The Department of Anaesthesia, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS Anaesthesia) is committed to provide excellent education to our medical students and conduct research that will benefit our patients. NUS Anaesthesia has one tenured full Professor, three tenured Associate Professors, and an Associate Professor with a conjoint appointment in Pharmacology and Anaesthesia. NUS Anaesthesia is an integral part of the Department of Anaesthesia, National University Health System Singapore, enabling translation of our research findings to better clinical care, and education guidance to better equipping graduating doctors.
In Undergraduate Education, NUS Anaesthesia is led by Dr Jerry Ee. Our objective is to teach medical students aspects about anaesthesia and the perioperative period that will be relevant to the majority of graduating doctors, regardless of their final career path. This includes the ability to understand what happens during anaesthesia, including analgesic options, so that they can give learned advice to patients considering surgery. Students also need to understand how best to prepare patients to face surgery, particularly major ones, and to appreciate the complications that may occur after anaesthesia and surgery. Lastly, resuscitation skills are emphasized so that every graduating doctor can competently maintain a patent airway and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
In research, I also assume the role of Director of Research in mid-2014. Since then, our Department’s research output has more than doubled. Importantly, this has been accompanied by an increase in the average impact factor of the journals we are publishing in. Two of our Associate Professors hold demanding portfolios in the organization, with Assoc Prof Eugene Liu appointed Chief Executive Officer of NUHS and Assoc Prof Chen Fun Gee as Director of the Division of Graduate Medical Studies, making it challenging for them to further the research mission. Therefore, it has been the objective of the Department to provide our junior faculty, residents and medical students the infrastructure, guidance, support and mentorship to become involved in research projects. With this, I hope to build up the next generation of researchers, and to cultivate a research culture within the Department.
From our research findings, it is clear that the Asian patient is different from Caucasian patients, particularly with respect to the incidence and risk factors for adverse outcomes after major surgery. Importantly, our risk factors including potentially modifiable ones differ from the published literature. Therefore incorporating clinical guidelines developed from Western populations may not necessarily be suitable for our patients, and it is imperative that we understand these differences in order to provide the best care for our fellow Singaporeans. Investigating risk factors, elucidating mechanistic and genetic pathways, and adopting clinical pathways tailored for our patient population are some of the long-term research goals of the Department.