Getting to know Katheryn,  
Deputy Director, Joint Office of Academic Medicine (JOAM)

The Insider (TI): Do share your industry experience with us…

Katheryn Maung (KM): I started my career as a writer in a publishing firm before I was wooed into the glitzy fast-paced world of advertising. After seven years of late nights, countless campaigns and coffee overdoses, I decided to do something more meaningful with my life and joined a Voluntary Welfare Organization serving the needy. That experience was a turning point for me as I realized that every one of us, no matter how incapable we feel, can actually help another when we put our heart into it. 

I joined SingHealth in 2002 and you can say that I found my calling here at the SGH Campus. I’ve been privileged to work with so many passionate clinicians and leaders with the vision to improve patients’ lives.  My previous role in SingHealth Group Communications involved change management and engagement efforts with staff, physicians and key stakeholders in Academic Medicine. I’m really glad to have been part of the Duke-NUS journey since its early days of establishment. I remember organizing the SingHealth visits for Professor Ralph Snyderman,  past President and CEO of the Duke University Health System and Professor Sandy Williams, the first Dean of Duke-NUS. I was really impressed with their vision and desire to move the needle in Medicine and medical education.

When Duke-NUS opened its doors as Singapore’s 2nd medical school in August 2005, it started a new chapter in Medicine and brought new life to SGH Campus! Today, what we can achieve through the SingHealth and Duke-NUS Academic Medicine partnership is great history in the making for both healthcare and medical education. I am excited to be right in the heart of the action!

TI: Kat, it has been almost 2 years since you’ve been working at Duke-NUS. How has the experience been and how does it compare with your work experience at SingHealth?

KM: A wonderful learning experience! There is also a slight cultural difference – it’s more informal, innovative and fun here… and I love it!  But I do find that SingHealth and Duke-NUS are really quite similar in their vision to transform Medicine and improve lives.

The School provides an enriching experience to learn and advance Medicine with an open, enquiring mind. The hospitals and institutions provide the experience to touch lives with that knowledge. 


Having a good time at the 2013 Duke-NUS’ Dinner and Dance!

TI: Is this your first job in a school setting? 

KM: Well, I was once a relief teacher in a pre-school after college, so technically that was my first job in a school setting! 

TI: The role of JOAM is…

KM:…to spearhead and lead efforts to advance Academic Medicine (AM) at Duke-NUS and SingHealth. We work closely with our Academic Clinical Programs and Joint Institutes including the Academic Medicine Research Institute (AMRI) and Academic Medicine Education Institute (AM•EI) to build strong programs and promote collaborations that will lead to better Medicine and improve patients’ lives.  Check out our AM Partners Portal:

To put it simply, I think JOAM is like a Bridge across SingHealth and Duke-NUS. Our new office is now at Duke-NUS Level 4, across the open bridge between the Administrative and Research Block (or where the Office Clinical Science used to be)!  

Please come visit us if you would like to… 

• Know more about ACPs, AMRI, AM•EI and other cool-sounding acronyms like AMEXCO, AMAC, AM-ETHOS, SDD, EC, RC, CMC, BMS, PECT, S4G, STIIC, etc. 

• Have questions on Joint Appointments, AM Leadership Series, Academic Sharing & Masterclass, AM Funding, and AM Philanthropic Funds 

• Share a great idea on how we can improve patients’ lives

• Join me for a coffee chat on AM

The JOAM team at their office at Level 4 

TI: A typical day for you would be …

KM:  Long…. filled with variety and involves at least three to four cups of coffee. After my day job at JOAM, my night shift at “home school” starts from 8pm… to teach and coach my daughter for her Primary School Leaving Examinations (yes, every 12-year-old’s dreaded PSLE).

TI: Things that put a smile on your face…

KM: When I think of God’s grace in my life. Knowing that my work is meaningful. Spending time with my daughter and teaching her; being surprised by a vandalized placemat at dinnertime that reads, “Mommy, I love you”. 

 TI: I am thankful for… 

KM: Art. I have been a Docent and Museum Volunteer at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) for the last 6 years. My love for the arts started when I was a student, and being a Docent now gives me the wonderful opportunity to experience great art and share them with others. It was the famous Pablo Picasso who said, “Art washes away from the Soul the dust of everyday life”.


Kat has given special tours at SAM for schools including Cedar Girls' Secondary to promote greater art appreciation among students, teachers and even parents.

Opened in January 1996 as a museum under the National Heritage Board of Singapore, SAM has amassed one of the world's largest public collections of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian artworks, with a growing component in international contemporary art

TI: The 3 adjectives that best describe you…

KM: Coffee Addict, Art Lover, Something of a Catalyst?