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​Celebrating the inaugural cohort of LKCMedicine's Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine

Published on: 27-Aug-2019

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LKCMedicine celebrated the graduation of the Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine (GDSM) programme's inaugural cohort today with a dinner reception.

Held at Ramada by Wyndham Singapore at Zhongshan Park, the 17 doctors from the Class of 2019, celebrated the happy occasion with their loved ones, and the leadership of the School and Changi General Hospital (CGH).

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Kicking off the reception, LKCMedicine Dean Professor Best said the graduation marks a milestone not only for the School, but also for the doctors in their careers. In his welcome address, Prof Best noted that the life expectancy in Singapore is rising. Singaporeans can now expect to live up to 85 years old, the longest life expectancy in the world. 

"With this added years of life expectancy comes added years of disability and that's one area where you can all now make a difference in your work and as advocates for a physically active society," he added. 

The GDSM programme was launched in March last year to train doctors to deal with sports-related injuries, particularly in an ageing society. Upon completion of the one-year part-time programme, these doctors will be able to provide medical support for sports programmes and events.The programme is headed by LKCMedicine Associate Professor Fabian Lim, who is also the Assistant Dean of Research and Associate and Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology.

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Following Prof Best's address, Assoc Prof Lim took the stage. Offering his heartiest congratulations to the graduates, Assoc Prof Lim said they will play an important role in growing the Sports Medicine capability in Singapore.

"Today, there are about 25 medical doctors in Singapore, specialists and non-specialist combined, with specialised skilled to treat sports injuries. After tonight, this number will increase by almost 70 per cent to 42, with all of you included," he added. "With each subsequent cohorts, the GDSM programme will contribute in a multiplier and exponential manner in growing the Sports Medicine community in Singapore. This growth is not only an expansion in scale, but also in the extension of the services to reach the communities you each serve in."

Assoc Prof Lim also said the GDSM programme "would not be possible" without the partnership with CGH and the support of the Sports Science and Medicine communities from the Singapore Sports Institute, Army Centre of Excellence for Soldier Performance, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, National University Health System, Sports Medicine International and Bodyengineering.

"That's almost 100 per cent of Sports Medicine community in Singapore. We (are) also fortunate to have the support of Professor Peter Brukner, who is a pioneer in Sports Medicine, and Peter is now a LKCMedicine Visiting Professor, Assistant Professor Cyril Donnelly from the University of Western Australia and Associate Professor Cindy Lin, from the University of Washington in Seattle. So that's the level of support that we have in putting the programmes together; together with our local and overseas colleagues supporting the programme in various capacities, such as lecturers, advisory committee members, supervisors for clinical attachment and OSCE examiners. With their support, we are able to put together a good quality programme that we are able to offer to the medical community," he added. 

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After his speech, CGH Chief & Senior Consultant of the Department of Sports & Exercise Medicine Adjunct Associate Professor Benedict Tan addressed the audience. "I am so glad to see the first cohort graduating today. You will make a difference, we need you to make a difference and we know that our investments will make a difference through you," he added.

Dinner was then served. Graduates mingled with one another as they enjoyed the dinner spread. A presentation of certificates to the graduates was later presented on stage by Prof Best and CGH Chief Executive Officer Adjunct Professor Lee Chien Earn. 

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The top student of the Class of 2019 GDSM programme is Dr Liau Kah Han, a General Practitioner at Healthwerkz Medical Clinic @ Sembawang MRT. Dr Liau topped the cohort despite having to juggle work, studies and supervising his three children's examinations. He received the "Top-of-Class" award from Prof Best and Prof Lee at the dinner reception.

Dr Liau was drawn to the GDSM programme as he is an avid swimmer and runner. He did not just want to gain insights into the management of sports injuries for his patients, but also for his family of sports enthusiasts; his wife cycles and does weights training, while his sons are cross country runners for their schools, and his daughter is a national cyclist at the junior level.

Sharing his experiences of the GDSM programme in a speech, Dr Liau said the clinical attachments were an "eye-opener" to the work of the sports medicine clinicians and physiotherapists.

"The specialists were very willing to show us the ropes and impart their knowledge, and they were very patient with us… I would like to thank all of them on behalf of my fellow coursemates," he added. "The course has given me a lot more confidence to approach sports medicine in my medicine practice."

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Meanwhile, his classmate Dr Dilmini Kalambaarachchi shared her thoughts on the GDSM programme. Dr Dilmini who is a Family Physician at Bukit Merah Polyclinic, felt the syllabus has been comprehensive and relevant to her work in primary care. 

"Areas such as exercise prescription and pre-participation screening have been especially useful," she added. "Going through this programme, I have a better understanding of appropriate investigations and available resources. In general, I am more confident in handling sports-related issues in primary care".

At the end of the dinner reception, the doctors took a class photo. LKCMedicine wishes them all the best for their future!

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