Duke NUS Medical School
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15 Years of Impact

Established on 14 April 2005, Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) is a landmark collaboration between two-world ranking institutions of higher education: Duke University and the National University of Singapore (NUS). Marking a milestone in Singapore’s transition into an internationally renowned biomedical science hub, Duke-NUS seeks to nurture a pipeline of talented clinicians and clinician scientists and produce research that has the ability to transform medicine and impact patients’ lives in Singapore and beyond.

Journey with us in celebrating the 15 years of impact we have made on Singapore’s medical education and healthcare community, growing from a boutique school to a world-class medical institution recognised for its prolific and top-notch research discoveries that transform medicine and improve lives.

We wouldn’t have come this far without the support from our ministries — Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Health (MOH) — our partners – Duke University, NUS and SingHealth — as well as our donors, collaborators, alumni, students, staff and everyone out there in the community.

Thank you for staying the course with us, and we look forward to your continued support as we pursue even greater things at Duke-NUS!


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As we mark 15 years since Duke-NUS was established as Singapore’s only graduate-entry medical school, we celebrate our accomplishments in outstanding education, cutting-edge research and impactful innovation.

Born out of a partnership between two world-class institutions — Duke University and NUS — Duke-NUS has met the Singapore government’s goal of producing a pipeline of future-ready clinicians and clinician scientists, as well as propelling the country’s biomedical research industry. All these would not have been possible without the generosity and faith of our esteemed benefactors and donors, especially the Estate of Khoo Teck Puat. Their continued support has allowed us to develop into a vibrant institution where greater things happen.

You will discover, in this tome, that Duke-NUS has exceeded its goals, both as a world-class medical school and a leader in translational research. As of 2020, our MD programme has graduated 502 students, many of whom have won national awards for research, formed their own start-up companies and produced hundreds of scientific publications. At the core of our educational philosophy is our ‘Clinician First, Clinician Plus’ programme. This nurtures highly competent clinicians with the additional skills to become scientists, educators, innovators and leaders who will help steer our evolving healthcare system.

As a research-intensive medical school, we have demonstrated new ways of understanding diseases, changing treatments and diagnostic strategies. Our investigators have been granted a total of 73 patents and 22 licences, while forming 16 start-up companies.

Our overall success has been supported by our strategic Academic Medicine partnership with SingHealth, and the formation of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre (AMC). This AMC consists of a rich, multi-disciplinary ecosystem that has allowed us to translate education and research into improved healthcare outcomes. With the Singapore General Hospital being named the world’s third best hospital by Newsweek Magazine, we are thrilled that our students are receiving their clinical training in a world-class clinical environment.

I hope that you will enjoy reading about our collective achievements, garnered under the dedicated leadership of an outstanding Governing Board led by our exceptional Chairmen Mr Tony Chew (2005–2011), Mr Kai Nargolwala (2011–2019) and Mr Goh Yew Lin (2019–present).

As a research-intensive medical school, we have demonstrated new ways of understanding diseases, changing treatments and diagnostic strategies.

Moving forward, we will continue to position the School as a unique pathway to a career as an outstanding clinician with broader interests in research, education, health policy, innovation and administration. We will also work to strengthen our partnership with SingHealth, and collaborate with key institutions in Singapore and beyond. We remain dedicated to our mission of transforming medicine and improving lives.

Professor Thomas M. Coffman
Dean, Duke-NUS Medical School

Our Pioneers

- Early Trailblazers

Prof Tan Chorh Chuan

Professor Tan Chorh Chuan

  • Chief Health Scientist, Ministry of Health
  • Executive Director, MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation
  • Former Deputy Chairman of the Governing Board, Duke-NUS Medical School (2005-2008)

“It’s amazing how far Duke-NUS has come in a relatively short space of time! The early years were filled with long meetings, complex wall-to-wall Gantt charts, and a great deal of hard work. But in that formative period, the spirit and culture of the institution was forged and continues to thrive to this day – the impulse to innovate, the commitment to make a deep impact in medicine, the desire to contribute to society, the eagerness to work with others in pursuit of excellence. Many outstanding individuals from Duke, NUS, SingHealth and the Singapore government played instrumental roles in the School’s rapid progress. It was a great privilege to have been a part of this extraordinary journey, and I am also very grateful for the warm friendships and deep sense of collective purpose that made the joint work so meaningful and enjoyable.”

Dr Victor Dzau, MD

Professor Victor J. Dzau

  • President, United States National Academy of Medicine
  • Chancellor Emeritus and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine, Duke University
  • Member of the Health and Biomedical Sciences International Advisory Council
  • Former Member of the Governing Board, Duke-NUS Medical School (2005-2014)

“Just 15 years after its founding, Duke-NUS has established a global reputation as a leading medical enterprise that is transforming biomedical research and education in Singapore and around the world. Thanks to the leadership and dedication of many at Duke University and the National University of Singapore and the unwavering support of Singapore government leaders - as well as the enterprising spirit of Duke-NUS' students and staff - the university is on a trajectory for remarkable impact across science and human health. It is a tremendous honor and privilege to have been involved with this important partnership from the very beginning.”

Professor Tan Ser Kiat

Professor Tan Ser Kiat

  • Chairman, SingHealth Fund
  • Emeritus Consultant, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital
  • Former Member of the Governing Board, Duke-NUS Medical School (2005-2016)

“Our vision for Duke-NUS was to train doctors who are not only clinically excellent in patient care but are also good clinician scientists who practice evidence-based medicine to ensure safe and effective outcomes for patients. Through my interaction with successive batches of Duke-NUS graduates, I’m very gratified that we have been successful in achieving this vision. We have nurtured a pipeline of strong clinician scientists whom I believe will make good healthcare leaders of tomorrow.”

Ranga Krishnan

Professor K. Ranga Rama Krishnan, MB, ChB

  • Chief Executive Officer, Rush University System for Health
  • Former Dean, Duke-NUS Medical School (2008 - 2015)

“It was an exhilarating time, which saw us create the MD-PhD programme, build our residency training programme and expand our research capabilities, including the prescient creation of ABSL 3 that has turned out to be critical during COVID-19. I am proud and thankful to have been part of the growth of Duke-NUS Medical School.”

Professor Patrick J. Casey

Professor Patrick J. Casey

  • Senior Vice Dean for Research, Duke-NUS Medical School
  • James B. Duke Professor of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

“I have had the privilege of witnessing the amazing growth of Duke-NUS from day 1, with so much support rendered to us from our parent universities, partners and stakeholders. It has been immensely gratifying to see how the school has advanced medical education, research and academic medicine in Singapore, and the impact our activities have had on the global stage. I am heartened to see how Duke-NUS has served her purpose, exemplifying our mission and vision. At this 15th anniversary, let us recommit our values of courage, integrity, compassion and collaboration as the driving force to bring Duke-NUS to even greater heights and celebrate our contributions to healthcare and innovation.”