Duke, Singapore Create a Medical School


In an international effort to share education strategies, research, and health care know-how, Duke Medical Center and the National University of Singapore have formalized a partnership to establish that country’s first graduate medical school.

The new school will be based on Duke’s medical-school curriculum and the U.S. model, in which students enter medical school after earning their baccalaureate degrees. The new Graduate Medical School (GMS) will supplement the existing National University of Singapore’s medical school, which is based on the British model, where students enter medical school with the equivalent of a high-school diploma.

“ The government of Singapore has launched an impressive and thoughtful campaign to reorient their educational and economic emphasis toward biomedicine,” says Ralph Snyderman, M.D., chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO of Duke University Health System. “This new school and Duke will play a key role in this effort.”

For Duke, the endeavor represents an opportunity to work in a rapidly evolving research and clinical-care environment in a region of the world with great scientific and economic potential, Snyderman says. Moreover, there is a mutual commitment to “prospective health planning” that stresses preventive care and individualized plans for confronting health care.

Duke will play a key role in the new school. The first dean will be from Duke, and Duke will help select and evaluate both students and faculty members. In addition, the GMS will follow Duke’s four-year curriculum, which features one year of basic science, one clinical year, one research year, and one final clinical year. This curriculum is focused on producing physician-scientists and leaders in new approaches to medicine, says Snyderman. The program will lead to a Doctor of Medicine degree.

The government of Singapore approached Duke about the partnership, because of the medical center’s reputation and the medical school’s distinctive educational program, its research activity, and its faculty resources, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Education. It expects Duke’s involvement to raise the profile of the GMS and enhance the standing of Singapore as a regional center for medical education and research.

Singapore, with an economy and health system equivalent to the United Kingdom and France, has a population of 4.2 million.

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