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Duke-NUS med school officially opens

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (center in pink) speaks at the opening ceremony of the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (center in pink) speaks at the opening ceremony of the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School.

Several top Duke and Singaporean officials gathered for the official opening of the Duke University-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School’s new home Monday.

Guests dedicated the 11-story medical education and research facility, named the Khoo Teck Puat Building. The building is named after the late Singaporean businessman and philanthropist Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat, whose estate donated $80 million to the project.

Members of the Khoo family, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President Richard Brodhead and Dr. Victor Dzau, chancellor for health affairs and president and chief executive officer of the Duke University Health System, participated in the ceremony, according to a Duke-NUS news release.

“For Duke University and Duke Medicine, the Duke-NUS medical school underscores our strong commitment to a global mission in research and education that will ultimately speed the translation of scientific discoveries to the bedside, and close the gap in health care disparities worldwide,” Dzau said in a statement Monday.

The Duke-NUS program is in its third year of operation. Its inaugural class of 26 students is set to graduate in 2011 with joint Doctor of Medicine degrees from Duke and NUS.

The school now boasts 130 students from 17 countries in the four-year program based on the Duke’s medical education model.

The school has also established five Signature Research Programs to address health care concerns facing Singaporeans, including emerging infectious diseases, cancer and stem cell biology, neuroscience and behavioral disorders, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders and health services and systems research.

NUS seeks to become a world leader in biomedical research and health care, according to the release. The global vision Duke and Singapore share for medical research and education explains their collaboration, Tan Chorh Chuan, professor and president of NUS, said in a statement.

Brodhead said support for biomedical research and medical education from Singapore’s government has also made the country a destination for development.

“Students and academics want to come here for the opportunity to learn and gain new insights from a place that is a crossroads of global cultures and ideas, yet also a leader in education and access to health care,” he said in a statement.

The new building features a 9-story laboratory zone, a vertical atrium, genomics facilities, lecture and teaching facilities and a library. The building was operationally ready in May 2009, before the academic session began in August.

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