S R E Sayampanathan

Master (2016-2020)
Academy of Medicine, Singapore



15 May 2020

Dear Fellow Academicians

It has been more than 3 months since Singapore had its first COVID-19 patient.  We have moved from DORSCON Level Yellow to Orange and we are now in the second month of Circuit Breaker period, during which only essential medical services are being rendered.


We would like to recognize and appreciate the many Fellows who are at the frontline providing prompt and quality medical treatment in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, we must not forget the many Fellows who have also contributed to the national needs in many other ways.



FAMS Engagement Session with DMS, Ministry of Health, Singapore


As the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and continues to evolve, our College Councils and Chapter Boards actively collated queries and issues on the grounds which AMS had escalated to MOH.


On 17 April, AMS disseminated MOH’s response and advisory to the first set of Fellows’ queries and also scheduled a Dialogue Session for DMS A/Prof Kenneth Mak to engage Fellows and address the concerns.  AMS and DMS would like to apologize that the session unfortunately had to be postponed twice due to critical COVID-19 developments during this period. 


AMS will continue to work with MOH to secure another date for DMS to address our Fellows.  Meantime, AMS will keep Fellows updated of the MOH’s response to the other queries.



COVID-19 Resource: Educational Materials, CME Webinars and Guidelines


Our members of our Colleges and Chapters have also been very active developing educational materials, CME webinars and guidelines (a) to record and share the valuable experiences and lessons learnt; (b) to keep abreast of important updates of the disease and its many implications on the healthcare and our community; and (c) to provide guide on various measures and approaches to ensure delivery of quality patient care and safety of our healthcare professionals and patients.


Educational Materials


To enable Fellows to have a one-stop access on COVID-19 resources, we have developed a Resource Site on COVID-19 on our website.  The site contains literature articles developed by our Colleges and Chapters, related resource sites and news articles on issues pertaining to COVID-19.


It also includes media interviews with our Fellow Academicians where they shared their insights and experiences.  We hope you find the resources useful and feel free to share the it with your fellow healthcare professionals and medical researchers.  New resources and content will be updated regularly.



CME Webinars


During this challenging period, many Colleges and Chapters have also put in tremendous effort to organize webinars on COVID-19 keeping Fellows abreast of COVID-19 and providing the much-needed CME activities.  These webinars have drawn a lot of international interests, not only in terms of speaker participation, but also audience attendance and participation.  These CME accredited webinars will be core for all specialties only for this year as updates in COVID-19 are relevant and critical to the medical practice of all doctors.


We are pleased to share the webinars that have been conducted by the various Colleges and supported by the Academy: -





Guidelines and Position Statements


In addition, the Academy together with the various Colleges and Chapters, has come up with many guidelines regarding handling of COVID-19 patients:


We should also note many academic papers produced by our Fellows have been published in high Impact Factor peer-reviewed international journals.   We need to continue to be at the cutting edge to help guide the evolution in the battle over the virus.  We need to persist and be on our toes at the frontline to help in the national crisis.  The contributions of our Fellows have and will continue to be crucial.



Conducting AGMs Amidst COVID-19


We have sent announcement to all Fellows on the schedules of upcoming Annual General Meetings of the Academy, Colleges and Chapters.


The Constitutions of the Academy and the independent Colleges do not provide for its AGMs to be conducted by electronic means.  In view of the current COVID-19 situation where a physical meeting is not possible, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill passed in Parliament on 7 April 2020, has allowed for alternative arrangements for companies in Singapore to conduct meetings by electronic means.


As we will be conducting our AGMs for the first time via electronic means, we have been guided by our Company Secretary to put in place necessary measures to ensure security, compliance with regulations, and Fellows will have a similar experience as physical AGM.  We look forward to your attendance and participation.



Office of Professional Affairs


Our work in facilitating Expert Medical Reports for the Complaints Committees of the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) has been increasing.  This initiative was started in January 2019 and to-date we have submitted a total of 46 completed reports.


We would like to thank the many Fellows who have been involved in the process and report writing.  It is important, because by the principle of Bolam, Bolitho and Montgomery, we need a body of responsible experts to give opinion on the specialty’s standard of practice.  This is an important role of the specialty-specific Chapters and Colleges.



Concluding Remarks


With this being my last Master’s Message, I would like to put on record my heart-felt thanks and appreciation to all for the contribution and support rendered during my tenure as Master of the Academy (2016-2020).


It was an extremely heavy role mainly because the Academy is so diverse and multi-faceted with all the specialties and sub-specialties housed under one roof.  This is in addition to the important functions under the Academy such as professional affairs matters, education and training and so much more.  This would not have been possible without the cooperation and collaboration of everyone.  Such teamwork really lightened my load over the past four years and make my task, as a Master, satisfying.


At the Academy’s AGM on 20 June 2020, I would like to urge all Fellows to give the incoming Master, Dr Teo Eng Kiong, your full support to his leadership and the initiatives he has planned.  I am sure the Academy will reach greater heights in the coming years. 


I would like to end this Message with a quote by Helen Keller, which I have frequently shared, but it is worth highlighting it here again:

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much (more).”


Best Wishes

Dr S R E Sayampanathan
Academy of Medicine, Singapore

Email: master@ams.edu.sg








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