HSSR Logo Health Services and Systems Research

Medical Education


The Medical Education Program at HSSR is intended for third-year Duke-NUS medical students. Completion of the research year for requires one year of full-time research experience supervised by a faculty mentor. For students who choose to do their research within HSSR, an HSSR faculty member will serve as the primary mentor; however, students may have additional co-mentors (from specific clinical specialties or others), depending on their research topic. For example, these supervisors could be from other departments (e.g., at area hospitals) or signature programs at Duke-NUS.


At HSSR, we expect students to refine their research questions, develop the protocol, learn the appropriate regulatory processes for good conduct of studies, do primary data collection, analysis, and prepare their theses and publish papers. Students are given ample support from their faculty mentor and also participate in HSSR seminars and gain critical thinking skills required for coming a good investigator and practicing evidence-based medicine.


Examples of Past Third-Year Medical Student Projects: 

Under the mentorship of Asst. Prof. Rahul Malhotra, Prof. Truls Østbye and Dr. Tan Thiam Chye of KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital, Drs. Koh Huishan and Tat Xin Ee (Duke-NUS Class of 2011) designed and implemented a study that assessed maternal characteristics as predictors of inadequate or excessive gestational weight gain and characterizing maternal and neonatal outcomes in Asian women. Their study was conducted among 1,166 Chinese, Malay, and Indian women who delivered at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Singapore. A paper presenting the results of their study was published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Research.Drs. Koh and Ee are currently pursuing their residencies in pediatric medicine and obstetrics & gynecology, respectively, in Singapore.


Dr. Wong Ker Yi, a 2012 graduate of Duke-NUS, is a resident in obstetrics & gynecology. Under the direction of Asst. Prof. Do, in 2010-11, Dr. Wong studied the potential effectiveness of increased human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine awareness on the acceptability of HPV vaccination in a nationally representative sample of women in the US. In 2011, Dr. Wong presented her preliminary findings at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting in Seattle, Washington. In 2012, Dr. Wong co-authored a publication, “awareness and acceptability of [HPV] vaccine: an application of the instrumental variables bivariate probit model” in the journal BMC Public Health.

                                                   Dr. Wong Ker Yi (L) with Asst. Prof. Young Kyung Do (R), her mentor; courtesy of SMA News: “Letter to My Mentors” by Wong Ker Yi, Nov. 2010 


Our Faculty Mentors:

Associate Professor Angelique Chan – Dr. Chan is a sociologist whose research interests lie in ageing and health, intergenerational transfers, living arrangements and retirement.

Associate Professor Eric Finkelstein – Dr. Finkelstein is an economist; he conducts economic analyses on the causes and consequences of health behaviours, with a primary emphasis on obesity and its correlates.

Assistant Professor Rahul Malhotra – Dr. Malhotra is a physician and chronic disease epidemiologist; he conducts epidemiological studies in the areas of health of older adults and their caregivers.

Director & Professor David Matchar – Prof. Matchar is an internist and the Director of HSSR; his current research focuses on ways to improve health service efficiency in a rapidly ageing society.

Professor Truls Østbye – Prof. Ostbye is with both the Duke Global Health Institute in Durham and HSSR; he is a chronic disease epidemiologist and public health researcher whose primary research interests include obesity and ageing/life course epidemiology.

Professor Tazeen Jafar – Prof. Jafar is a nephrologist and chronic disease epidemiologist; she conducts policy-relevant implementation research and epidemiological studies, especially related to hypertension.