Singapore Academy of Medicine confers Honorary Fellowship on President Halimah Yaakob

The Academy of Medicine, Singapore, held its annual induction ceremony over the weekend, where it conferred the title of Honorary Fellow on President Halimah Yacob, the first female president of Singapore. President Halimah Yacob serves as Patron of the Academy of Medicine and was a Guest-of-Honour at the prestigious event, aptly themed “Diversity and Community in Medicine,” emphasising the diverse range of expertise and experience required in medicine and the need for the medical community to stay engaged in the face of phenomenal changes and challenges.

A total of 105 medical and dental specialists were also admitted as Fellows of the Academy of Medicine – the Fellows are accredited specialists who are expected to pursue the highest standards of clinical competence and ethical integrity, and ensure the highest standard of healthcare is delivered to patients.

“I am deeply honoured to be conferred the Honorary Fellowship by the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. Its members have risen to the occasion in the most admirable manner to support our healthcare system and protect us during the unprecedented global pandemic. The pandemic has shown that the contributions of our healthcare professionals should not be taken for granted.

“It is also my pleasure to witness the induction of many of our nation’s medical and dental specialists as Fellows of the Academy. This is an important achievement in their careers. I wish the new Fellows every success as they use their talents and knowledge to improve patient care outcomes and expand the frontiers of medicine for the benefit of society,” President Halimah Yacob said.

The induction ceremony also celebrates the Academy’s 65th anniversary. This year’s in-person celebration drew close to 400 academics, medical and dental specialists, and guests including Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health, as well as over 800 others who followed the proceedings online.

“We are thrilled to welcome a new cohort of Fellows to the Academy. We are committed to supporting and serving each one of them as they contribute their professional expertise, opinions and experiences which would help shape and influence the national healthcare agenda,” said Academy Master Professor Teo Eng Kiong. “This year, as we celebrate our 65th anniversary amid a two-year global pandemic, we are particularly reminded that because of our education and training, we have a charge to keep. For a successful public response to the health crisis, it is critical that all of us here remain unwavering in our commitment to treat patients despite real risks to ourselves and our loved ones.”

President Halimah Yacob joins an esteemed list of dignitaries at the Academy, including legendary medical pioneer Sir Gordon Arthur Ransome who was the Academy’s Founding Master and who taught and mentored a generation of physicians and surgeons while practising at Singapore General Hospital for more than three decades; Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Sundaresh Menon; and philanthropist Lee Seng Gee, late Chairman of the Lee Foundation who funded numerous causes in the education and arts sector and various social welfare programmes.

The Induction Comitia also featured Professor Joseph Sung, Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine and Senior Vice President (Health & Life Sciences) at Nanyang Technological University, who delivered the 25th oration in honour of Sir Gordon Arthur Ransome, speaking on the various benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics in medicine.

However, Professor Sung noted that actual applications of AI and robotics in clinical practice was still relatively slow compounded by ethical, social, and legal issues that need to be resolved – he calls for more discussion, debate, and definition before AI and robotics are widely implemented in medicine.

“Technological development alone may not be sufficient to translate invention to intervention and improvement of health care,” Professor Sung concluded.