Duke-NUS names its new building after late philanthropist, Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat

SINGAPORE, 22 July 2008: Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore is coming closer to moving into its new campus, with the completion of structural works this July. Spread over two wings, the 24,000 square metres of space will house 500 researchers, faculty, staff and students when its 2009 term begins next August. The school has named its building in honour of the late philanthropist Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat, who had high regard for the importance of medicine and education. In his memory, his Estate had donated S$80 million to Duke-NUS last January to further its biomedical research programmes and initiatives.

“The Trustees are confident that students will benefit from the opportunity to be involved in some of the world’s most innovative and ground-breaking medical research programmes during their study here at Duke-NUS. As the next generation of clinical researchers in Singapore, they will spearhead efforts to develop new treatments for diseases and better methods of delivering healthcare. We believe that through our gesture, we can help alleviate the suffering of patients in Singapore and around the world. This is what my late father would have wanted,” said Ms Mavis Khoo, Trustee of the Estate.

The topping-up ceremony held on July 22, 2008, on the site of the new Duke-NUS campus, was officiated by Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for Health. The event, to commemorate the completion of structural works in the Khoo Teck Puat building, was attended by members of the Khoo family and government and business leaders. Also present were senior clinical leaders, the biomedical community and representatives from stakeholder agencies.

The Khoo Teck Puat building, the tallest in the vicinity of Outram Campus to date, stands next to the College of Medicine Building, which has long been held as the historical seat of medical education in Singapore. The College of Medicine Building houses the headquarters of the Ministry of Health.

“It is befitting that the Duke-NUS Medical School is located on the historical site of medical education in Singapore. Our early doctors, many of whom were pioneers and leaders in their fields, were trained here. Duke-NUS is an icon for medical education and research on Outram, as is the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine on the Kent Ridge campus. We are pleased to see the fruition of efforts of the many who held the vision for a new medical school; one that will produce the next generation of physician-scientists that Singapore needs,” said Mr Tony Chew, Chairman of the Duke-NUS Governing Board.

“The Duke-NUS Medical School is fortunate to have the strong support and commitment of the government ministries, SingHealth, the National Healthcare Group and the community. We will leverage on synergies with the Singapore General Hospital and SingHealth with whom we are already working closely. Through our efforts in translational and clinical research, we hope to drive new discoveries for patient-care and disease treatment, and contribute actively to the growth of Outram Campus as the next academic medical education hub in Singapore,” said its dean, Professor Ranga Krishnan.

The Khoo Teck Puat Building is located at 8 College Road, adjacent to Singapore’s largest acute-care and tertiary healthcare institution - the Singapore General Hospital (SGH). With over 187 years of history, SGH has been the main facility for most Singapore doctors in training. As many of the Duke-NUS’ core clinical faculty are associated with the hospital, the school continues to expect to draw synergies with the hospital, and share resources for pathology, bench research and medical education.

Minister Khaw Boon Wan underlined this point. “With the excellent infrastructure in place, we can now push forward the rapid transformation of the Outram Campus as a “medipolis”, integrating clinical service, teaching and research in a holistic patient-centric manner. There are many stakeholders in this campus: SGH, various national centres and Duke-NUS. We need to deepen existing collaborations and make them stronger partnerships, without which they may not succeed. We need to pull different stakeholders together to align their missions and values. We can be an unbeatable medical hub in this part of the world.” Minister Khaw also added that the government is keen to explore a longer term engagement with Duke University. “Along the way, we decided to form an inter-agency committee to brainstorm on how we can deepen our collaborations further. We have an existing agreement with Duke which has led to the formation of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. Let’s explore a possible Phase II Agreement with Duke: for a longer term engagement, a broader and deeper collaboration.”

The Khoo Teck Puat Building will house research laboratories, teaching and education facilities and offices. It will also have a research centre for genomic study as well as an electronic medical library. Duke-NUS expects to move into the building in the first half of 2009, in time for the start of the new term for the entering class of 2009.

Duke-NUS presently operates from an interim campus along Jalan Bukit Merah, a short walk away from its new location. It began classes in August 2007 with an initial class of 26 students. It will soon welcome its second class of about 50 students this August.

On July 1, 2008, Duke-NUS named Professor Ranga Krishnan, an eminent neuropsychiatrist and the chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Duke University, as its new dean.

Developments and Achievements (2008):

March 2008:Lien Foundation and Duke-NUS launch the Lien Centre for Palliative Care with a S$7.5 million commitment from the Lien Foundation for five years.
May 2008:Three Duke-NUS researchers garner nation's highest research awards, under the government’s twin initiatives to build a strong team of clinician scientists and translational researchers in Singapore.
July 2008:Duke-NUS names Ranga Krishnan, MB ChB, as Dean.

Duke-NUS marks the topping-up of its Khoo Teck Puat Building, bringing the school a step closer towards the opening of its new campus.
August 2008:Second Duke-NUS class will begin lessons
New permanent Duke-NUS campus to be completed and (projected) operational.