The Appointment Ceremony for Top Physician Scientist Professor Wong Tien Yin Was Held by Tsinghua University

Professor Wong Tien Yin, a preeminent ophthalmologist and physician-scientist, has joined Tsinghua University as University Professor.

Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong presented a letter of appointment to Professor Wong amid an online ceremony on November 1. Professor Wong will be the Founding Head of Tsinghua Medicine in January 2022.  

President Qiu extended a warm welcome and congratulations to Professor Wong for joining Tsinghua as University Professor.

President Qiu said that Professor Wong’s expertise would be crucial as Tsinghua strives to take its medical education to a new level. “In the last 20 years, Tsinghua’s medical discipline has made remarkable progress. I am confident that your joining us will help further strengthen Tsinghua’s medical research, promote the university’s academic influence and international cooperation, as well as cultivate high-quality talents,” he said.      

Professor Wong said that it was a great honor and privilege to join one of the best universities in the world.

At Tsinghua, Professor Wong said, his focus will be on developing a common vision and strategic plan for developing an integrated academic medical and healthcare system at Tsinghua, accelerating innovation and translational medicine, and applying scientific discoveries to improving clinical outcomes by strengthening clinical research. Professor Wong will also be developing new international networks and partnerships with top medical schools and academic healthcare systems in the US, Europe, Asia and Singapore.

Professor Wong said it is important to address China’s future healthcare challenges including the increasing prevalence of aging and chronic diseases. He said it is important to shift the emphasis from disease treatment to prevention and improving population health. Professor Wong is passionate about mentoring young students so that they can find purpose and meaning in their work and career, and make an impact on the population and the community.

As a distinguished Singaporean ophthalmologist, Professor Wong will move to Tsinghua from his current positions in Singapore.

He is currently Arthur Lim Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and Medical Director of the Singapore National Eye Center (SNEC), where he has led SNEC, one of the largest tertiary eye hospitals in Asia, with a faculty of nearly 100 ophthalmologists, for more than seven years. Prior to this, he served as Executive Director of the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI), one of the world’s leading eye research institutes, for five years.

Professor Wong has served on various senior leadership roles at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Center, most recently as Deputy Group CEO (Research and Education) and Vice-Dean, Duke-NUS Medical School, National University of Singapore. The SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Center is the largest public healthcare cluster in Singapore, with 35,000 staff, managing >2.5 million outpatient clinical appointments per year. Professor Wong leads four cluster-wide offices (Group Research, Group Education, Joint Office of Academic Medicine, Office of Academic Clinical Development), which plan and coordinate clinical and translational research, innovation, enterprise and industry collaboration across 11 hospitals and healthcare institutions, including Singapore General Hospital (ranked #8 best hospital, https://www.newsweek.com/best-hospitals-2020), and 5 national specialty centers (Cancer, Heart, Neuroscience, Eye, Dental). His offices also oversee appointments, promotion, and tenure of >2,000 faculty (Asst, Assoc and full Professors) and lead an education enterprise training medical students, residents, and fellows, as well as nursing students and a diverse range of allied health professionals (e.g., physiotherapists, pharmacists).

Professor Wong completed medical school at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He obtained an MPH and a PhD from Johns Hopkins University, USA, and received his clinical residency training in ophthalmology at the SNEC. He completed research and clinical fellowships at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA and the University of Sydney, Australia.

Professor Wong, who has also previously served as Chair of Ophthalmology at NUS and Chair of Ophthalmology at the University of Melbourne, Australia, has a broad inter-disciplinary research and innovation portfolio comprising epidemiology, ocular imaging, retinal diseases and more recently digital healthcare, including AI. He is a highly cited researcher and has published over 1,400 peer-reviewed papers, including papers in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, JAMA, Nature and Nature Medicine.

Professor Wong has given over 500 invited named, plenary, and symposium lectures globally, and received over US$100 million in grant funding. He is a two-times recipient of the Singapore Translational Researcher (STaR) Award, the most prestigious award for senior physician-scientist in Singapore.

His research has improved the understanding of the burden and risk factors of eye diseases, but particularly diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness in China and globally.  In the past five years, his team has led research in AI and digital health, with discoveries and publications in major journals, such as NEJM, JAMA, Nature Biomedical Engineering, and Lancet Digital Health. He has patents in AI algorithms and is co-founder of two start-up companies.

For his contributions, Professor Wong has been recognized internationally with numerous prestigious prizes, the Australian Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award, the Arnall Patz Medal from the US Macula Society, the Alcon Research Institute Award, the Jose Rizal Medal from the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, and the Eisenhower Fellowship, among other prestigious awards. In Singapore, he has received the National Outstanding Clinician Scientist Award, the President’s Science Award, and the President’s Science and Technology Award, the highest awards for healthcare and scientific contribution in Singapore.

Professor Wong is an elected international member of the US National Academy of Medicine, an elected international fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, and an elected fellow of the Singapore Academy of Medicine and the Singapore National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Wang Hongwei, Director of Institute of Biomedicine at Tsinghua University, extended his welcome to Professor Wong, and he said that he believed that Professor Wong’s outstanding contributions in clinical practice and academic research, as well as his outstanding leadership in the medical and health management system, would promote the new development of medical research and health technology at Tsinghua, and strengthen Tsinghua’s contribution to the Healthy China Initiative as well to the well-being of humanity.

Tsinghua University Vice President Zheng Li moderated the appointment ceremony, where representatives from various relevant departments were also present.

Writer: Sangeet

Editor: Huang Fei

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