28 Aug 2014 - 28 Aug 2014

National Medical Excellence Awards 2014

The National Medical Excellence Awards Ceremony was held on 28 August 2014 at The Regent Singapore, with Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong as the Patron and Guest of Honour.  This year marks the seventh year of this event, with seven awards given out to six clinicians and a team.

The evening saw the presence of over 260 guests from the clinical and research community to celebrate the success of the awardees for innovations in healthcare, patient safety, clinical quality, biomedical research as well as training and education of clinicians.

The National Medical Excellence Awards was jointly organised by the Ministry of Health and National University Health system, with support from Alexandra Health, Duke-NUS, Eastern Health Alliance, Jurong Health Services, National Healthcare Group and Singapore Health Services. 

Award winners:

National Outstanding Clinician Award
Professor Wong Peng Cheang

National Outstanding Clinician Scientist Award
Associate Professor Allen Yeoh Eng Juh

National Outstanding Clinician Mentor Award
Professor Chay Oh Moh
Professor Quak Seng Hock

National Outstanding Clinician Educator Award
Associate Professor Chow Wan Cheng

National Outstanding Clinical Quality Activist Award
Associate Professor Ong Biauw Chi

National Clinical Excellence Team Award
Associate Professor Malcolm Mahadevan
Dr Kuan Win Sen
Professor Lim Tow Keang
Dr Lim Hui Fang

Click here to read press release
Click here to read Minister's speech

Click here to view the photos taken during the event.


Wong Peng Cheang

Head & Senior Consultant, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
National University Hospital

Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

National University Health System

Prof Wong’s illustrious career spans more than three decades, with a milestone in 1983, when he was part of the team that helped to bring about Singapore’s first in-vitro fertilisation baby. The team was conferred the National Science and Technology Award for the achievement in 1988.

Professor of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Senior Consultant with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) at the National University Hospital (NUH), Prof Wong also heads the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility and is currently the Director of the Centre for Reproductive Education and Specialist Training at NUH. 

He was the first president of the Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction (ASPIRE) and was awarded the Honorary Membership to the International Federation of Fertility Societies last year for his contribution to reproductive medicine.

Prof Wong has extensive experience in both public and private healthcare establishments and has made important contributions in the fields of infertility and assisted reproduction technique, attested by his publications in high-impact medical journals. 

In 1984, Prof Wong successfully embarked on research with the rhesus monkey model to show that Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer (GIFT) could be an alternative method to assisted reproduction other than In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and Embryo Transfer (ET). He then returned to Singapore and continued his work on GIFT at NUH. The O&G department was successful in producing the first pregnancy in Asia via GIFT.  In recognition of his pioneering work, Prof Wong was honoured with two prestigious lectureships:  The William Blair-Bell Memorial Lecture (RCOG, London, England) and the Fourth Benjamin Henry Sheares Memorial Lecture (Singapore).

Prof Wong continued his work in the fields of infertility and IVF. As a member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Task Force on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Infertility, Prof Wong was also involved in several studies, which were at the forefront of infertility research. 

Committed to training and education, Prof Wong founded the Centre for Reproductive Education & Specialist Training (CREST) in NUH in March 2011.  CREST was the first specialised training centre for Assisted Reproduction in the Asia Pacific region. The Centre had state-of-the-art modular laboratories and provided training courses for clinicians and embryologists. It was committed to assist specialists and practitioners to gain not only the technical skills in assisted human reproduction but also the necessary sensitivity to help patients. 

For his outstanding contributions and extraordinary dedication in the growth and development of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the area of assisted reproduction, Professor Wong Peng Cheang is awarded the 2014 National Outstanding Clinician Award.


Allen Yeoh

Viva-Goh Foundation Associate Professor in Paediatric Oncology
Senior Consultant, Khoo Teck Puat - National University Children's Medical Institute
National University Hospital
Senior Consultant, Division of Paediatric Haematology-Oncology
National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
Department of Paediatrics, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
National University Health System

Associate Professor Allen Yeoh is devoted to developing cost-effective treatments to improve treatment outcomes for children with acute leukaemia in Singapore and Asia.

He led the highly successful multi-centre Malaysia-Singapore acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) 2003 study that changed the way childhood ALL was treated in Singapore and Malaysia. Using a single minimal residual disease biomarker, he was able to accurately determine each patient’s response to treatment and tailor the optimal intensity of chemotherapy. The majority of patients with lower risks need only to use three drugs, instead of the inclusion of a relatively toxic fourth drug used in the current treatment protocol. This not only resulted in cost savings, but also outstanding cure rates for patients.

A/Prof Yeoh is among the first in the world to show that gene expression profiling of leukaemia cells can accurately diagnose and subtype all the clinically important groups of childhood ALL with great accuracy. This single platform uses a gene chip which replaces four existing complex laboratory tests that are costlier and require immense technical expertise. In recognition of his work, he is the first Singapore doctor to be awarded the American Society of Haematology Merit Award and his paper was one of the highly-cited articles in haematological malignancies in 2003.

As a prolific clinician-scientist, innovator and entrepreneur, A/Prof Yeoh’s work enjoys international recognition. The author of more than 50 papers in leading international medical and scientific journals, he is widely cited for his work in paediatric leukaemia, and has also received many international awards for his research. In recognition of his achievements in the treatment of paediatric leukaemia, A/Prof Yeoh was awarded the Viva-Goh Foundation Associate Professorship in Paediatric Oncology in 2012.

Like many of the distinguished clinicians who were awarded, A/Prof Yeoh is committed to supporting and developing junior clinician-scientists and helping them succeed in their research careers. As the Programme Director of the NUS Master of Clinical Investigation programme and Chairman of the NUHS Clinician Scientist Unit, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, he devotes much effort to mentoring young clinicians to assist them in kick-starting their research journey.

For his outstanding contributions and achievements in research in the field of paediatric leukaemia, by improving patient outcomes and achieving better understanding of the disease, Associate Professor Allen Yeoh is awarded the 2014 National Outstanding Clinician Scientist Award.


Chay Oh Moh

Campus Director, Education Office
Senior Consultant, Respiratory Medicine Service, Department of Paediatrics
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital

Professor Chay Oh Moh holds several appointments at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) and Singapore Health Services (SingHealth). She is the Campus Director, Education Office and Senior Consultant, Respiratory Medicine Service, Department of Paediatrics, KKH. At SingHealth, she is the Associate Designated Institutional Official (ADIO), SingHealth Post-Graduate Medical Education; Clinical Physician Faculty Member, Paediatrics; Member, SingHealth Cluster Implementation Workgroup (CIW); and Chair, SingHealth Work Performance Review Committee. She is also a Professor at both Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School (Duke-NUS) and Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (YLLSoM), National University of Singapore (NUS).

For more than 20 years, Prof Chay has been an outstanding mentor and educator par excellence, making significant contributions to the professional initiation and development of innumerable medical students and residents in the areas of paediatrics and paediatric respiratory medicine, with her teaching, training and mentorship. Having been at the forefront of paediatric respiratory medicine, she is endearingly referred to as the “mother” of the specialty; she has diligently nurtured and groomed a new generation of paediatric respiratory physicians, who are now furthering the advancement and development of paediatric respiratory care and medical education in Singapore. A strong believer of the importance of interpersonal communication skills and empathy in the clinical care for patients and support for their caregivers, Prof Chay spearheaded the development and formalised communications courses and workshops, based on experiential learning. Customised for different levels of doctors, these have since been incorporated into the core curriculum of all SingHealth Residency Programs, with a formal “train-the-trainer” model to prepare the next generation of specialists to impart these skills, and ensure the continuity of this endeavour.

As Campus Director of the Education Office at KKH, Prof Chay is instrumental in shaping the education for the next generation of healthcare providers and strongly promotes interprofessional learning. She oversees the education and training of medical, nursing and allied health professionals, including undergraduate and postgraduate education of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) and Paediatric Academic Clinical Programs (ACP).In 2007, she was made the first Paediatric Clerkship Leader for Duke-NUS, where she played a pivotal role in structuring the Paediatric programme that inculcates greater clinical involvement for students, and promotes self-directed learning. In 2009, she was conferred the titles of Professor and Paediatric Program Leader of Duke-NUS.

As the first Academic Chair of the SingHealth-Duke NUS Paediatric ACP, she established a robust framework that has effectively cultivated strong mentor-mentee relations across all levels of doctors at KKH as well as the academic system.

Professor Chay believes in role modelling and walking the talk. As a mentor, she journeys with her mentees, always listening to their concerns, enabling and facilitating them to explore their strengths, and inspiring them to follow their passion, and work towards their desired goals. 

Among her mentees with notable achievements and credentials are A/Prof Ng Kee Chong and Dr Teoh Oon Hoe. A/Prof Ng Kee Chong is Chairman, Division of Medicine, and Head and Senior Consultant of the Department of Emergency Medicine, and Psychosocial Trauma Support Service at KKH. He was mentored by Prof Chay in his leadership roles for the Department of Emergency Medicine as well as Division of Medicine at KKH. As an academician, he is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Duke-NUS, the Academic Chair of the Paediatrics Academic Clinical Program, and Paediatrics Clerkship Director, of SingHealth Duke-NUS. A/Prof Ng is also the Chairman of KKH’s Emergency Preparedness Committee, a member of the National Trauma Committee, the National Resuscitation Council (NRC), and Chair of NRC’s Paediatric Life Support Subcommittee as well as a task force member of the Paediatrics Resuscitation Taskforce of the International Liaison Committee of Resuscitation (ILCOR), run by the American Heart Association and other international resuscitation councils.   

Dr Teoh Oon Hoe was mentored by Prof Chay for his leadership roles. He is head and senior consultant of KKH’s Respiratory Medicine Service, and Medical Director of the hospital’s Sleep Disorders Centre. He received the Japanese Respiratory Society Young Investigator Travel Fellowship (Harasawa Fellowship) for the 11th Congress of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology in 2006 for his work on childhood asthma and a grant under MOH’s Health Manpower Development Plan to pursue advanced training in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine and Sleep Medicine at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney. Dr Teoh represents KKH as an Executive Board Member at the Asia Pacific Child and Family Health Alliance for Tobacco Control, and is a member of MOH’s Advisory Committee on Haze and Child Health. Like Prof Chay, Dr Teoh is a passionate educator and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the YLLSoM and Duke-NUS.

For her distinguished and outstanding contributions as a mentor, teacher, researcher and clinician to the development of Paediatric Medicine in Singapore, Prof Chay is being awarded the 2014 National Outstanding Clinician Mentor Award.


Quak Seng Hock

Head & Senior Consultant, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition
Khoo Teck Puat – National University Children’s Medical Institute
National University Hospital
Professor of Paediatrics
Department of Paediatrics
NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
National University Health System

Professor Quak Seng Hock is Professor of Paediatrics, at the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and an Emeritus Consultant Paediatrician with the Khoo Teck Puat-National University Children’s Medical Institute at the National University Hospital (NUH). He is also the Head of the Division of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Throughout his career, Prof Quak has held various roles with verve, panache and passion – a caring doctor, a committed mentor and rigorous academician. He provided guidance in the training and mentoring of medical students and junior doctors. A pioneer in paediatric gastroenterology and hepatology in Singapore, Prof Quak is the principal driver of the Paediatric Liver Transplant Programme. He developed the full set of paediatric gastrointestinal and hepatology services at NUH since its inception in 1985.

Prof Quak trained several overseas fellows in his subspecialty and built up a strong team of specialists, providing one of the best paediatric gastrointestinal and hepatology services in the region, complete with the ability to perform liver transplantation. From the first paediatric liver transplant in 1984 in Singapore, Prof Quak and his team have steadily built a liver transplantation programme that is comparable to the best paediatric liver transplant centres in the world. He continues to drive the training programmes for paediatric gastroenterologists and hepatologists locally and regionally.

As a teacher, Prof Quak’s belief in a strong foundation in medical undergraduate education saw him give emphasis in helping students develop their clinical skills, knowledge, clinical reasoning and professionalism. He is actively involved in curriculum reformation, playing a great role in the career development of paediatric trainees. The internal examiner for postgraduate degree in Paediatric Medicine and Family Medicine for the past 20 years, Prof Quak contributes to ensuring the high quality of clinicians.

Prof Quak is also involved in policy and administrative domains. He leads clinical ward teams and intensive care rounds weekly, drives the training programme for paediatric gastroenterologists and hepatologists. An advocate for knowledge sharing, Prof Quak made time to share his knowledge with colleagues overseas, and had participated in many international teaching courses and workshops in endoscopic skills in Asia.

Beyond his clinical and teaching responsibilities, Prof Quak also makes time for clinical research, contributing to work on clinical trials on infant formula, Hepatitis B vaccination, liver transplantation, H. pylori infections and many others. He has published in international, regional and local medical journals.

A member of the Editorial Board of several international journals, Prof Quak has served as reviewer for international journals such as the Journal of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition; Paediatric Allergy and Immunology, UK; Acta Paediatrica, Stockholm, Sweden; Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology; Paediatric International as well as for several other regional and national journals.

The above are testament to Prof Quak’s many key leadership positions in national and international professional bodies over the last 15 years. In addition, he has been appointed to various national advisory committees including appointments in Academy of Medicine and Ministry of Health in recognition of his expertise.

For his distinguished and outstanding contributions as a mentor, teacher, researcher and clinician in the in the development of paediatric gastroenterology and hepatology in Singapore, Professor Quak Seng Hock is awarded the 2014 National Outstanding Clinician Mentor Award.


Chow Wan Cheng

Chairman, Division of Medicine
Senior Consultant, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Singapore General Hospital

If you asked Associate Professor Chow Wan Cheng what the driving force behind her work was as a teacher, clinician and leader; the answer would be – her patients. A strong believer that sharing and caring are the hallmarks of medical profession, A/Prof Chow‘s care, compassion and concern for her patients have touched and inspired many clinicians and young doctors. As a mentor, A/Prof Chow strives to be one who teaches through both words and deeds. She thinks that mentoring is not just about the passing on of knowledge, but also the ethos of a good clinician and the values of public service.

A/Prof Chow’s patients have always been at the heart of all that she does. This focus has never waned in her 29 years as a doctor, and is exemplified by her immense contributions in the field of gastroenterology and hepatology. A/Prof Chow is currently the Chairman of the Division of Medicine, and Senior Consultant with the Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH). She is also Clinical Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (YLLSoM), as well as Adjunct Associate Professor at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School (Duke-NUS GMS).

A/Prof Chow is a respected clinician who has gained regional recognition and won multiple awards for her research in chronic viral hepatitis. She actively contributes to the field of hepatology through sharing her insights in medical textbooks, local and international medical journals as well as at key international scientific meetings.

Passionate about education and training, A/Prof Chow not only contributed significantly towards undergraduate and post-graduate medical education, she is also heavily involved in continuous medical educational programmes for clinicians in primary healthcare, as well as in public education, especially in the field of viral hepatitis. She also played a vital part in charting the academic training and professional development of the physicians in SGH. As the programme director, A/Prof Chow was instrumental in developing the curriculum for the Residents of Internal Medicine, to ensure all clinicians are at the forefront of medical excellence.

As a medical educator and mentor, her efforts to raise the standards of healthcare education are aimed at one ultimate goal – better patient outcomes. As a leader, A/Prof Chow is an inspirational model who ensures the welfare of her doctors, so as to stay on top of efforts to raise the standards of healthcare education to achieve patient outcomes in SGH and within the public healthcare system. Like a beacon of light for her doctors, she aspires to lead them towards medical excellence as the hospital progresses towards a culture of academic medicine.

For being the epitome of a teacher, clinician and leader in nurturing the next generation of doctors and defining tomorrow’s academic medicine, A/Prof Chow Wan Cheng is awarded the National Outstanding Clinician Educator Award 2014.


Ong BC

Director, Clinical Governance & Patient Safety
Senior Consultant, Department of Anaesthesiology
Singapore General Hospital
Pro-Tem Chairman, Medical Board, Sengkang Health

Associate Professor Ong Biauw Chi's passion for patient safety and clinical care has been evident throughout her medical career that spans 28 years. As a senior consultant leading a team of anaesthesiologists, she once described her role as being akin to that of a pilot who works closely with her ‘crew of specialists’ to ensure a safe flight for passengers. Indeed, she is regarded as a thought-leader in patient safety and clinical quality improvement at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), where she has played a pivotal role in clinical governance, patient safety and quality improvement.

But A/Prof Ong's influence and contributions have not just been confined to her own hospital or cluster. She was instrumental in leading a network of committed patient safety officers from across the healthcare sector to a successful implementation of the WHO "High 5s" Correct Site Surgery protocol, an achievement which put Singapore on the world map for surgical safety. This was a multi-year project that applied a standardised surgical protocol involving mandatory time-out checks in all major operating theaters in public hospitals to ensure the correct surgical procedure is carried out on the correct patient. Singapore’s results were significantly better than many of the other participating countries, including UK, Germany and France amongst others.

Besides her various appointments at the institutions, A/Prof Ong was also appointed as a patient safety consultant to the Ministry of Health. She provided advice for enhancing the sentinel event sharing through forums during which valuable lessons were shared among the clinicians and quality managers across all hospitals in Singapore from both public and private sectors. This forum provided a safe environment for sharing and was a huge step forward during the time when errors were considered best not spoken of. It also provided a platform for collective solutioning to common problems, from which several innovative ideas have already been implemented.

Within SGH, A/Prof Ong is a familiar face when it comes to initiating, building and sustaining various programmes to advance Patient Safety, Quality Improvement and Clinical Governance. As a catalyst for numerous patient-centric quality initiatives, she formalised the clinical governance structure, a system which ensures a better accountability of care given to patients. She also kick-started a clinical review programme that has helped the multi-disciplinary healthcare team to analyse potential limitations in patient care so that systemic improvements can be put in place.

In 2005, she was part of the team which led SGH to become the world’s second largest teaching hospital to be awarded Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation. More recently, SGH has undergone four rounds of accreditation from JCI, specifically under the Academic Medical Centre standards. In each of the surveys A/Prof Ong provided valuable guidance and leadership to staff from all levels as they rallied together to gear up for the assessments.

Despite being heavily involved in hospital and national safety, quality and governance work, A/Prof Ong is equally passionate about teaching, mentoring and inculcating the right values of patient care and safety to the next generation of healthcare specialists. She introduced the WHO patient safety curriculum to the Duke-NUS Graduate School of Medicine and Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine to expose trainee doctors and medical staff trainees to the most fundamental values of patient care early into their career. In 2007, she also worked with Nanyang Polytechnic to start a post-basic nursing advanced diploma course in perianaesthesia.

A/Prof Ong was appointed Pro-Tem Chairman Medical Board for Sengkang Health two years ago, and in this capacity she will continue to inspire and further advance the cause of patient safety and quality in the new hospital.

For her outstanding contributions, foresight and extraordinary dedication in advocating best practices, quality improvement and gold standards in patient safety and clinical care, A/Prof Ong Biauw Chi is awarded the National Outstanding Clinical Quality Activist Award 2014.


NMEA team 2014

Head & Senior Consultant, Emergency Medicine Department

Consultant, Emergency Medicine Department

Senior Consultant, Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 
University Medicine Cluster

Consultant, Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 
University Medicine Cluster

Severe community-acquired pneumonia (SCAP) is a common and potentially fatal condition. Pneumonia was the 4th leading cause for hospitalisation in Singapore in 2011, accounting for 2.7% of all (481,700) hospital discharges. In the same year, it was the 3rd commonest cause of mortality, accounting for 16.0% of all (18,027) deaths, just after cancer and ischemic heart disease. A delay in the admission of patients with SCAP to the intensive care unit (ICU) can result in doubling of mortality rates from approximately 25% to 50%.

With perseverance and the goal to reduce the mortality rates for SCAP patients, a team with members from the hospital’s Emergency Medicine Department (EMD) and Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (RCCM), University Medicine Cluster, embarked on a quality improvement project in 2008 to develop a multidisciplinary programme that improved pre-ICU resuscitation and reduced hospital mortality for SCAP patients from 23.8% to 5.7%.

The team, headed by Associate Professor Malcolm Mahadevan, developed and implemented a multifaceted workflow that standardised and optimised the management of SCAP patients at the emergency department.

The programme was carried out over seven years and involved early identification of SCAP patients followed by protocolised and aggressive resuscitation and management in the EMD and the ICU.

Their efforts reduced ICU admission rates and length of stay in the hospital, which translated to significant savings in hospital bills for the patients.

These positive results have been sustained since the implementation of the programme, and steps are underway to share the intervention with the other hospitals in Singapore to improve the prognosis of patients with SCAP in Singapore.

For their outstanding contributions to improve the management of patient conditions, the team represented by Associate Professor Malcolm Mahadevan, Dr Kuan Win Sen, Professor Lim Tow Keang and Dr Lim Hui Fang of the National University Hospital is awarded the 2014 National Clinical Excellence Team Award.