HomeNews EventsNews1st Singapore International Public Health Conference (SIPHC)

1st Singapore International Public Health Conference (SIPHC)

01 Oct 2012

(L-R): NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health Dean, Prof Chia Kee Seng, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Dr Amy Khor and Chairman of the Chapter of Public Health and Occupational Physicians Dr Eugene Shum, taking part in the opening ceremony featuring a festive drum group performance by Bukit Panjang Primary School. 

The recently concluded 1st Singapore International Public Health Conference held in conjunction with the 7th Singapore Public Health and Occupational Medicine Conference on 1 - 2 October 2012 at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, Singapore, was a resounding success. More than 500 international and local delegates from government agencies, business, research institutions, institutes of learning, healthcare agencies, multilaterals and civil society from 15 countries gathered at this two-day multi-disciplinary conference to share ideas, unearth possibilities and drive action to address current public health issues such as the burden of diabetes, infectious diseases and workplace health and wellness in Singapore and the region. Both the School and the Chapter are very grateful to all sponsors, speakers, government agencies, international affiliates and media whose kind and generous support was vital for the success of the event.

Jointly organised by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and the Chapter of Public Health and Occupational Physicians, Academy of Medicine, Singapore, this year’s theme was “Translating Public Health Research into Practice”, reflecting the needs to respond to the rapidly changing healthcare landscape and ever-evolving diseases and demographics, with evidence-based programmes and possibilities. The School also launched the Demographic Epidemiological Model of Singapore (DEMOS), a simulation model that forecasts the impact of public health interventions on the future burden of diseases and critical component of the Population Health Metrics and Analytics (PHMA) platform. The PHMA utilises public-domain create a simulated population of Singapore, which is then used to project the outcomes of unhealthy states or disease conditions, based not only on traditional data on ageing and demography but also on genes and other such risk factors.

As a pilot, the School has forecasted the burden of diabetes in Singapore, taking into account age, genes and level of obesity. The traditional method of forecasting the number of diabetics in the future is based on the ageing of the population. However, the rising trend of obesity – a major risk factor for diabetes – shows that such a method results in underestimation. In 2010, approximately 400,000 people in Singapore (11.3 per cent of the population) were diabetic, with one in three adults developing the disease by the age of 65. Using DEMOS, the School has been able to predict more accurately that by 2050, one in two adults will develop Type 2 diabetes in his lifetime.

Gracing the event was Minister of State for Health and Manpower, Dr Amy Khor, who launched the inaugural event. Esteemed speakers included the conference’s three keynote speakers - Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Professor Kenneth E. Warner, Avedis Donabedian Distinguished University Professor of Public Health at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and Professor David L. Heymann who is Professor, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Head and Senior Fellow, Centre on Global Health Security, Chatham House. Apart from the main conference proceedings, post-conference Special Interest Groups were also chaired by renowned academics, practitioners and industry leaders to facilitate interaction, networking and potential collaboration on research projects in the areas of ageing, infectious diseases and Type 2 diabetes prevention.

The conference both timely and crucial as we collectively face the escalating threat that health issues pose to the well-being, social, political and economic welfare of many countries around the world. Not only will the active exchange of ideas and robust discussions further promote and reinforce the common understanding between our School and our partners in our continuing efforts to address public health issues, it also reiterates the School’s commitment to becoming the regional leader in public health research, education and training. 

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