcare Innovation (CHI), senior leadership, clinicians and staff from both organisations came together to mark the formalisation of this initiative, co-led by LKCMedicine Dean and NTU Singapore’s Senior Vice-President for Health & Life Sciences Distinguished University Professor Joseph Sung and NHG Senior Advisor Professor Leo Yee Sin.
An offshoot of the new Collaborative Framework Agreement that was signed between NHG and LKCMedicine on the same day, ACSI aims to develop both clinician scientists and innovators to achieve impactful translational research, especially in the areas of population health, primary care, community health, mental health and infectious disease.
This is a significant step forward in strengthening NHG and LKCMedicine’s long-term education and research collaboration, and redefining medical research in Singapore.
“I want to mention specifically the role of research and innovation. It is about translating science into new solutions for patients, but more than this, research and innovation will better inform policies and help us realise population health aims. Especially so when we bring together expertise from disciplines as diverse as technology, media, and behavioural sciences — areas in which NTU is strong in — and intersect with NHG’s clinical and social prescriptions,” said NHG Chairman Mr Tan Tee How in his welcome speech.
During the opening address, the Guest-of-Honour, Chairman of LKCMedicine Governing Board Mr Lim Chuan Poh, spoke highly of the many meaningful joint initiatives between the organisations. They ranged from the Thematic LKCMedicine-NHG Research Symposia Series to the Centre for Primary Health Care Research and Innovation to being the School’s primary healthcare partner for our medical students.
“Over the past decade, the partnership between NHG and LKCMedicine has been exceptional and productive. Together, we have already nurtured six cohorts of capable, committed and compassionate medical doctors who have been well-received by the healthcare community, and most pertinently, by the patients they serve.”
On the inception of ACSI, Mr Lim noted that “the key expected outcome of ACSI is to nurture medical students and young clinicians to become future clinician scientists and innovators…by identifying and attracting promising talents early; providing them with programmes for robust research training; matching them with appropriate mentors; connecting them with peers and senior academics through networking platforms; and, critically, supporting their career advancements.”
This broad overview of the Academy’s three strategic domains — Recruitment & Development, Networking & Support, and Enhancement — is complemented by the different National Medical Research Council (NMRC) grants, which were detailed by NMRC Executive Director Professor Tan Say Beng in his speech.
ACSI will not only benefit from the various resources available for medical research and innovation, but it also endeavours to be a significant contributor to the ecosystem. With the challenges of an ageing population, potential pandemics, information security and increasing healthcare costs, as mentioned by Prof Sung in his remarks, “more clinician scientists and innovators are needed to find new and cost-effective ways to take care of patients.
Prof Leo added on by relaying one of her aspirations for the Academy, “Most of us working in the healthcare system hope to create better treatments for our patients, but some will eventually become internationally renowned researchers, and I am very hopeful that we can bring many of our good clinical practices beyond the shores of Singapore and make a mark internationally.”
Through the different speeches that articulated the vision of ACSI and the continued partnership between NHG and LKCMedicine, guests were left impressed by the Academy’s vast potential to promote excellence in clinical research and innovation, and support Singaporeans as they chart their own journey towards better health.