The National University of Singapore (NUS) has announced the establishment of the new Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health to train future leaders in public health. The new School will also contribute to improving the health of the Singapore population and the region through its research and work on innovative models of public health and healthcare delivery that are cost-effective and relevant to Asia. The NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health will be officially established on 1 October 2011.
Expected to reach a steady state in 2016, the School aims to improve lives by providing the scientific evidence and ideas for timely intervention to prevent diseases through health and disease surveillance and the promotion of healthy behaviours. It will also work closely with the Singapore Ministry of Health to conduct research and gather population-based data for nation-wide and community-based health policy decisions.
The new School is the result of an expansion of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, which was formed in 1948, at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Over the next five years, it will increase the number of faculty members, strengthen the teaching of undergraduate medical students, expand its intake of students for 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.
In addition, the School aims to develop strong infectious diseases (ID) capabilities, supported by sustained ID epidemiology programmes that would alleviate the impact of IDs that are common in Singapore. Through this, the School hopes to help the nation control these IDs and be better prepared for potential new epidemics in the future.
The School will occupy part of a new building that is expected to be ready by 2014.
The new School will be supported by funding from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and gifts from donors. An initial gift of $30 million has been donated by NUS alumnus and Trustee Professor Saw Swee Hock. In recognition of his philanthropic contributions and long-standing service to the University, the School will be named after Professor Saw.
Said NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, “We are deeply appreciative of the strong support from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, and Professor Saw Swee Hock in enabling the establishment of NUS’ new Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health. I hope Prof Saw’s magnificent contribution will inspire others to come forward and partner the University on worthwhile causes. Public health issues are among the most serious challenges for Singapore, Asia and the rest of the world. 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. 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.”
Said Professor Saw, “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.”