Happy 2018! As the year begins with a brand new semester, I would like to take this opportunity to look back at our past year and share our opportunities and plans for the coming year. Semester 1 AY2017/18 saw the first cohort of Pharmacy students under the ‘new’ curriculum. There have been significant logistic challenges with the implementation of FYP and PECT for all 4th year students and remarkably there were fewer problems than anticipated! This is due to the hard work of Dr Ong Pei Shi and her FYP team and Ms Tan Mui Ling and her PECT team. The latter is only possible with the support of our alumni, partners including hospitals, community pharmacies and industries, Singapore Pharmacy Council and so on. This is indeed a significant milestone for NUS Pharmacy. On the Educational front, our long awaited BSc (Pharmaceutical Sciences) has finally been approved. This new major is tailored specifically to groom graduates for careers in the pharmaceutical industries. The Pharmaceutical Science (PHS) programme complements the Pharmacy programme as it offers career options that focus on the product (i.e. drugs) rather than the patient, and is a non-licensure degree. PHS graduates will be well-equipped to take up jobs in research, development, manufacturing, quality control and assurance, pharmaceutical sales and marketing, regulatory affairs, and clinical trial management. A/P Rachel Ee is the new Director of the BSc (Pharmaceutical Science). There are also significant changes to the Masters of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology (MPST) degree as we embark on our new partnership with CoRE at Duke-NUS. A/P Priscilla How is helming the development of a Collaborative Prescribing programme for practising Pharmacists, in partnership with Alice Lee School of Nursing and MOH. This will provide upgrading of knowledge and skills through this continuing education programme.
In the past year, we have welcomed new members to our Faculty: Dr Han Zhe (Lecturer, Pharmacy Practice), Dr Brandon Morinaka (Asst Prof, Pharmaceutical Chemistry) and Mr Donavan Neo (Teaching Assistant, Pharmaceutical Chemistry). We also send our best wishes to the Faculty members who have left our Department for different opportunities: A/P Brian Dymock, Dr Kang Lifeng and Dr Kevin Yap. We miss you and wish you all the happiness and success. We are fortunate to share in the joy of those who have recently moved up the ranks: Ms Lita Chew to an Assoc Prof in the Practice track; Dr Ong Pei Shi was promoted to Senior Lecturer; Dr Chng Hui Ting was appointed as Lecturer.
In other news, Dr Kevin Yap and Dr Yap Kai Zhen’s virtual reality game won the PSS Innovation and Scientific Award in Sept 2017, as well as three awards in the international Reimagine Education Conference. The links for the various categories won are as follows:
– Discipline Awards (Life-sciences & Medicine, Gold award): http://www.reimagine-education.com/discipline-2018-award-winners/
– Regional Awards (Asia-Pacific, Silver award): http://www.reimagine-education.com/regional-2018-award-winners/
– Virtual/Augmented Reality Awards (Silver award): http://www.reimagine-education.com/virtualaugmented-reality-2018-award-winners/
We are truly proud of them!
In terms of research, through A/P Giorgia Pastorin’s hard work, Pharmaceutical Innovations Research Centre (PIRC) has had an auspicious soft launch with three industry projects, and a workshop. We will no doubt hear more about the successes of this centre in the near future! A few PIs have also been successful in securing new external research grants in 2017 (as PIs): A/P Eric Chan, myself, A/P Alex Chan (the latter for >1M!).
The year 2018 will be a year of opportunities and with all your support, I am confident that we will be able to showcase new successes. Some of the planned events and initiatives are: GPEN, hosted by the Department of Pharmacy, led by Prof Paul Ho and A/P Chew Eng Hui; contributions to the second major in Forensic Science; Collaborative Prescribing; BSc(Pharm Sci); opportunities in leading new programmes for working pharmacists; etc.
There are changes ahead of us – this is inevitable and as much as we can bemoan the loss of the ‘good ole days’, we need to move on and embrace opportunities that come with changes. Looking at the future, I am truly excited for the Department, as I am confident that further successes await us.
On behalf of the Department, I would like to thank all of you (visiting and adjunct staff, part-time teachers, students, alumni, partners) for your support and friendship.
Happy New Year, and wishing you and your family, happiness and health!