Banner Image for Class of 2027


Fri, 11 Aug, 2023

An engineer, police officer and accountant are among Duke-NUS’ newest cohort of medical students

Duke-NUS’ newest medical students gathered at The Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium in the Academia building on Friday, 11 August, for a rite of passage—their White Coat Ceremony. The ceremony, during which they don symbolic white coats and recite the Hippocratic Oath, is a formal induction into the medical profession.

Among the 72 new Doctor of Medicine (MD) students, 11 hold masters degrees while one is a PhD degree holder. Many of them, like Mr Dennis Chew, hail from careers well beyond the field of medicine. Mr Chew had joined DSO National Laboratories as a defence engineer to serve his community and country, but reading the stories of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic fuelled his desire to be on the frontlines.

“Over time, I began to realise that the type of service I felt called towards is one that is more up close and personal, and that puts me face-to-face with the community that I am serving,” he said.

As well as professionals like Mr Chew, the Class of 2027 includes eight students admitted via the School’s conditional admissions pathways. These pathways allow outstanding students signing up for specific programmes for their undergraduate degrees to apply to Duke-NUS at the same time. Upon receiving their undergraduate degree, they progress immediately to the MD programme.

One of these students is Ms Madhumitha Ayyapan, who first completed an undergraduate degree in anthropology. But she had always viewed medicine as a possible future after witnessing her cousin battle cerebral palsy.

“I saw illness not as an individual pathology, but as a collective struggle against an unrelenting force,” explained Ms Ayyapan. “This realisation strengthened my desire to stand in solidarity with patients and families at the forefront of this struggle and help ease their suffering as a humanistic physician.”

Speaking at the White Coat Ceremony, Duke-NUS’ Interim Vice-Dean for Education, Associate Professor Shiva Sarraf-Yazdi, emphasised the new responsibilities that the student would soon accept.

Dennis Chew

Mr Dennis Chew, who made a mid-career switch in pursuit of his dream, is among the 72 new medical students of Duke-NUS' 17th MD cohort

Ayyappan Madhumitha

Ms Madhumitha Ayyapan hopes to become a pediatrician

Assoc Prof Shiva Sarraf-Yazdi

Assoc Prof Shiva Sarraf-Yazdi addresses the Class of 2027

Dr Anuradha Pandey

Duke-NUS Alumni Association President Dr Anuradha Pandey (Class of 2015) recalls her experiences as a Duke-NUS student during the White Coat Ceremony on 11 August

“Our expectation is for you to be professional, but our greater hope for you is to be compassionate,” she said. “It’s compassion that will allow you to feel the joy of bettering the lives of others. It’s compassion that will transform your pursuit of medicine into a fulfilling life of purpose.”

After her remarks, President of the Duke-NUS Alumni Association Dr Anuradha Pandey (Class of 2015), who is also an associate consultant with KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, took to the stage to welcome the students.

“Being a doctor is not just a job but a lifelong commitment,” she said. “And setting your foundation right from the start will only serve you well.” She also encouraged the students to seek the guidance of mentors, learn from their patients and never hesitate to ask for help.


Highest Qualification

  • 61

  • 10

  • 1


  • Citizenship

  • 54

  • 18


  • Academic Background

  • 37

  • 16

  • 3

  • 19

  • includes students with multiple majors
    Class of 2027

    Soon, it was time for the Class of 2027 to ascend the stage. But before the presentation of the white coats, the audience got to know four students through an upbeat video that filled the auditorium with laughter.

    Duke-NUS introduces four students of the Class of 2027

    After the video, Duke-NUS Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Education Professor Lim Soon Thye, who is also SingHealth’s Deputy Group CEO for Research and Education, stepped up on stage. He was joined by Associate Professor Ong Biauw Chi, SingHealth’s Group Chief Risk Officer and Duke-NUS College Master. Together they conferred the white coats upon the new students, each student accepting their coat as Duke-NUS alumnus Dr Danny Pan (Class of 2002) read out their names. 

    Prof Fong Kok Yong

    Special guest Prof Fong Kok Yong congratulates the Class of 2027 on accepting their white coats

    Assoc Prof Anantham Devanand

    Assoc Prof Anantham Devanand encourages students to look beyond becoming competent clinicians and find meaning in the small, everyday tasks of medicine

    “It’s always a happy occasion to see such a big group of young and enthusiastic students putting on their white coats,” said special guest Professor Fong Kok Yong, SingHealth’s Deputy CEO for Medical and Clinical Services. “And I want to encourage everyone of them to keep their enthusiasm.”

    Nabilah Binte Abdul Rahman

    The Hippocratic Oath resonates strongly with Ms Nabilah binte Abdul Rahman who hopes to serve the Malay/Muslim community after she graduates

    The senior clinician and Duke-NUS Governing Board member then led the students in reciting the Hippocratic Oath, a formal pledge that they will recite for a second time at their Graduation. In unison, Duke-NUS’ newest aspiring clinicians vowed to do no harm and uphold the sacred principles of their new profession.

    For Class of 2027 student Ms Nabilah binte Abdul Rahman, the ancient oath represents principles that she strongly believes in. “Being a doctor means being someone patients trust with their health problems and wellbeing,” she commented. “Patients come at their most vulnerable and reveal private details about themselves, trusting doctors with their health, recovery and personal information.”

    Following the recitation of the oath, the White Coat ceremony was almost at its end. In his closing remarks, Associate Professor Anantham Devanand, Director of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Medical Humanities Institute, shared his perspective on how the students can find a personal sense of meaning in the everyday of clinical medicine.

    “Competence brings us satisfaction,” he said. “Finding meaning in a familiar task often allows us to go beyond this and find, in the most routine of tasks, a deep sense of joy and gratitude.”

    With his remarks, the formal ceremony came to an end. The students took their first step towards a future of becoming excellent clinicians—with family, friends and faculty by their side.


    Hear from the Class of 2027


    “As a clinician, I'll have the unique privilege of being able to interact directly with patients and the opportunity to empathise with the situations that they're going through. I hope to take advantage of this unique perspective to become a more effective clinician-researcher, and to be the link between research that's carried out in the labs and the reality on the ground, combining technical and experiential knowledge to more effectively advocate for my patients.”

    Dennis Chew

    “Becoming a doctor in the future will give me the opportunity to serve others in their times of need, whether by treating them, or just by listening to them. It is a heavy responsibility that I will strive to live up to.”

    Teo Kai Qin

    “Being a doctor in the future means being entrusted to serve my community, having the privilege to help make my patients feel better not only through medication but also through surgery and medical innovations.”

    Denise Loh

    “I felt called to medicine to become a bridge for others, especially my Malay/Muslim community, to access quality, personalised healthcare, which mindfully addresses their unique experiences and preferences.”

    Nabilah Binte Abdul Rahman

    “As simple as it sounds, being a doctor to me, is to be a good accompagnateur that is someone who sticks around their patients and families not just for a little while but keeps them company from the start to the end of the journey, no matter where it takes them. Especially with the rise of evermore sophisticated AI tools in healthcare, I think that the art of caring will be just as, if not more, crucial than the science of healing for future doctors like myself.”

    Madhumita Ayyappan


    White Coat Ceremony 2023
    White Coat Ceremony 2023
    White Coat Ceremony 2023
    White Coat Ceremony 2023


    White Coat Ceremony 2023 - Hippocratic Oath
    White Coat Ceremony 2023
    White Coat Ceremony 2023
    White Coat Ceremony 2023
    White Coat Ceremony 2023