Appointment of Vice Dean, Clinical Sciences

SINGAPORE, 26 August 2008 - Dr. Augustus John Rush has joined the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) as Vice Dean, Clinical Sciences.

Dr. John Rush is an internationally renowned clinician-scientist and a mentor, who has developed innovative programmes for clinical research. Moving to Singapore from the U.S., Dr. Rush joined Duke-NUS from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre where he was Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Clinical Sciences. Before this, he was Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Psychiatry and holder of two named Chairs.

Dr. Rush will help to develop education, training and career development programmes at Duke-NUS that are aimed at increasing the career opportunities and expertise of its students who wish to become clinician-scientists. He will also work collaboratively with investigators at SingHealth and other healthcare entities to facilitate the development of clinical science expertise, and the necessary clinical and technical infrastructure support to enhance clinical research across Singapore.

Duke-NUS’ research programmes are expected to be in full swing by next year when more laboratories are fully set-up at the school’s new campus which will be completed in the first quarter of 2009. The school presently operates five signature research programmes in cancer and stem cell biology, cardiovascular and metabolic disease, emerging infectious diseases, neuroscience and behavioural disorders, and health services research. Additionally, the Singapore government has emphasized the need to develop clinical research excellence, and Duke-NUS plans to play a major role in helping shape research in the local context to meet Singapore’s healthcare needs.

The school’s research faculty is involved in the spectrum of research - from basic, through translational and then clinical. Already, Duke-NUS has built itself into a formidable research hub focused on the five key areas of research. Its research and teaching faculty is comprised of leading local and international investigators; and is supported by a well-integrated network of collaborators, partners and government agencies, who contribute intellectual capital and physical facilities.

Dr. Rush is an alumnus of Princeton University where he earned his first degree in biochemistry. He later completed his medical education in 1968, graduating with a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York. He completed his medical training in the U.S. in internal medicine (Northwestern University) and psychiatry (University of Pennsylvania).

Dr. Rush’s research has been focused on the development and clinical evaluation of innovative treatments for depression, bipolar and other psychiatric disorders. His work led to the definition and evaluation of cognitive psychotherapy for depression, valproate for mania, vagus nerves stimulation for treatment resistant depression, and the development and implementation of practice guidelines and measurement-based care for depression. He hopes to continue his work in Singapore, with an objective of enhancing early detection and treatment of outpatients suffering from depression who also have other general medical conditions, since depression worsens both mortality and morbidity for these patients.

Dr. Rush’s outstanding research and educational achievements have garnered him numerous awards, including awards from the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the Society of Biological Psychiatry (ISOBP), the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (NARSAD). He has authored over 470 papers in high impact journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Journal of Psychiatry as well as 10 books and over 90 book chapters. He has received continuous peer-reviewed research support from the National Institute of Mental Health since 1976. Most recently, he directed the largest treatment trial of depression ever conducted: the STAR*D trial (www.star-d.org). He now directs a second U.S.-wide multi-site trial to test the utility of medication combinations for depression (www.co-med.org).