60 Years

 

 

LIM Shih Hui

Master (2012-2016)
Academy of Medicine, Singapore

 

 

31 August 2015

 

Dear Fellow Academicians
 
August has been eventful and upbeat.  Singapore celebrated SG50 and the Academy hosted the 49th Singapore-Malaysia Congress of Medicine (SMCM) from 31st July to 2nd August 2015.  Two years from now, our Academy will host the 51st SMCM and celebrate our 60th Anniversary of inception, or Diamond Jubilee, in 2017.
 

1. Will Academy still exist 20 to 50 years from today?

 

Will the Academy be around in 17 years’ time to celebrate our 75th Anniversary Platinum Jubilee in 2032?  Or survive long enough to celebrate the 100th Anniversary Centenary Jubilee in 2057? 

Are the reasons for Academy’s existence still valid today and in the future?  What do we have to do now to ensure Academy’s longevity? 

What is certain is if the Academy does not actively plan our own destiny but chooses to remain passive and stay nonchalant and unresponsive to changing educational landscape, we will be irrelevant and extinct sooner than we anticipate.

 

2. Roles of Academy in Specialists' Initial Certification and Subsequent Maintenance of Competencies and Standard

 

 

Perhaps how we embrace the future can be guided by why we exist in the first place.  The Academy was established in 1957 as a professional institution of medical and dental specialists devoted to advancing the art and science of medicine in Singapore through (1) postgraduate specialist training; (2) maintenance of high standards of competency and ethical integrity through continuous professional development, and (3) dissemination of information and knowledge to the public on matters related to health. 

With the changes in specialist training over the past two decades, the Academy no longer plays a leading role in training and assessment of postgraduate trainees, except for the Master who serves as JCST Co-Chair.
 

During this training phase of 5 to 8 years, MOH and SAB invest considerable effort and substantial resources (especially financial) to train competent specialists.  On the other hand, the practice of specialists can be as long as 30 to 40 years.  It is therefore even more vital to allocate adequate resources to the life-long learning phase, not just to maintain the standard of specialists’ practice but to acquire new competencies to meet new advances and changing healthcare needs. 

Initial specialist certification and subsequent maintenance of specialist competencies should be viewed as a continuum (see diagram below) with multiple quality control stations in the career path of specialists.

 

Which organization, MOH, Universities, SMC, or Professional body is/are in the best position to take ownership of this life-long learning and career path of specialists for 30-40 years? 


My personal view is MOH has a heavy responsibility to ensure healthcare of Singaporeans and residents are well taken care of.  The SMC has a regulatory role to uphold while universities’ focus centres on academic pursuit.  Hence, the administration of professional certification examination and maintenance of professional standards are most suited to be under the purview of professional body.
 

The Academy is capable to administer the initial certification examination as well as to ensure the “maintenance of high standards of competency and ethical integrity through continuous professional development”.  Since its establishment in 1957 with 34 founding members, Academy has grown into 11 Colleges and 5 Chapters with more than 3,000 domain experts in 36 medical and 6 dental specialties, and has become a valuable asset to Singapore’s healthcare system.  Ours is also a Team with many good Fellows, some of whom are National Day Award Recipients or have received National Medical Excellence Awards.  Individual competency, team work and collective wisdom will ensure the Academy’s success in undertaking one of the most important tasks: helping Singapore to provide specialists of high quality. 

What the Academy needs is good leadership, solid organizational structure, formal training of our specialists in assessment, and trust from the relevant authorities, for us to deliver

 

3. Formation of an AMS Deanery

 

To meet the educational needs of the next two decades, Academy is now re-organizing its structure to consolidate all education-related activities and programmes to be administered by a central coordinating body: AMS Deanery

The Deanery will have an Advisory Board and an Academic Board:

Deanery Advisory Board

The Advisory Board shall provide strategic advices, independent of AMS Council, to the Dean and the Academic Board, on the full range of AMS’ educational initiatives which will enhance specialists’ training and competencies.  Board members will include Past Masters, representatives from MOH, DGMS and the 3 medical schools.

• Deanery Academic Board

The Academic Board, led by the Dean with Chairmen and Directors of all educational committees and programmes, shall plan, implement and monitor all educational activities of the Academy.  The term of the Academic Board is 5 years.  The 5-year term will ensure continuity and sustainability of AMS Education as the outcome and impact of which are usually seen and felt years later.  A search committee has been set up to identify suitable candidates to take up various roles in the Academy Board.

 

 

To answer my original question: “Will Academy still exist 20-50 years from today?”  My answer is positively “Yes”, if every Fellow recognizes the important role the Academy can play in the continuum of initial specialist certification and subsequent maintenance of specialists’ competencies and professional standards!


In the past two weeks, I have heard the following words of wisdom several times but it is worth repeating.  In Africa there is a saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together”.  Academy will and want to go far together with all its 11 Colleges and 5 Chapters.

 
 
 

 

 

 

Best Wishes


Dr Lim Shih Hui
Master
Email: master@ams.edu.sg

 

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