Present Issue 
Past Issues 

Present Issue 
Past Issues 

SMA Editorial Board 

Letters to the Editor 


This site is supported by Health ONE

Citation - Dr Chew Chin Hin, SMA Lecturer 1998

Dr Chew has semi-retired. But not before a very illustrious and distinguished career in Medicine, a career which is not about to end, but to change emphasis as he gracefully ages, and mellows with the passage of time, a change his wife, Anna, fully supports. He comes from a distinguished family of scholars and academics. His late parents, Dr and Mrs Benjamin Chew were well known in their church community and for their charitable work in Singapore.

Cecil as he is fondly called by those who knew him in his early years, grew up in Singapore but went to the University of Hong Kong, graduating MBBS in 1955. In 1961 he obtained the MRCP (Edinburgh) and today continues to serve as Overseas Regional Advisor of this college. From 1961 to 1981 he served at TTSH before leaving to take up the appointment of Deputy Director of Medical Services in the Ministry of Health (then at Cuppage Road).

While at TTSH he was Senior Registrar in 1962, Physician grade G in 1964 and in 1965 he was appointed the Foundation Head of the Department of Medicine IV. Promoted to Superscale E in 1972, he was one of the very Senior Physicians at that time. He excelled in the field of clinical service and research. As Chairman of the Ministry’s Tuberculosis Research Committee, he contributed to the landmark studies on tuberculosis chemotherapy in the early 1970s (short course and intermittent chemotherapy regimens done with the British Medical Research Council). The results were published in Tubercle, Bulletin of the International Union Against Tuberculosis, Bulletin of the World Health Organisation, Lancet and the American Review of Respiratory Disease, the last article appearing in as late as 1991.

In 1978 Dr Chew decided to excel also in administration and assumed the post of Medical Superindent, TTSH, for 3 years before moving onto higher office at MOH HQ. From 1973 to 1975, he held the prestigious position of Master Academy of Medicine during which period the Academy conferred its honorary fellowship on Mr Lee Kuan Yew, then Prime Minister of Singapore.

He has contributed greatly to Postgraduate Medical Education and was awarded over a 10-year period due recognition via the FRCP (Edin) in 1971, the FRCP (Glasgow) in 1973, the FRCP (London) in 1975, the FRACP in 1976, and the FACP in 1980. He held high office in numerous academic and public bodies including the Singapore Medical Council, National University Hospital Board, Medical Clinical Research Committee in the Ministry of Health, SATA, the International Union Against Tuberculosis, just to name a few. For contributions to teaching, research and administration, the government of Singapore on its 1982 National Day, awarded Dr Chew the Public Administration Gold Medal. In the citation on that day, I quote, "throughout his 26 years of service and in every task he has undertaken, Dr Chew Chin Hin has consistently and tenaciously pursued excellence."

Dr Chew retired in 1991 and received the Long Service Medal for contribution to Medical and Health Services 1956 _ 91 but continues his hectic schedule. He is presently Advisor and Deputy Director, Graduate School of Medical Studies, NUS, Honorary Consultant and Advisor, NUH. In 1992, the Australasian College of Physicians presented him the College Medal, the first outside Australia and New Zealand to receive such an honour, "for fostering the role of the College in Singapore and more widely in the region" through service on its Asia Pacific Committee. He sits on the MRCP (UK) Policy Committee of the 3 Royal Colleges of Physicians and is the overseas representative and regional advisor for Singapore on behalf of the Edinburgh College. He is also a founder member of the recently established Specialist Accreditation Board.

He was Visiting Consultant to the Dept of Rheumatology and Immunology TTSH but this changed yesterday when TTSH conferred the title of Emeritus Consultant on him. In addition to his research contributions to tuberculosis in Singapore, Dr Chew is one of several early pioneers in thoracic medicine, obtaining the DTCD (Wales) in 1960. In 1966 he was lecturer to the WHO Western Pacific Regional Training Course in TB, and for 6 months in 1969 _ 70, he went on a travelling WHO fellowship for non-tuberculous chest diseases in Sweden, UK and USA. In 1971 he was Singapore’s official representative to the 21st International Tuberculosis Conference in Moscow, followed in 1972 to the 8th Eastern Regional TB Conference (IUAT) in Sydney. In 1973 he chaired the plenary sessions on chemotherapy at the 22nd International TB Conference in Tokyo and did the same job in 1975 at the 23rd IUAT World Conference in Mexico and in 1978 at Brussels. So having travelled far and wide in the 1970s it was no surprise that he was elected as Honorary President of the 26th IUAT World Conference in TB and Respiratory Diseases held in Singapore in 1986.

There are many other activities Dr Chew has pursued and is still pursuing. Dr Chew was the first TTSH orator in 1997, and today is honoured as the 1998 SMA lecturer. I have described to you, ladies and gentlemen, the evidence for Dr Chew’s stature and standing in the fields of administration, clinical science and clinical research, and postgraduate medical education. Today he sits as Chairman of the National Medical Ethics Committee.

Appointed by Ministry of Health to chair the 12-member NMEC, the committee under his able leadership has accomplished the following:

i) Reviewed the issue of "Living Will" in Singapore and put up a report "Advance Medical Directives". Arising from the recommendations made in the report, the Ministry of Health tabled the Advance Medical Directives Act on 2 May 1996.

ii) Reviewed the teaching of medical ethics in the medical undergraduate curriculum and recommended that a more structured and formalised approach be adopted in the curriculum. This has since been implemented.

iii) Published ethical guidelines on organ and tissue transplantation, genetic technology and therapy, biomedical resource on human subjects. These serve as a reference for the ethics committees in the public and private hospitals.

For those of us who know him well, he is kind, generous, honest and above all loyal to his belief and friends. He has indeed contributed much in the service of clinical medicine, medical education, research and also medical ethics. The SMA Council is grateful that Dr Chew has accepted our invitation to be the 1998 SMA lecturer. May I on their behalf call upon him to now deliver his lecture titled "Not To Be Ministered Unto, But To Minister."


(The full text of Dr Chew’s SMA Lecture is published in the scientific section in this issue’s SMJ, pg 3.)


DDMS, Professional & Service Development, MOH;
Master of Academy of Medicine, Singapore