Singapore, 28 May 2011 – The first class of 24 medical students who joined the Duke‐NUS Graduate Medical School in August 2007 celebrated their completion of the four‐year Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) training today. The pre‐graduation celebration was graced by Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence.
From July 2011, the Duke‐NUS graduates will continue their training as medical doctors in a structured residency programme created by SingHealth and the National Healthcare Group, in consultation with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), an American body responsible for the accreditation of post‐M.D. medical training programmes within the United States.
The Duke‐NUS graduates will train in various specialties, including Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Paediatrics, Psychiatry, Anaesthesia, and Obstetrics and Gynaecology, providing clinical care as vital members of the healthcare team.
Said Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, NUS President,“In 2005, the Duke‐NUS Graduate Medical School was a bold aspiration. In the two years that followed, excellent faculty were recruited, a ground‐breaking new curriculum was created and outstanding students enrolled. Today, we applaud the Duke‐NUS’ pioneer Class of 2011 for their fine pioneering spirit, which gives us confidence that they will go on to serve patients and society well, as doctors and clinicianscientists who will contribute to the continuing transformation of medicine particularly for this part of the world.”
“There are very few people who ever earn the privilege of being true ‘pioneers’ in their fields of endeavour, but there is no question that each of these students has achieved that distinction,” said Dr. Victor J. Dzau, Chancellor for Health Affairs, Duke University, and CEO, Duke University Health System.“These students have paved the way for future generations of clinicians, clinician‐scientists and leaders in medicine who will study and graduate from this outstanding institution.”
The results achieved by the Class of 2011 have exceeded all expectations.
On the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), Duke‐NUS students scored significantly higher than the U.S. national average on the Basic Science Exam (Step 1) and higher than the U.S. national average on the Clinical Knowledge Exam (Step 2CK).
Preliminary data at the hospital level has shown that patients liked having Duke‐NUS medical students attend to them because the students are embedded in the wards for eight‐week rotations, so they have more time to listen to them, record their medical histories, and provide better continuity of care from admission to discharge. Patients felt this meant more holistic and better care.
“I am extremely proud that we have produced the first class of medical doctors trained on the Duke‐NUS curriculum, which infuses both Duke and local elements. This has proven to be a very successful model of education, given our students’ excellent performance on major academic milestones, their clinical performance in the wards and feedback from patients,” said Professor Ranga Krishnan, Dean, Duke‐NUS Graduate Medical School.
Established in 2005, the Duke‐NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore is Singapore’s first American‐styled, research‐oriented, graduate‐entry medical school. It aims to produce highlytrained clinician‐scientists to support Singapore’s Biomedical Sciences Initiative. Students enter with a Bachelor’s, Master’s or a PhD degree in fields that span the arts and humanities to science and engineering. Duke‐NUS offers a four‐year programme leading to a joint Duke and NUS Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree.
In Duke‐NUS’ programme, medical students dedicate one year to undertake medical research projects of a basic science or clinical nature. During this year, the students also continue their clinical medical development with an emphasis on family medicine.
The diversity in the Duke‐NUS student profile is also a key to its success. Said Professor Sanders (Sandy) Williams, Founding Dean, Duke‐NUS, “Our graduates joined us from leading academic institutions within Singapore and from around the world.This diversity of backgrounds within the class has enriched their learning experience, and in concert with their individual talents and hard work, contributed to their excellent academic performance.”
An important innovation unique to Duke‐NUS is its team‐based learning approach, TeamLEAD. This leverages student group work and dynamics to provide students a more integrated educational experience.The science the Duke‐NUS students are learning is actually applied to clinical medicine by key clinical faculty who partner scientists at Duke‐NUS to facilitate discussions of real‐life clinical case studies.
The Duke‐NUS innovative teaching methodology better prepares medical students to contribute to leading edge advancements that will improve the practice of medicine in Singapore and beyond.
In academic circles, the unique Duke‐NUS approach is generating a lot of interest. More than 100 delegations from all over the world, and some Duke faculty, have come to observe and learn more about it.
Duke‐NUS M.D. students also show a rich multi‐dimensional experience that goes beyond academics. The student body includes several Olympic athletes, a world‐class fencer, a talented pianist who studied at Julliard as an adolescent, a table‐tennis champion and a chess champion.
“We are not looking for just the ‘straight A’ student. Problem‐solving in the clinical wards requires more than following best practices by memorising facts. It involves creativity, good critical thinking skills and a keen perception. Our students must also have their hearts in the right place. They should have a passion for humanity and medicine and an uncommon dedication towards serving patients,” explained Professor Robert Kamei, Vice Dean of Education.
The Duke‐NUS graduands will receive their M.D. degrees at the NUS Main Commencement Ceremony on 4 July 2011.