Published on: 29-Mar-2018
With an ageing population and as more people of all ages in Singapore take up exercise to stay healthy, demand for sports medicine services and ageing-related musculoskeletal injuries is set to rise, but such expertise is only available at a small group of specialist clinics.
To equip medical practitioners, including general practitioners, with the knowledge and skills to meet growing demand for medical expertise in these areas, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Changi General Hospital (CGH) will launch a new Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine.
The programme will enable participants to better prevent and treat the growing number of musculoskeletal and sports-related injuries and ailments in a population which is rapidly ageing but staying active longer.
It will be run by the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), a joint medical school by NTU Singapore and Imperial College London. The first intake of students into this graduate diploma programme will be in late July this year.
Besides injury management and prevention, and exercise prescription, the diploma programme caters to primary care doctors and specialists who wish to further their knowledge in areas such as sports nutrition, biomechanics and physiology, as well as to military doctors, the bulk of whose cases are musculoskeletal in nature.
The introduction of the new postgraduate diploma, the first of its kind in Singapore and Asia, is timely as there is limited medical expertise in the prevention and non-surgical treatment of sports injuries and musculoskeletal conditions in athletes and the general population, including the elderly.
A survey conducted by LKCMedicine here among general practitioners and family physicians in 2015 also found that 92 per cent of respondents indicated interest in pursuing such a diploma.
Professor Kam Chan Hin, NTU Deputy Provost (Education), said, “Our graduate diploma in sports medicine aims to impart important knowledge to doctors at the primary care level, where most sport injuries can be effectively managed, and to refer more complex cases to the sports medicine specialist clinics.
“Furthermore, as Singapore’s population ages, graduates of this programme will also be well placed to care for the growing number of elderly patients who are at a higher risk of musculoskeletal injuries, such as chronic back pain, sprains, arthritis and tendonitis.”
Adjunct Associate Professor Benedict Tan, Chief of Sports Medicine at Changi General Hospital and Chairman of the Graduate Diploma Advisory Board, who is also a former Olympic Games sailor, said, “Sports injuries see better outcomes when given prompt attention, and that is why primary care doctors need to be better equipped to manage these injuries.”
Heading the Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine will be Associate Professor Fabian Lim, Assistant Dean (Research) and Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology at NTU’s LKCMedicine, with Adjunct Associate Professor Roger Tian, a senior consultant of Sports Medicine at Changi General Hospital as the course director.
Assoc Prof Fabian Lim said, “While sports medicine has its roots in caring for athletes, it can also play important roles in chronic disease prevention and management, and in caring for the elderly who are prone to musculoskeletal injuries.
“Equipping general practitioners and family medicine physicians with this additional knowledge and skillset brings care to the heartlands, so that injuries can be prevented and managed at the primary care level, and more complicated cases can be promptly referred to the specialist clinics.”
Adj Assoc Prof Roger Tian said, “Prior to this, such courses were only available in Australia, the United Kingdom and United States. The Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine will provide doctors interested in sports and exercise medicine with an accessible and professionally recognised training programme that will benefit both their practice and patients.
“Furthermore, there is increasing evidence regarding the role of physical activity in the prevention and management of chronic diseases such as obesity, hypertension, coronary heart disease and diabetes. The skills imparted will enable doctors to use exercise as a tool in the battle against these diseases with confidence.”
With one of the world’s most rapidly ageing populations – the number of Singaporeans aged 65 and above is projected to double from 440,000 in 2015 to 900,000 by 2030 – ageing related injuries and ailments in Singapore are likely to rise.
Sports-related injuries are also expected to increase as more people adopt exercise regimens to lead a healthier lifestyle. The 2014 Sports Index by Sport Singapore showed that 38 per cent of respondents engaged in sports activities at least thrice a week, compared to just 16 per cent in 2001.
Taught by top faculty in world-class facilities
The Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine will leverage CGH’s expertise in sports medicine, in combination with LKCMedicine’s strengths in exercise science and physiology and the state-of-the-art facilities at its Clinical Sciences Building at the School’s new Novena campus.
To be conducted on a part-time basis, the year-long programme will cover sports-related injuries, exercise prescription for the elderly and patients with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
Part of the diploma programme will be conducted online to help students better juggle their work commitments as medical practitioners. The online lectures will be complemented with workshops and clinical attachments at sports medicine clinics in Singapore, culminating in a summary training and final exam.
There will also be opportunities to consult experts with at least 10 years of experience. These include sports physicians, surgeons, musculoskeletal radiologists, sport scientists, physiotherapists and dietitians, many of whom have worked in tertiary healthcare institutions, and with elite athletes at the Singapore Sports Institute and during major international events such as the Olympic and Asian Games.
Professor Peter Brukner, world-renowned expert in sports medicine at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, will also among the faculty in this programme’s faculty.
He was formerly head of sports medicine and sports science at Liverpool Football Club in the UK and was team physician for Australia at the 1996 Olympic Games and the 2010 World Cup. Professor Brukner, a visiting professor at LKCMedicine, has authored several books, including Clinical Sports Medicine, which is the primary source of reference for major sports medicine programmes internationally.
Dr Jong Sze Chin, a senior resident in rehabilitation medicine, said, “I am very interested to join the programme as it is very relevant to an area of my work where I work with Paralympic swimmers.”
Dr Oei Su Kai, a family physician with Oei Family Clinic in Pasir Ris, has applied to join the programme. He said, “I am honoured to be part of this movement because it will develop better medicine for all Singaporeans, and guiding and advising them – from the young to the elderly – towards an active sports and exercise lifestyle.”
Practitioners who complete the qualification, which has been endorsed by the Singapore Medical Council, can display the credentials and provide medical support for sports programmes and events.
More information on the new Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine is available at www.lkcmedicine.ntu.edu.sg.
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Tan Yo-Hinn (Mr)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
T: +65 6790 4889
Ooh Yi Hui (Ms)
Changi General Hospital
T: +65 6850 1744
About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N).
Ranked 11th in the world, NTU is top in Asia and has been placed the world’s top young university for the past four years. The University’s main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and has received 57 Green Mark awards (equivalent to LEED-certified), of which 54 are Green Mark Platinum. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg.
About Changi General Hospital
Changi General Hospital (CGH) is an award-winning public hospital with over 1,000 beds serving a community of 1.4 million people in eastern Singapore. CGH offers a comprehensive range of medical specialties and services, helmed by a highly experienced and skilled team of healthcare professionals who consistently deliver excellent health outcomes and care for patients. CGH is a member of the SingHealth cluster of healthcare institutions.
For more information, visit www.cgh.com.sg/Pages/Home.aspx.
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