Issue 133 | Apr-Jun 2023

Duke-NUS Dialogue: The Signature Event for the Duke‑NUS Medical Alumni

The Duke‑NUS Dialogues were conceived in late 2016 to promote Duke‑NUS Medical Alumni’s core mission through alumni dialogues with prominent clinicians, scientific researchers and political leaders.

Guests at the 9th Duke-NUS Dialogue with Prof Dzau (front row, centre).
At each Duke‑NUS Dialogue, alumni, current students, faculty and SingHealth Duke‑NUS Academic Medical Centre leaders meet over dinner before gathering for the Dialogue, which begins with the Distinguished Speaker’s opening remarks, followed by a lively Q&A session. Chatham House Rules ensure a vibrant, open and meaningful debate. 

Mr Tony Chew, founding chairman of the Duke-NUS Medical School Governing Board, and his family generously host the Dialogues at their home. The sole Honorary Member of the Duke‑NUS Medical Alumni, Mr Chew is a stalwart advocate for Duke-NUS and has taken a special interest in supporting this small but ever-growing alumni body.

The inaugural Duke‑NUS Dialogue was held in January 2017 with Dr Janil Puthucheary, Minister of State, Ministry of Communications & Information and Ministry of Education, as Distinguished Speaker. Dr Janil, who trained as a paediatrician, served as a founding faculty member at Duke‑NUS and made important contributions to the innovative team-based learning pedagogy that the school employs.

The Dialogues have entered a new era with the 9th instalment of the Duke‑NUS Dialogues in March 2023, featuring an overseas speaker for the first time. Professor Victor J. Dzau, President of the US National Academy of Medicine (NAM), is an internationally-acclaimed clinician leader and physician scientist who has made a significant impact through his seminal research in cardiovascular medicine pioneering gene therapy for vascular disease. In addition to serving as Vice Chair of the US National Research Council, he is also Chancellor Emeritus at Duke University and former CEO of the Duke University Health System.

Choosing Prof Dzau as the first international Distinguished Speaker for the Dialogues was a natural decision for the alumni leadership, given his active involvement with Singapore and his pivotal role in the formation of Duke‑NUS Medical School in 2005. He serves on the Board of Singapore Health Services Pte Ltd and the Academic Medicine Advisory Council of SingHealth and Duke‑NUS. A thought leader on academic medicine, Prof Dzau spoke on the theme of “The role of academic medicine in Singapore’s future”.

campus2-3A friend to the nation

At NAM, Prof Dzau leads a strategy of innovation, action and equity. He designed and led many important initiatives, including the Global Health Risk Framework; Global Health and Future Role of the US; Integrating Clinical Research into Epidemic Response: The Ebola Experience; Human Genome Editing; and in October 2022, NAM released the National Plan for Health Workforce Well‑Being to strengthen health workforce well-being.

In 2014, his contributions to Singapore were rewarded with the National University of Singapore’s Outstanding Service Award and the 2014 Singapore National Day Public Service Medal, and in 2019, he was named an Honorary Citizen of Singapore.
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