21 Aug 2015 - 21 Aug 2015

National Medical Excellence Awards 2015

The National Medical Excellence Awards Ceremony was held on 21 August 2015 at Shangri-La Hotel, with Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong as the Patron and Guest of Honour. This year marks the eighth year of this event, with eight awards given out to seven 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 Singapore Health Services, with support from Alexandra Health, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Eastern Health Alliance, Jurong Health Services, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, National Healthcare Group and National University Health system.

Award winners:

National Outstanding Clinician Award
Professor Tan Puay Hoon

National Outstanding Clinician Scientist Award
Associate Professor Tai E Shyong

National Outstanding Clinician Mentor Award
Professor Koh Tian Hai
Professor Lee Chuen Neng

National Outstanding Clinician Educator Award
Professor Lim Shih Hui

National Outstanding Clinical Quality Champion Award
Associate Professor Thomas Chee
Associate Professor James Yip 

National Clinical Excellence Team Award
KK Women's & Children's Hospital
Associate Professor Lim Sok Bee
Dr Sylvia Choo
Mr Tang Hui Nee
Ms Oh Shujun

Click here to read Minister's speech


Tan Puay Hoon

Head and Senior Consultant
Department of Pathology
Singapore General Hospital 

Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine 

SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre 

Professor Tan Puay Hoon is a dedicated pathologist and one of the key opinion leaders on breast pathology internationally.  Over the past 26 years, she has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to find out what is ailing patients. Relatively unknown to the public, pathologists play significant role in the diagnosis of illnesses, determining the treatment that patients require without seeing or speaking to patients face-to-face. 

Through the years, Prof Tan has lost none of the passion she has for pathology, which she describes as an invigorating discipline that is “very forward, very cutting edge”. She personally saw to the recent implementation of digital pathology at SGH as a novel tool for making diagnosis that gives pathologists remote access to digital slides and allows real-time consultation and collaborative discussion of cases with medical experts around the world. 

Prof Tan is instrumental in promoting multidisciplinary meetings, which ensure safe and appropriate patient management. She has also built a robust and trusted clinical service in her subspecialty areas of breast, urological and renal pathology for patients from SGH and other institutions, locally and in the region. 

Prof Tan’s efforts in this field were recognised where she was invited to be a Volume Editor for the 2012 edition of the WHO Classification of Tumours of the Breast. This is a distinct honour that Prof Tan shared with four internationally renowned breast pathology experts. This edition was highly commended in the Pathology category of the 2013 British Medical Association Medical Book Awards. 

Helmed by Prof Tan, the pathology department has grown in strength in the last decade, with the ability to handle more than 12 million investigations a year, a feat unlikely to be matched by other centres in the region. Regional pathologists would agree that one of the must-attend programmes on their calendarwill be the annual SGH Breast Pathology Course series that Prof Tan and her colleague initiated in 2010. Today, the department is widely recognised as a regional breast pathology hub where pathologists from the neighbouring and Asia-Pacific countries come to spend their time. 

Prof Tan is also a keen teacher and contributes immensely to mentoring and teaching activities locally and the region, under the auspices of the Asia-Pacific Pathology Societies. She is the Chairman of the Pathology Specialists Training Committee and is an examiner for the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. 

Prof Tan has published extensively with more than 300 papers in peer reviewed journals under her belt. Her research on breast cancer and other breast lesions are frequently quoted and referenced. Under her leadership, the department is actively focused on furthering research in the various fields of pathology. 

For her unwavering dedication and contributions to clinical work, education and research that advance safety and quality of patient care in Singapore and the region, Prof Tan Puay Hoon is awarded the National Outstanding Clinician Award 2015


Tai E Shyong

Head & Senior Consultant
Division of Endocrinology
National University Hospital

Associate Professor
NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health

National University Health System

Associate Professor Tai E Shyong is a dedicated endocrinologist devoted to looking into the epidemiology of diabetes and its related metabolic diseases in Singapore and Asia.

As a clinician-scientist, he has led multiple studies including a large study of over 5000 Singaporeans with investigators from institutions all over Singapore, such as the Singapore Eye Research Institute, the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and the Singapore General Hospital. His efforts in this study have facilitated the identification of risk factors and assessed the impact of diabetes and other metabolic disease in Singapore.  Some outcomes include recommendations as to who should be screened for diabetes, how the screening should be done, and whether a patient should receive lipid lowering therapy based on the patient’s risk of heart disease.  Together with researchers in the Ministry of Health, A/Prof Tai has also developed a tool that enables physicians to target the most aggressive lipid-lowering therapy for those with the highest risk of heart disease, thus optimising the cost-effectiveness of the therapy.

In addition, he has contributed to the understanding of the biological basis of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic traits. His collaborative work in this area has uncovered numerous new genes that could be involved in causing type 2 diabetes, some of which could serve as targets for new drugs designed to treat patients with type 2 diabetes in the future.

Currently he is trying to understand why Asians are afflicted by type 2 diabetes even when they are relatively lean, compared to their counterparts of European ancestry, in an effort to identify biological pathways that may be particularly relevant to type 2 diabetes in Asians.

Through his collaborations, A/Prof Tai has facilitated innovative translational clinical research both within his own specialty and other disease areas including eye diseases like myopia, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration and Parkinson’s disease. He has published over 250 papers and is mentioned in 1500 citations in 2013.  

His concerted efforts have also provided opportunities for young clinician-scientists to initiate and build their own research careers under his mentorship.

As head of endocrinology at the National University Hospital, A/Prof Tai has led a review of the practice of endocrinology specifically in diabetes and other chronic diseases. As the director of the Patient-Centred Medical Home Program at the National University Health System, A/Prof Tai leads a pilot program at the NUH-Frontier Family Medicine Clinic to develop, implement and evaluate novel models of care for patients that could lead to improved population health and maximise the value derived from our healthcare system.

For his outstanding contributions and achievements in the field of type 2 diabetes, leading to a better understanding of how to treat the disease and prevent associated metabolic diseases in Asians, Associate Professor Tai E Shyong is awarded the 2015 National Outstanding Clinician-Scientist Award. 


Koh Tian Hai

Senior Advisor
National Heart Centre Singapore 

Adjunct Professor
Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School

SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre 

Currently Senior Advisor at the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) since 2015, Adjunct Professor Koh Tian Hai (NHCS) led NHCS from 2003 to 2014 as its longest serving Medical Director. During Prof Koh’s 11 years at the helm, NHCS has grown from a specialty centre with just 650 staff, to one with more than double the staff strength, with expanded services including operating theatres and a short stay unit now offered at its 12-storey building. 

Over the years, Prof Koh has trained and mentored numerous local and overseas doctors, particularly in the field of interventional cardiology with many assuming senior leadership positions today in the Asia-Pacific Region as heads of department or hospital directors. The cardiology community in the Asia-Pacific region has recognised Prof Koh’s leadership, electing him as President of the Singapore Cardiac Society from 2005 to 2007, and Emeritus Fellow of the Asian Pacific Society of Interventional Cardiology in 2008. For his contributions to education in the Asia Pacific, he was awarded the Chien Foundation Award in 2012. 

Recognising the importance of research for medical discoveries and breakthroughs, Prof Koh pushed for the expansion of the former Research and Development Unit to a bigger premise at the School of Nursing in 2006. This commitment and boost in resources led to several research breakthroughs and laid the foundation for the establishment of the National Heart Research Institute Singapore last year. 

During his tenure, Prof Koh has inspired many clinicians who have come under his wing, one of them being the current Medical Director of NHCS, Adjunct Professor Terrance Chua. Prof Koh is widely regarded as an exemplary role model for his commitment to patients and public healthcare. His judicious decision-making skills, attention to detail and openness to ideas have drawn many clinicians to seek him out for his invaluable guidance, knowledge and wisdom. 

An outstanding supporter of education and training, Prof Koh has worked tirelessly to ensure NHCS shares its specialist knowledge via training programmes for local and international cardiovascular specialists. In particular, Prof Koh took the SingLIVE interventional course to new heights by collaborating with EuroPCR to form the AsiaPCR-SingLIVE course in 2010. AsiaPCR-SingLIVE has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the premier cardiovascular interventional courses in Asia, attracting cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and healthcare professionals from all over the world. 

Prof Koh constantly pushes NHCS to be at the forefront of medical advancement. His forward-thinking approach is deeply ingrained in the institutional culture at NHCS. He has inculcated clinicians to keep themselves abreast of and actively seek new evidence-based medicine that will enhance outcomes and the quality of life for patients. As a national specialist centre for cardiovascular disease, NHCS has introduced many ‘firsts’ under Prof Koh’s leadership, such as novel minimally invasive treatment modalities, placing NHCS on the global map for pioneering complex cardiac therapies. His meticulous attention to care is legendary and his commitment to and passion for the highest level of patient care has inspired many generations of cardiologists to follow in his footsteps. 

For his distinguished and outstanding contributions as a mentor, teacher, researcher and clinician to the development of cardiology in Singapore, Prof Koh is being awarded the National Outstanding Clinician Mentor Award 2015.


Lee Chuen Neng

University Surgical Cluster
Centre for Healthcare Innovation and Medical Engineering 

Deputy Director
National University Heart Centre Singapore 

Professor of Surgery
NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine 

Senior Consultant
Department of Surgery
National University Hospital

National University Health System 

Prof Lee is a master clinician, a visionary leader and an outstanding mentor who has developed generations of cardiac surgeons and general surgeons for Singapore. His contributions towards the elevation of quality of healthcare delivery for the benefit of the Singapore community are pervasive and varied. As a founding leader in this field, combined with his passion for passing on his skills, his personal clinical excellence has also resulted in the high values and standards that he has inculcated into his students and trainees.

As a teacher, Prof Lee has mentored many cardiac surgeons in Singapore and beyond, especially in the fields of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at NUH. He has groomed a new generation of cardiac and general surgeons through his teaching and leadership and they in turn are now furthering the advancement of surgery. His motto “We do the best for every patient in whatever we do” has inspired many of them. His mentees include Prof Wan Song from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong, as well as A/Prof Vahe Gasparyan, Chief of the Cardiovascular Surgery Department from the “Erebouni” Medical Center in Yerevan, Armenia. Closer to home, Prof Lee has mentored outstanding surgeons such as Prof Krishnakumar Madhavan, Adjunct A/Prof Michael George Caleb, A/Prof Chang Kin Yong Stephen, A/Prof Jimmy So and A/Prof Edmund Chiong. 

In his various capacities, Prof Lee has also brought in new and bold initiatives in research within the Department of Surgery, including the IRIS (Initiatives for Research In Surgery) which consolidates the department’s research efforts and actively helps medical students who are keen on surgical research fine-tune their research findings through presentations and posters and presentations. The initiative provides medical undergraduates an insight into research issues and exposure to research methodology at a very early stage of their careers. 

Prof Lee is also instrumental in shaping education across faculties and MERCI (Medicine Engineering Research Commercialising Initiative) is such an initiative which promotes interprofessional learning. MERCI allows engineering students and experts to collaborate to patent new products which impact on the changing healthcare landscape. Prof Lee encourages engineering students to spend time within clinical departments and work with the clinicians on everyday clinical problems; eventually finding engineering solutions in the lab. He plays a pivotal in encouraging self-directed learning amongst the students and in so doing, helps drive the development and commercialisation of medical technologies in Singapore. 

Prof Lee is also well known internationally and nationally for his medical teaching and mentorship where he holds several appointments in the local and international professional bodies including President and Founding Council Member of the Asian Society for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery (ASCVTS) and member of the Founding Editorial Board member of the Asian Cardiovascular and Thoracic Annals. In recognition of his international standing as an education leader, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh conferred on him the College’s International Medal in 2012. 

An avid researcher, he has published more than 100 papers and has also contributed chapters in three books. 

For his distinguished and outstanding contributions as a mentor, teacher, researcher, clinician and his leadership in raising the next generation of surgeons in Singapore and the region, Professor Lee Chuen Neng is awarded the 2015 National Outstanding Clinician Mentor Award.


Lim Shih Hui

Group Director
Singapore Health Services 

Senior Consultant
Department of Neurology
National Neuroscience Institute 

Academy of Medicine, Singapore 

Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre

Prof Lim Shih Hui is the epitome of a great clinician educator, who diligently pursues new knowledge and proactively developed a systematic structure to transform the practice of neurology and medicine. He is renowned for his expertise in clinical neurology, epilepsy and electroencephalography (EEG) and his efforts have placed Singapore on the Asia Pacific and international map of neurology, epilepsy and EEG education. 

With his unmatched ability and fervour as a clinician educator, he has inspired, motivated and influenced many medical students, junior doctors and specialists in Singapore and around the region. 

Prof Lim has devoted time as a tutor since 1993, teaching clinical neurology and general internal medicine, imparting his clinical skills, developing his students’ clinical acumen, and assisting them in building good ethical behaviour and professionalism. He was supervisor and mentor to many neurologists and physicians in Singapore in the 1990s and 2000s. He continues his teaching through SingHealth’s Internal Medicine Residency Programme and the Neurology Senior Residency Programme at the NNI-SGH campus.

For his contributions to education, especially in curriculum development for a Practice Course (that teaches clinical and communication skills) for first-year students, a four-week Neurology Clerkship, as well as a Final Clinical Assessment for graduating students at Duke-NUS, Prof Lim was awarded in 2011 with SingHealth’s inaugural Distinguished Educator Award and the Outstanding Educator Award and Pioneer Award from Duke-NUS. He has also received Appreciation Awards from undergraduate students since 2011.

As the Group Director, Education, SingHealth since January 2015, Prof Lim takes charge of all undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate health professions education within SingHealth. Concurrently, he is appointed as co-Director, Academic Medicine, Education Institute (AM.EI) and Senior Associate Dean of Duke NUS-GMS, facilitating the Faculty Development Programme of all Health Profession Educators within SingHealth. 

Prof Lim plays a pivotal role in specialist training, accreditation and maintenance of clinical competencies in Singapore.  As Master of the Academy of Medicine Singapore, he co-chairs the Joint Committee of Specialists Training (JCST) of the Specialist Accreditation Board (SAB), overseeing the training and assessment of 35 medical specialties and five medical sub-specialties in Singapore.  Within the Academy, he established the Chapter of Clinician Educators, bringing all the clinician educators in Singapore to work together to further improve the standard and practice of health profession education in Singapore. 

Prof Lim’s involvement in post-graduate training goes beyond Singapore. As a member and subsequently Chairman of Commission on Asian Oceanic Affairs of International League Against Epilepsy (IALE) from 1997 to 2009, he trained neurology and epilepsy fellows from Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, Nepal and the Philippines at SGH and  in Asia, making Singapore General Hospital one of the training centres for Epilepsy Fellows in the Asian-Oceanic region.  He also set the standard of EEG practice by establishing an EEG Certification Examination in Asia.  This EEG Certification Examination is being conducted in Southeast Asia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India and Australia the last 10 years. 

In recognition of his contributions Prof Lim was awarded the “Ambassador for Epilepsy” by the International League Against Epilepsy and the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) in 2007. 

Prof Lim continues to attend educational courses to upgrade himself as an educator, to meet the challenges of the evolving educational landscape.  As a lifelong learner, he completed an acupuncture course locally and is one of the few Western doctors who is registered with Traditional Chinese Medicine Board.  He also obtained an MBA from NUS. 

Prof Lim is a true and inspirational model as a medical educator and a lifelong learner for the younger generation of doctors. 

For his outstanding contributions and exemplary dedication towards medical education and training in Singapore and throughout the region, Prof Lim Shih Hui is awarded the National Outstanding Clinical Educator Award 2015.


Thomas Chee Swee Guan

Clinical Director
Office of Clinical Governance 

Senior Consultant
Department of Diagnostic Radiology 

Tan Tock Seng Hospital
National Healthcare Group

Associate Professor Thomas Chee Swee Guan is one of Singapore’s pioneering clinicians for quality improvement. In the early 2000s, he played an instrumental role in conceptualising a local training curriculum for the Clinical Practice Improvement Programme (CPIP), which is applied across many public and private healthcare institutions today. His passion inspired the formation of groups of like-minded clinicians to champion quality and safety improvement. Large scale milestone projects such as managing life-threatening hyperkalaemia, reducing the unnecessary use of restraints, enabling consistently safer warfarinisation, and timely weaning off from tracheostomies are just some illustrations of brilliant clinical leadership in the quality movement. 

He served as Chairman of the NHG CPIP Expert Panel from 2002 to 2013, where he initiated over 1,000 clinical improvement projects, and was part of the faculty that trained more than 1600 healthcare professionals from Singapore and the region. His commitment has contributed to multi-national collaborations, which have in turn led to better networking, safer and more efficient care within Southeast Asia. 

A/Prof Chee is also a well-respected leader in the radiological fraternity in Singapore. His contributions towards advancing the specialist field of radiology over the past 30 years have led to leaps in safety standards and clinical quality of patient care. After receiving training overseas, he forged new ground in the subspecialty of musculoskeletal and spinal radiology in TTSH, while the field was in its infancy in Singapore. 

As Head of the TTSH Diagnostic Radiology Department (1999 to 2008), he oversaw the planning and implementation of radiological services support within the hospital and also to the polyclinics, in addition to the development of protocols, guidelines and policies. He helped establish radiological services on-site at polyclinics and oversaw the introduction of a radiological information and picture archiving system in his organisation where rapid seamless information sharing over a much larger footprint was enabled, triggering the radical transformation to the traditional clinical practice. He is currently the Clinical Director of the Office of Clinical Governance, where he continues to spearhead initiatives to improve patient care through evidence-based clinical care, and encourages cost-effective practices while raising safety standards to meet increasingly demanding healthcare and performance expectations. 

For his outstanding contributions as a pioneering advocate, teacher and role model for the Clinical Practice Improvement Programme, which has contributed to better patient safety through evidence-based care, Associate Professor Thomas Chee Swee Guan is awarded the National Outstanding Clinical Quality Champion Award 2015.


James Yip Wei Luen

Chief Medical Information Officer
National University Hospital 

Senior Consultant
National University Heart Centre, Singapore 

Associate Professor
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine,
National University of Singapore

National University Health System 

Associate Professor James Yip is no geek. But his enthusiasm for the use of Information Technology (IT) in healthcare was apparent from the start of his medical career.

One of his initial projects was mooted in 1998 when he was a cardiology registrar at the National University Hospital (NUH). He introduced the Cardiology Information System (CIS), a be-spoke system, to allow the amalgamation of cardiology reports and images which improved the quality of cardiology reports which was previously documented by hand.  The system received the merit prize at the National Infocomm Awards (2004) and has since been implemented in other local restructured hospitals.

Appointed Chairman of Medical Informatics at the National University Health System (NUHS) and Chief Medical Information Officer of the NUH since 2008, A/Prof Yip has championed numerous IT projects to better the quality and improve processes in public healthcare in Singapore. His work has been recognised – He was awarded the NHG Outstanding Citizenship 2007for his work implementing ICD9CM for clinical systems, as well as the Critical Medical Information Store and as part of the team for National Medical Excellence Award - Best Team Award for the Critical Lab Results Alert System in 2012.

In collaboration with the IT team at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), A/Prof Yip also developed the Electronic Inpatient Medication Record (EIMR) system, which allows doctors, nursing staff and pharmacists to effectively perform their daily clinical duties. Combining the EIMR system with the barcoding project for all medications and clinical decision support system, the Closed Loop Medication Management System (CLMMS) aims to reduce human error, enhance patient safety and improve operational efficiency. Additionally, as many as 2.6 potential Adverse Drug Events (ADE) are avoided per hospital daily for inpatients. For these innovative efforts, the NUH and TTSH teams led by Dr Yip won the National Infocomm Awards in 2010 for Most Innovative use of Infocomm Technology in the Public Sector. In addition, NUH is one of the first hospitals in Singapore to receive the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) Level 6 Award in 2011.

More recently, A/Prof Yip teamed up with a local company MyHealth Sentinel, a healthcare technology company, to develop Singapore’s first integrated tele-health monitoring system, targeting patients with hypertension, heart failure and diabetes. The system allows patients to be cared for at home using tele-health tools such as for blood pressure monitoring, glucometers and weighing scales to titrate their medications. Over the course of 10 months, close to 800 patients have benefited from the system with a significant reduction of heart failure admissions, diagnosis and prognosis for the disease. This project was conferred Best Project Award at the inaugural MOH Health IT Excellence Award 2015 in the category of IT Excellence in Increasing Access to Care. He also won the Individual Award for Champion for Health IT Excellence.

For his outstanding contributions and extraordinary dedication to the innovative use of Information Technology in healthcare for quality and process improvement for public healthcare in Singapore, Associate Professor James Yip is awarded the National Outstanding Clinical Quality Champion Award 2015.

Department of Child Development
Singhealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre 

NMEA team 2015

Senior Consultant and Head 

Senior Consultant 

Assistant Director and Head
Community Services 


The early childhood years are a significant period of growth and development for children. For children with developmental needs and their families, it is even more crucial for intervention and support services to be provided in their early years so that their developmental outcomes are optimised. 

The team from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) Department of Child Development (DCD) recognised a significant gap in help provided for pre-schoolers with milder developmental needs in their learning environment. Hence, they developed an innovative  solution to introduce such services into their educational setting for pre-schoolers with developmental needs – the Developmental Support Programme (DSP). 

The programme was first piloted by a Child Development Community Outreach Team within the department with philanthropic funding from Lien Foundation, interfacing between health, education and social services to provide relevant and meaningful services for pre-schoolers with developmental needs in their natural learning environments of kindergartens and childcare centres. 

Now helmed and funded by the Ministry of Social Development and Family (MSF), DSP is currently provided in 300 preschools. The programme is slated to be made available to 1,200 preschools and childcare centres in Singapore over the next three to five years. The KKH DCD team has been appointed by MSF to be the consultancy team to build capability and capacity for the preschool landscape. 

In traditional therapy services, children seek treatments in clinical settings and parents try to generalise intervention strategies and outcomes to the children’s natural learning environments. The DSP is a novel programme which aims to detect and provide intervention support for pre-schoolers using an ecologically-integrated community-based and family-centered approach. The programme also trains and equips selected experienced Early Childhood Educators (ECE), who are appointed to be Learning Support Educators (LSEds), with the appropriate knowledge and relevant skills to provide crucial support for these children and empower community services through building a more conducive learning environment for pre-schoolers with developmental needs. 

The Child Development Community Outreach Team has helped to shape the landscape of service for preschool-aged children with developmental needs in Singapore. With its innovative and transformative model of care, this novel programme provides high accessibility, right-siting of care, and evidence-based intervention. In addition, it strengthens the community to build up its capability and capacity to support these children within their natural environment, and paves the way for other excellent programmes for children with developmental needs in Singapore. 

For their outstanding contributions and achievements in providing integrated, family-centered and community-based outreach for preschool-aged children with developmental needs. The Department of Child Development Community Outreach Team is awarded the National Outstanding Excellence Team Award 2015.