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Hear from the Pioneers

​SingHealth Residency was established in 2010, when the Ministry of Health adopted the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-International (ACGME-I) requirements to train the next generation of specialists. We speak to pioneers in SingHealth Residency - administrators and Faculty alike, to learn about the untold stories of their early days in Residency.


The Residency 'Kampong' in SGH

(Ms Jillian Ang, pictured below the Facebook 'Like' button, with her Residency colleagues outside the old Duke-NUS building)

​Ms Jillian Ang Andrada
Institutional Coordinator, Graduate Medical Education (GME) Office

It has been a memorable 11 years with SingHealth Residency! I first began my journey in Residency as a Programme Executive (PE) in Emergency Medicine Residency Programme. At that time, I was still seated at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Block 3, Basement 1, with other Consultants and Medical Officers (MO). You can imagine how isolated the office was, as they were usually all out doing their rounds and seeing to their patients. Thankfully, no ghost sightings or creepy stuff happened!

In 2012, we shifted to the old Duke-NUS building located amidst the hustle and bustle of Outram Campus. It literally had a 'kampong' feel to it as we had crickets 'serenading' us while we worked overtime and lizards for company in the toilet.

Despite its kampong-ness, I stll miss the old Duke-NUS building, which was like an island for all Residency staff to gather, interact and foster bonds with one another. I strongly believe it was the place that has ignited the Residency community spirit that is still strong till today, even though we have all relocated to newer and nicer-looking offices now.

Beating the Odds

(Assoc Prof Mark Leong, pictured left in white bandana, with his Emergency Medicine Residents)

Assoc Prof Mark Leong
Programme Director, Emergency Medicine Residency Programme
(2009 - Present)

The early days of SingHealth Residency were tough, as there was a constant battle between provision of clinical services and the requirements of education - both of which were equally key aspects of ACGME-I. I still remember vividly our first audit when we received the Letter of Notification from our overseas accreditors. The letter stated that they would be back the following year to give increased scrutiny to the workings of our Residency structure and programmes, and we felt this huge pressure on us to do even better next year. The fact that we passed the audits successfully the following year, and the years after, left us with a great sense of accomplishment that we had come a long way.

But we are still far from finished! At Residency, all of us agree that 'transformation' is constantly required to keep up with the changing healthcare landscape and its demands, but how we 'transit' into each new phase also matters. It's an exciting, ongoing dialogue and one I'm glad to be a part of.

Laying a Strong Foundation

(Assoc Prof Inderjeet Singh, pictured centre, with his Orthopaedic Surgery Residents)

Assoc Prof Inderjeet Singh
Programme Director, Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Programme
(2010 - Present)

When Residency first started in 2010, it was a sudden and seismic shift in the way graduate medical education was delivered. Along with this came new portfolios of education delivery, assessments and administration, which were mind-boggling to me.

The most difficult task we faced was to write out the curriculum and fill in the Programme Information Form (PIF), as it was something none of us had been trained to do. Nonetheless, it was thoroughly satisfying to know that we were laying the grounds that would shape the future batches of orthopaedic surgeons. We also faced other challenges like convincing the general Faculty to implement the curriculum and getting newly minted Residents to understand the programme. We had to be very good 'salesmen' to achieve these.

Although we have turned 10, SingHealth Residency is not yet a finished product as there will always be changes to face and challenges to overcome. This year is probably the most challenging, with COVID-19 throwing a huge wrench in the works. But despite the disruptions, it has also ushered in new ways of delivering education to our Residents. It reminds me that as long as we adapt and change, SingHealth Residency can only grow stronger in the years to come!

A Day to Remember

(Mr Joseph Li, pictured extreme left, with his PGY1 colleagues at SingHealth Staff Appreciation Day 2015)

Mr Joseph Li
Assistant Manager, Postgraduate Year 1 (PGY1) Programme

This is a photo of me and my team. Our team works alongside aspiring doctors as they start their first year of Residency, and we have the opportunity to witness their passion for Medicine at the beginning of their medical career. This photo was taken right after an overseas ACGME-I site visit for our Transitional Year Residency Programme (now known as PGY1 Programme) audit, where I was closely supporting my Programme Director in.

As my Residency colleagues would know, every Residency site visit is a hair-raising one, because the site visit is a key component of our successful accreditation for another 10 years. This photo captured the immense relief and sense of satisfaction I felt right after the successful site visit. Work is challenging, but the opportunities and exposure that I have are satisfying and rewarding!

Perfecting the 'CRAFD'

(Ms Jodie Lee, pictured centre, celebrating her birthday with her CRAFD team in 2015)

Ms Jodie Lee
Senior Manager, GME Office

Like SingHealth Residency, this year also marks my 10th year anniversary in Residency too! Growing alongside SingHealth Residency has been fun and enjoyable - made possible by the people (colleagues, Faculty and Residents) whom I have had opportunities to learn, work and build camaraderie with.

One of the proudest moments I had in Residency was in 2019, when my team and I were given the opportunity to work alongside Dr Andrew Ong, Programme Director, Gastroenterology Senior Residency Programme, to present at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Education Conference 2019. It was a fulfilling and memorable experience to have been a part of this landmark event, and to be invited to share our work in front of so many healthcare educators and learners. It was a validation of the hard work and efforts that the Centre for Resident and Faculty Development (CRAFD) team has put in over the years.

A Day to Remember

Mr Muhammad Faizal Bin Malkan
Associate Executive, Paediatric Surgery Programme

I have been with SingHealth Residency for six years now. Despite my introverted nature, I have come to enjoy meeting and interacting with different people along my Residency journey. All of them have been nothing short of supportive; teaching me to see things from different perspectives and encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone.

I still remember my first ever SingHealth Residency Freshmen Orientation at Sentosa, where I had to play games with new Residents and Residency Faculty. One of the games included dancing - something that I was particularly shy and embarrassed about! But with the encouragement of my newly befriended Residency family, I managed to pluck up the courage to dance! It was definitely an experience that I would never forget.

Masters of Medicine

(Assoc Prof Ian Yeo, pictured centre in red, with other SingHealth Residency pioneers dressing up as 'kung fu' masters at SingHealth Residency Open House 2011)

Assoc Prof Ian Yeo
Ex-Programme Director, Ophthalmology Residency Programme (2010 - 2014)

The early days of Residency were not easy. The greatest challenge we faced then was learning how to translate the ACGME-I jargons and requirements into practice. Despite these difficulties, I jumped at the opportunity to make Ophthalmology Residency programme better as I have always been passionate about training the next generation of ophthalmologists.

Although there were challenges, there were many enjoyable moments that I came to cherish too. One memory is the first-ever SingHealth Residency Open House, held at the old Duke-NUS building in 2011, where I was dressed as a 'kung fu' master, while interacting with prospective Residents. It never fails to bring back fun memories and laughter whenever the video of the event is being replayed.

It's heartening to see that we are all working towards a common goal: building an identity that's unique to SingHealth, with the same hopes of nurturing the next generation of doctors who carry the right ethos for patient care, research and education with them.