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Tan Hiang Khoon

Clinical Associate Professor

Deputy CEO (Future Health System), Singapore General Hospital


Education Qualifications: MBBS, FRCS (Ed), FAMS, PhD 

Clinical Associate Professor Tan Hiang Khoon is the Director of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute (SDGHI), and the Group Director of the International Collaboration Office (ICO), SingHealth. He is also the Deputy CEO of Future Health System, Singapore General Hospital. Prior to his current appointments, he was Academic Chair of the Surgery Academic Clinical Program, SingHealth, and Chairman, Division of Surgery & Surgical Oncology, Singapore General Hospital and National Cancer Centre Singapore. Dr Tan received his medical degree from the National University Singapore School of Medicine in 1991 and completed his specialist training in the Department of General Surgery at the Singapore General Hospital. He studied his Ph.D. in the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. He joined the Head and Neck Service at National Cancer Centre Singapore in 2005 and subsequently underwent his Advanced Training in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology in Institute Gustave Roussy, Paris. He specialises in resection of complex head and neck malignancies and has pioneered the development of endoscopic and robotic head and neck & thyroid surgery in Singapore.

As a clinician leader, Dr Tan excels in articulating compelling visions and establishing strong, sustainable collaborations and partnerships across different departments, disciplines and institutions. He was instrumental in the formation of the Head and Neck SDDC in 2013, the first of its kind in SingHealth, and implemented a new model of care that harnessed the diverse talent and strength of SingHealth institutions. In 2019, he led the integration of the Division of Surgery in SGH and the Division of Surgical Oncology in NCCS to form a unified Division of Surgery and Surgical Oncology. This restructuring facilitated the co-elevation of clinical care and academic peaks. In the recent pandemic, Dr Tan led a cluster-wide team to set up and manage a 3700 bed Community Care Facility at Singapore Expo and D’Resort. The successful execution of this operation within a very short timeline ensured that the capacities of acute hospitals were not overwhelmed in this unprecedented crisis.

Dr Tan is passionate about Global Health and has established the Global Surgery Programme within the Surgery ACP with a clear vision anchored by strong academic principles. He co-led a Temasek-funded project “Quality Assurance for Healthcare in Sri Lanka” which focused on building capacity and management expertise in the Health system. He has collaborated widely with international partners including Ariadne Lab, Duke Health and regional hospitals. His Global Health project with Duke, titled: ‘Partnership to establish a practice-based network to assess for head and neck cancers using a low-cost portable flexible nasopharyngoscope” won a $3.5M RO1 grant. He has recently initiated a pan-Asia surgical leaders’ network to study the response and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the surgical health system. Aptly named ‘COVID-IMPACTS: COVID-19 IMPact and ACtion Taken in Surgery’, 36 surgical leaders from 25 Asian hospitals in 11 countries have thus far accepted the invitation to participate in this collaboration.

Dr Tan was the founding Chairman of the Children’s Cancer Foundation (Singapore) and was awarded the Singapore Youth Award to recognise his pivotal role in setting up the charity. He believes in the enabling power of philanthropic donation. In his tenure as the inaugural Director of the Division of Community Outreach and Philanthropy in NCCS (2010-2018), he helped build a sustainable fund-raising model in the Oncology ACP. In the last few years, under his leadership as Academic Chair, the Surgery ACP raised more than $7.8 million for various academic programs including two Surgical Chairs (Colorectal and Urology), several Global Health/Surgery initiatives and the Academic Fund for Nurses, Allied Health Professionals and Administrators.

Research Interests:
Prognostication of Head and Neck malignancies and their impact to the QOL of patients, and in Surgical Device innovation.

Selected Publications: 

1. Tan HK, Heywood D, Ralph GS, Bienemann A, Baker AH, Uney JB. 
Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 inhibits excitotoxic cell death in neurons.
Mol Cell Neurosci.  2003; 22(1):98-106 

2. Tan HK, Saulnier P, Auperin A, Lacroix L, Casiraghi O, Janot F, Fouret P, Temam S. 
Quantitative methylation analyses of resection margins predict local recurrences and disease specific deaths in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas.
Br J Cancer. 2008; 99(2):357-363 

3. Tan HK, Giger R, Auperin A, Bourhis J, Janot F, Temam S. 
Salvage surgery after concomitant chemoradiation in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas - Stratification for post-salvage survival
Head Neck. 2010; 32(2):139-147

4. Kiong KL, Iyer NG, Skanthakumar T, Ng JC, Tan NC, Tay HN, Tan HK 
Transaxillary thyroidectomies: A comparative learning experience of robotic vs endoscopic thyroidectomies.
Otolaryngol Head & Neck Surg 2015; 152(5):820-826

5. Iyer NG, Tan DS, Tan VK, Wang W, Hwang J, Tan NC, Sivanandan R, Tan HK, Lim WT, Ang MK, Wee J, Soo KC, TanEH 
Randomized trial comparing surgery and adjuvant radiotherapy vs concurrent chemoradiotherapy in patients with advanced, non-metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: 10 year update and subset analysis.
Cancer 2015; 121(10):1599-1607 

6. Tay GC, Iyer NG, Ong WS, Tai D, Ang MK, Ha TC, Soo KC, Tan HK
Outcomes and Prognostic Factors of Radiation-Induced and De Novo Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas.
Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016

7. See A, Iyer G, Tan NC, Soo KC, Teo Constance, Ng Jeremy, Tan HK
Distant Metastasis as the Sole Initial Manifestation of Well-Differentiated Thyroid Carcinoma
European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology. DOI: 10.1007/s00405-017-4532-9 Epub 2017 Apr 5

8. Chia S, Low JL, Zhang X, Kwang XL, Chong FT, Sarma A, Bertran D, Toh SY,Leong HS, Thangavelu MT, Hwanf JSG, Lim KH, Skanthakumar T, Tan HK, Su Y, Hui Choo S, Hentze H, Tan IBH, Lezhava A, Tan P, Tan DSW, Periyasamty G, Koh JLK, Gopalakrishna Iyer N, DasGupta R.   
Phenotype-Driven precision oncology as a guide for clinical decisions one patient at a time.
Nat Commun. Sept, 2017(1):435. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00451-5

9. Chua GP, Tan HK
A Qualitative Approach in Determining the Patient-Centered Information and Supportive Care Needs of Cancer Patients in Singapore
BMJ Open (Accepted 15 Jan 2020)

10. Mathur S, Jeremy Ng CF, Koh F, Cai M, Palaniappan G, Linn YL, Lim HL, Lakshman R, Ling XS, Chin ST, Tan HK 
Development of an enhanced acute care surgery service in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic
Injury. 2020 Jun 25; S0020-1383(20)30547-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.injury.2020.06.040

11. Yu Yue, Maha S, Raheny, NC Tan, Iyer NG, Tan HK 
Impact of radiotherapy on neck dissection nodal count in patients with head and neck cancer
Laryngoscope. 2020 Aug;130(8):1947-1953. doi: 10.1002/lary.28620. Epub 2020 May 13

12. Chia ML, Chua HH, Lim KS, Liu WL, Tan HK*, Tan YR
Managing COVID-19 in a Novel, Rapidly Deployable Community Isolation Quarantine Facility 
Ann Intern Med. 2020 Sep 17;M20-4746. doi: 10.7326/M20-4746.
*Equal contribution from all authors

13. ZL Low, JC Allen, Truls Østbye, KB Galketiya, J Keong, Tan HK
Improvement in Quality of Life with Treatment of Chronic Venous Disease: A longitudinal observational study in Kandy, Sri Lanka
Phebology 2020 Dec; DOI: 10.1177/0268355521990972

14. Teo I, Sung SC, Cheung YB, Wong MHM, Abu Bakar Aloweni F, Ang HG, Ayre TC, Chai-Lim C, Chen RC, Heng AL, Nadarajan GD, Ong EHM, Soh CR, Tan BH, Tan BKK, Tan BS, Tan MH, Tan PH, Tay KXK, Wijaya L, Tan HK.
Burnout, anxiety and depression in healthcare workers during the early COVID-19 period in Singapore.
Singapore Medical Journal. (Accepted Dec 2021) In press.

15. M Rangabashyam; SQ Koh; R Sultana; NG Tan; N.G. Iyer; Soo KC; E Fenwick; E Lamoureux; Tan HK
Factors Associated with Returning to Work in Head & Neck Cancer Survivors in Singapore: A Preliminary Exploratory Mixed Methods Approach Study.
Head and Neck 2021 Feb; DOI: 10.1002/hed.26644

16. KS Yee; HP Peh; YP Tan; I Teo; EUT Tong; J Pual; M Rangabashyam; MB Ramalingam; Weien Chow; Tan HK
Stressors and coping strategies of migrant workers diagnosed with COVID-19 in Singapore: a qualitative study 
BMJ Open March 2021;

H-Index: 18 (Google Scholar Citation)(as at 25 March 2021)