Two new centres to improve primary care and look into fun ways to bring about lifestyle changes; more interdisciplinary research to tackle infectious diseases
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and National Healthcare Group (NHG) are setting up two new joint research centres on disease prevention and healthcare delivery. The partnership was inked at the opening ceremony of the Singapore Health and Biomedical Congress 2016 today.
The new Centre of Primary Health Care Research and Innovation will be jointly helmed by National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP) and NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), a joint medical school by NTU and Imperial College London. NHG is the primary clinical training partner for LKCMedicine.
The second centre, Games for Health Innovation Centre, also known as “ALIVE” will be led by LKCMedicine and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), NHG’s flagship institution.
In addition to the new centres, NTU scientists will work with NHG clinicians on interdisciplinary research to fight infectious diseases, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 15 September 2016, to establish a Joint Research Partnership in the area of outbreak management. Top on the list will be to address emerging infectious diseases such as zika, dengue and antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis.
Professor Philip Choo, Group Chief Executive Officer of NHG, and Professor James Best, Dean of NTU’s LKCMedicine, firmly believe the collaborations would enhance the partnership between NHG and NTU.
Professor Choo, said, “NHG has been the primary clinical training partner for LKCMedicine since 2010. Beyond undergraduate medical education, our partnership has grown to include postgraduate education, research and development of new technologies, as well as strengthen capabilities by leveraging on NHG’s expertise in clinical fields including primary care and infectious diseases. This has been possible because of the common vision shared by Management and the dedication of staff to push such joint efforts to fruition.”
NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson said the university has a strong track record of working with industry to deliver innovations that benefit Singapore.
“Now that NTU has a medical school, we can work even more closely with clinicians at the frontline in the medical field to find relevant and useful solutions for the healthcare sector. Many solutions require interdisciplinary approaches and NTU's medical school will draw on the expertise of our other schools and research institutes such as in life sciences and engineering in this partnership with NHG doctors. Through this collaboration, we hope to tackle the critical issues of a rapidly ageing population and emerging infectious diseases.”
MOU for the Centre for Primary Health Care Research and Innovation
This joint centre will look at introducing new technologies and creative ways of delivering quality family medicine and primary care for patients. These include better management of patients with chronic and multiple diseases and support for their caregivers. It will also develop medical practitioners who are active in research, and deepen their awareness and knowledge of the latest healthcare developments.
Professor Best said: “Together with NHG, LKCMedicine’s primary clinical partner, we are investing in the future health of Singapore’s ageing population. The new Centre for Primary Health Care Research and Innovation aims to promote family medicine and primary care as an academic specialty, to deliver the best evidence-based medical care using the latest innovations.”
NTU has appointed Professor Helen Smith, a Professor of Family Medicine & Primary Care who has more than 20 years of experience in academic general practice in the UK and Canada, to lead the Centre of Primary Health Care Research and Innovation.
Working with Associate Professor Chong Phui-Nah, CEO of NHGP, Professor Smith plans to start a network of Primary Care Practitioners to enthuse and involve family physicians in rigorous research that can be applied for the benefit of all.
MOU for Games for Health Innovation Centre (ALIVE)
In healthcare, serious games can motivate patients to take greater ownership and care of their health by making the process fun. For example, the games can bring about lifestyle changes such as making healthier diet choices, taking the right medication on time, as well as exercising more. These games have increasingly been used for training and skills enhancement in many industries including education and defence.
In addition to evaluating grant calls, ALIVE will assess and validate new games, and establish standards and best practices for the industry in Asia. It will also build a local talent pool of serious game developers and help establish Singapore as a hub for healthcare games.
MOU for interdisciplinary research partnership for infectious diseases
The third partnership announced today brings together NHG’s leading capability in infectious diseases and NTU’s technological expertise in bio-engineering, focusing on the fields of research and development of outbreak management, evidence-based treatment, and monitoring of infectious diseases.
An early project will focus on the development of Point of Care Tests (POCT). POCT allows for rapid diagnostic tests to be done outside the laboratory and within the community. The technology will enable healthcare professionals to make quick decisions on treatment or need for further tests, save time and facilitate more proactive testing of individuals.
Besides rapid diagnostic kits, the collaboration will look into developing solutions to tackle clinical issues of anti-microbial resistance and hospital-acquired infections.
NHG’s Institute of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology (IIDE) and NTU’s LKCMedicine, School of Biological Sciences and Nanyang Institute of Technology in Health and Medicine, will introduce a joint programme in population-based infectious disease research.
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About Nanyang Technological University
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).
Ranked 13th in the world, NTU has also been ranked the world’s top young university for the last two years running. The University’s main campus has been named one of the Top 15 Most Beautiful in the World. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg