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​LKCMedicine and NHG ink agreement to conduct translational research 

Published on: 10-Oct-2019

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LKCMedicine and its primary clinical training partner, the National Healthcare Group (NHG) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a Joint Programme for Translational Research at the Singapore Health & Biomedical Congress (SHBC) 2019 today, reaffirming the commitment to set up a strong pipeline of clinician-scientists, and to strengthen Singapore's standing as a global hub for biomedical research.

The programme will leverage the expertise and resources of both partners, and streamline them into setting up joint translational research centres to improve health outcomes in six areas: ageing/rehabilitation, dermatology, infectious diseases, mental health, metabolic-vascular diseases and population health. 

SHBC Guest-of-Honour Senior Minister of State for the Health and Law Ministries Edwin Tong witnessed the ceremonial signing of the MOU at the Opening Ceremony of SHBC, held at Max Atria@Singapore EXPO.

The MOU was signed by LKCMedicine Vice-Dean of Education Professor Naomi Low-Beer and NHG Translational Research Office Director Professor Steven Thng. Prof Thng, an Adjunct Professor at LKCMedicine, is also a Senior Consultant at the National Skin Centre and Executive Director of the Skin Research Institute of Singapore. The MOU signing was also witnessed by LKCMedicine Vice-Dean of Faculty Affairs Professor Michael Ferenczi and NHG Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer Professor Lim Tock Han.

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"This MOU will create opportunities and build capabilities for translating deep tech generating from research into bedside clinical practice. Ultimately technology developed in the lab or conceived of as an idea really has to be translated to practice and this collaboration, this MOU, will help to facilitate that," said Mr Tong.

Dean of LKCMedicine Professor James Best said, "As a new and innovative medical school with a vision to redefine medicine and transform healthcare, LKCMedicine is pleased to have our researchers collaborate with clinicians from NHG in bringing translational research from the bench to the bedside. We have identified these key research focus areas that are of deep significance to the health of Singaporeans. This is an extension of our strong partnership with NHG to provide innovative medical education to our growing student cohort all aiming to be doctors of the future".

Prof Thng added, "The integration of biomedical, digital and engineering sciences with NHG's national centres of medicine will enable the targeted translation of research work into applicable clinical solutions. These will help address evolving healthcare needs in the population, and ultimately deliver better and value-based care to our patients beyond the hospital to the community".

River of Life framework

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NHG aims to meet the current and future challenges of several issues such as population ageing and rising demand for healthcare in an effective and efficient manner. NHG's 'Our River of Life' framework provides a blueprint of Singapore's population health endeavours. A video of the framework featuring healthcare professionals, community partners and patients was shown during the SHBC Opening Ceremony. The video featured Prof Best and LKCMedicine Vice Dean (Clinical Affairs) Professor Pang Weng Sun.  

In the video, Prof Best said, "We are fortunate to have NHG designated as our primary clinical partner because we really needed the conditons to make sure that it was a curriculum appropriate for Singapore. At the time, focus was on the teaching but of course then we have moved a long way also in establishing research partnerships with investing for the future (and) the health of Singapore".

Meanwhile, Prof Pang highlighted that there will be more older people who will turn frail in future, as families are now smaller in size. "Who's going to care for the older people? We have to eventually create a community that looks after itself. So population health is all about managing chronic diseases well, prevent complications as much as possible and then creating the environment whereby we will be ready to support people who are frail in the community itself."

The theme of the 17th edition of SHBC is "Sustainable Healthcare through Innovation". Running from 10 to 12 October at MaxAtria@Singapore Expo and Ng Teng Fong Centre for Healthcare Innovation, the three-day conference comprises symposiums on 'Value Creation in Healthcare', 'Transforming Models of Care', and 'Empowerment through Digitalisation' and plenary sessions. There is also a showcase of achievements of medical and healthcare professionals and scientists in improving health and patient care.  

LKCMedicine faculty take the stage at Day 2 of SHBC

The second day of SHBC will include tracks which features LKCMedicine's own faculty. A total of 19 tracks, of which 10 are new specialty tracks such as Living with Frailty: Unravelling the Impact of Metabolic Diseases; Crisis & Complex Care; Empowerment through Digitalisation; Healthcare Finance Transformation; and Training Professionals for Tomorrow's Healthcare. Other annual tracks include Primary Care, Mental Health, Palliative Care, Dermatology and Population Health. Renowned local and overseas experts will share their in-depth expertise on these topics.

LKCMedicine Assistant Professor and Provost's Chair in Molecular Medicine Sanjay Chotirmall will be chairing the track on 'Empowerment through Digital Digitalisation'. Concurrently, at the 'Humanities in Healthcare: Empathy Under Threat' track, LKCMedicine's Senior House Tutor and Clinical Practice Facilitator Dr Diana Barron is a Track Champion.  

LKCMedicine Assistant Dean (Head of Student Wellbeing) and Lead Clinical Communication Dr Tanya Tierney is also a speaker at the same track, but on the topic, 'Keeping Them Human; Safeguarding Empathy in the Midst of the Hidden Curriculum'. Another speaker at the same track from LKCMedicine is PhD candidate Ms Emma J Cartwright, on the topic, 'What Do You Need To Make Things Better?' 

Meanwhile in the afternoon, LKCMedicine Centre for Population Health Sciences Associate Professor Konstadina Griva is the Track Champion of the track 'Humanities in Healthcare: Mindfulness'. LKCMedicine Assistant Dean of Year 5 Associate Professor Tham Kum Ying is a speaker of the track 'Education & Pedagogies' on the topic; Funding & Medical Education.

SHBC Scientific Competition 2019

The annual SHBC Scientific Competition received a record number of 611 submissions from institutions across healthcare clusters and community partners. Awards were presented to 53 winners across 16 categories at the Open Ceremony.  Some of the Notable Award entries included widening of the gap between systolic and diastolic blood pressure found to be associated with reduced cognitive function in people with diabetes.

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In the Singapore Young (Investigator Award) (Clinical Research) category, LKCMedicine Research Fellow Dr Theresia Handayani Mina was an oral finalist. Meanwhile, in the SHBC Student Awards (Open Category), Year 5 students Chan Kai Siang and Adriel Kek were listed as oral finalists in the SHBC Scientific Competition.

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SHBC 2019 Organising Chairman Associate Professor Tan Cher Heng, Radiologist and Senior Consultant, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital said, "The SHBC Scientific Competition continues to promote translational research that provides the scientific basis for many interventions that serve to advance evidence-based care for our population. This has become even more important as we seek innovative ways to build a more sustainable healthcare system". A/Prof Tan is also Clinical Lead for Radiology at LKCMedicine.

Medical Humanities exhibition
At the sidelines of SHBC 2019, a Medical Humanities exhibition – now on its seventh run and sponsored by LKCMedicine– demonstrated the link between art and medicine. Centred around the theme of "Compassion", three out of 27 artworks on display were submitted by LKCMedicine students. The submissions included "I am. Only. Just Another" by Year 4 student Goh Xin Rong, "A touch of Compassion" by Year 3 student Jacy Mok and "A Compassionate Heart is an Ocean" by Year 1 student Claire Chow.

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