LIM Shih Hui

Master (2012-2016)
Academy of Medicine, Singapore



8 June 2016


Dear Fellow Academicians

It is with mixed feeling I write my last message as Master of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore (AMS) as I shall pass the baton to Master-Elect, Dr Selan Sayampanathan, on 11 June 2016 at the Academy’s 38th Annual General Meeting.

On one hand, I am glad I will have a brief respite after serving 14 years on the Academy Council, initially as an appointed council member from 2002 as Chairman of the Chapter of Physicians AMS to President of the College of Physicians, Singapore, and then as an elected council member from Scribe, Assistant Master, Master-Elect to Master.    On the other hand “leaving” my second “home” is sentimental where I have fond memories of working closely with diverse groups of specialists, colleagues and friends.  However, it will be a transitory departure as I will continue to serve as Immediate Past Master for another year, as well as to contribute in the AMS’ Deanery, to assist the Council to oversee all the educational initiatives which will bear fruits in the years to come.

Reflecting what I have accomplished serving the Academy over the last 4 years, I would like to share my views in Leadership and Management which are important for the existence and future of our Academy.


1. Taking Leadership Posiitions in Academy, Colleges and/or Chapters is an integral part of Leadership and Management Training and Practices


I attended the AGM of the College of Physicians, Singapore (CPS) last Saturday, and I am heartened to note the College has not only grown in size – from close to 500 Fellows in 2004 to more than 800 Fellows today, it has also continued in its pursuit of promoting and maintaining highest professional and ethical standard in Internal Medicine and its specialties, which is upheld annually at the 8th Medicine Review Course 2016.

The CPS Councils between 2004 and 2007 were led by a group of us, enthusiastic academicians in our late 40s and early 50s, charged with the mission of developing our specialties professionally.

With leadership renewal over the past 12 years, I am very pleased to see CPS led by younger generation of physicians, many of whom are also previous, current and/or potential future leaders in their respective healthcare institutions and/or medical schools.  The profile and trend of Fellows in the other Colleges, Chapters and the AMS Council are also similar. 

This brings me to my viewpoint that the Academy presents opportunities for our Fellows to learn and practise Leadership and Management skills.  Being the largest multi-specialty medical and dental professional organization in Singapore with leadership renewals taking place every 2 years, our younger Fellows have unique opportunities to lead and manage their respective Chapters and Colleges. 

Leading professional organizations presents different set of challenges.  In public institutions, many leaders, if not all, are appointed after selection process including interviews.  In professional organizations like ours, our leaders are nominated by Fellows and have to undergo an election if needed.  To be accepted as leaders in our organizations, we need to be accepted by our peers!  Unlike the reporting structure in public institutions, there is no real hierarchy in our professional organizations.    All Fellows are equal! 

Furthermore, we need to garner support and blessing from our employers and institution colleagues to do important work for our profession and not be viewed as working for “external” agencies.  Dealing and collaborating with strategic partners and key stakeholders, especially with Ministry of Health and relevant regulatory bodies, is both an art and science.  While maintaining autonomy as a profession and providing unbiased professional opinions periodically, we also have to collaborate and work with our regulatory authorities.  On top of it, we need to embrace prudent and responsible financial management as the Academy’s operating income is largely funded by fellows’ membership subscriptions.

As such, leading our Fellows and managing the Academy, College, or Chapter, require different Leadership and Management skill sets.  More importantly, leaders of our professional organizations will need and learn to serve our Fellows; a skill set which can also be applied when Fellows are also appointed leaders in our public institutions. 

Many past and present leaders of Academy, Colleges and Chapters were/are “Servant Leaders”.   They took on the role not for ranks or titles but to serve the needs of Fellows and advance their specialties professionally.  The Academy is deeply indebted to them for their altruistic and significant contributions.  I am confident our younger leaders and leaders-to-be are equally passionate and committed to lead and manage our professions. 

I sincerely thank our Fellows who have elected and supported me in my 4 years as Master.  I have learnt and benefitted enormously leading the Academy and administering the Joint Committee on Specialist Training (JCST) where the Academy Master also serves as Co-Chair.   In administering JCST, managerial skills are probably more relevant and important than leadership skills.  Primarily, JCST is the executive arm of the Specialists Accreditation Board (SAB) where training rules and regulations set by SAB-JCST-RAC are being executed by JCST.  It involves a balancing act, ensuring compliance of rules and regulations and yet to be flexible and fair to training institutions, trainers and trainees. 

With the perspective now, the Academy Deanery will plan programme to formally train, guide and groom more professional leaders and managers, not only for our Academy, Colleges and Chapters, but also for our nation.  The programme will invite many of our key leaders, past and present, to share their valuable experiences and wisdom in leadership and management.  It is important for future leaders to be better than us, as the Chinese proverbs state “长江后浪推前浪, 一代新人胜旧人” i.e. “in the Yangtze River, the wave behind drives/pushes those ahead, so each new generation surpasses and excels the previous one.”



2. Academy of Medicine, Singapore (AMS) Medal for Outstanding Leadership


In similar vein, the Academy has bestowed an award to Duke-NUS Medical School: Academy of Medicine, Singapore Medal for Outstanding Leadership.  The award, comprises $1,000, a medal and certificate, is given annually to a graduating MD student of Duke-NUS Medical School, who best demonstrates qualities of independence, initiative, resilience, and possesses qualities of leadership, passion and compassion.  The awardee should be distinguished with exemplary character; have made significant contribution to the student and social communities; served as a true role model or peers; and successfully completed the final year examinations.

We are pleased to award the Inaugural Medal to Mr Edwin Yang Jiajing at the Duke-NUS Medical School’s Graduation Dinner on 3 June 2016.

A similar award will be awarded to Lee Kong Chian Medicine’s inaugural cohort of medical students in 2018.


3. Report of the AMS Task Foce on Aesthetic Medicine Practice 

In 2014, the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) approached the Academy to give inputs to a Draft Revised Guidelines on Aesthetic Practices prepared by the Aesthetic Practice Oversight Committee (APOC).  The original guidelines were first issued in 2007, which the Academy also made contributions to it.

As the practice of aesthetic medicine becomes widespread, there is an increasing need to ensure the maintenance of professional standards of practice and patient safety in order to reduce the health and social risks posed by aesthetic medicine.

In April 2015, the Academy Council appointed Dr T Thirumoorthy and Dr Tan Kok Chai to lead a Task Force, comprising Fellows from relevant specialty Colleges and Chapters, to research and publish evidence based recommendations, providing guidance to healthcare professionals and medical practitioners in this area. 

After a year of multidisciplinary collaborative effort and numerous meetings and discussions, I am pleased to present the Report of the Task Force on Aesthetic Medicine Practice which is now ready to guide aesthetic medicine practice in Singapore and the region.

This landmark initiative and effort accentuates Fellows’ commitment to transcend diversity for a common good.  In upholding this obligation, the Academy, its Colleges and Chapters are poised to succeed as dynamic organisations, responsible advocates and thought leaders in medicine.


4. 38th Annual General Meeting of the Academy, 11 June 2016 


I look forward to seeing you at the Academy’s 38th Annual General Meeting this Saturday, 11 June.

In conclusion, I can say “farewell” to my role as Master but not to my commitment in forwarding the vision and mission of the Academy.  I am confident that under the able leadership of Dr Selan Sayampanathan, the new Council, and Management and Staff, the Academy will continue to flourish well.   My heart shall always remain with the Academy and our Fellows.  Collectively, they gave me an invigorating identity, considerate respect, inspiring friendships, and personal growth, all instrumental in helping me to fulfill my roles at SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre.

Thank you Fellow Academicians.





Best Wishes

Dr Lim Shih Hui


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