Professor Tan Chorh Chuan will be helming the new Ministry of Health (MOH) Office for Healthcare Transformation as its founding Executive Director from 1 January 2018. He will also concurrently serve as MOH’s Chief Health Scientist. This was announced by the MOH on 4 September. Prof Tan will assume these appointments after he steps down as NUS President at the end of the year, capping an impressive 10-year term in which he transformed the institution into a leading global university.
Prof Tan will be playing an instrumental role in establishing the new MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation. The Office will identify and test-bed new concepts and innovations to promote the good health and wellbeing of Singaporeans, as well as enhance the delivery of care to patients. Prof Tan shared that the new Office will focus on several critical areas, such as helping Singaporeans adopt health-promoting behaviours to prevent or delay the onset of chronic conditions; making home-based management a viable and effective care model for patients with chronic diseases; as well as providing more holistic inpatient care for patients with multiple medical conditions.
As MOH’s Chief Health Scientist, Prof Tan will also lend his leadership, as well as wealth of experience in healthcare and research, in driving MOH’s research and development (R&D), especially in the health and biomedical sciences. In his new role, he will oversee and strengthen the translation of research into concrete ways to better manage and treat diseases, as well as drive the development of novel therapies and more effective diagnostics.
Looking back on his tenure at NUS since 2008, Prof Tan said, “It has been a unique privilege to lead an institution like NUS and to work with such talented colleagues who are so fiercely committed to true academic excellence and innovation.”
On his new MOH appointments, Prof Tan added, “I am now deeply honoured to have this rare opportunity to contribute to the transformation of our healthcare system for the future. This is linked, in several ways, to the further growth of our strengths in biomedical research and their application to address health issues of greatest relevance and impact for Singapore. In this regard, the concurrent appointments which I will hold at the MOH will therefore be highly synergistic.”
This marks a return to MOH for Prof Tan, after his earlier secondment there as its Director of Medical Services from 2000 to 2004, where he led the public health response to the 2003 SARS epidemic and for which he received the Public Service Star award. Prof Tan has also been a front-runner in the Singapore healthcare system, having served in multiple leadership capacities, including as Chairman of the National University Health System since 2011, of which the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS Faculty of Dentistry and the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at NUS are members. He has been Deputy Chairman of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research since 2004. He is also the first Singaporean to be elected to the influential US National Academy of Medicine.