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NUS launches new School of Public Health

19 September 2011

(From left) Chief Executive of National University Health System Assoc Prof Benjamin Ong, NUS Chairman Mr Wong Ngit Liong, Minister Gan Kim Yong, Prof Saw Swee Hock and Prof Tan Chorh Chuan launching the new School of Public Health

Mr Wong (left) receiving the cheque from Prof Saw on behalf of NUS
The new Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at NUS will officially open on 1 October 2011, as announced at the launch event graced by Singapore Minister for Health Mr Gan Kim Yong on 19 September 2011.

Mr Gan said: “This School will fill a unique niche whereby local solutions can be developed and refined to address global public health problems we face today. It can become the trusted brand for public health in the region, fostering regional and global research and training partnerships to this end.”

“The new School of Public Health will develop a long-term comprehensive public health research capability that will provide the rigorous scientific base to inform policy and action,” said NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan. He added that the School will draw on the extensive strengths within the University to address complex, multi-factorial public health issues, and make a significant contribution towards improving the health of Singaporeans and communities in Asia and beyond.

An expansion of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health set up in 1948 at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, the new School will be supported by funding from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and gifts from donors, including an initial gift of S$30 million from NUS alumnus and Trustee Prof Saw Swee Hock. In recognition of Prof Saw’s philanthropic contributions and long-standing service to the University, the School will be named after him.

Prof Saw said: “I am delighted to provide this strategic gift to enable NUS to establish a School of Public Health to undertake cutting-edge research and education in all aspects of public health. It is my wish for the School to play a key role in helping to improve the standard of public health care in Singapore and the region in the years ahead.”

Over the next five years, the School will increase its faculty strength, enhance its education of undergraduate medical students, expand the student intake of its flagship Masters in Public Health programme, and intensify its research efforts in chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer and heart disease, as well as health services research.

The School’s Dean-Designate Prof Chia Kee Seng said: “By expanding the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health into a full-fledged School, we can attract high quality faculty members and students, build upon our current strengths and take on a greater role in education and training of public health practitioners. In the long run, we hope that the School can develop leadership in areas such as disease prevention, health services and policy research and global health.”