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Professor N Balachandran, a medical luminary and pioneer in the field of orthopaedics, was instrumental in developing orthopaedics as a medical specialty in Singapore. A founding father, mentor, teacher and friend to many in the profession, Professor Balachandran graduated from the University of Malaya in 1956. A firm believer in the transfer of skills, experience and knowledge to younger surgeons so that patients could benefit from better care, Prof Balachandran trained countless orthopaedic surgeons, nurses and other staff. His mantra was: “We must always aim towards excellence and not be selfish. We would have failed in our duties and responsibilities if our younger surgeons who come after us are not better than us.” Later, as President of the Singapore Medical Association, he reminded doctors that, “Success cannot be measured in financial terms only. It must be measured by the sum total of the good we do for the community.” Prof Balachandran’s strict and firm but fair working style belied his heart of gold. Over his four-and-a-half decade career, his devotion to his patients and dedication to mentoring his students has left an indelible impression on the medical profession. He is best remembered for his compassion and humanity towards his patients. He cared deeply for them, regardless of their social standings, and was very intimately concerned with rehabilitation of the handicapped, the disabled, patients with spinal injuries, congenital deformities and the chronic sick.
The Balachandran-Kajima Professorship in Academic Medicine was established to honour this medical giant. The Professorship aims to nurture academic leadership in medical teaching and research and will allow the distinguished recipient to pursue advanced research that will make a lasting impact on patients’ lives. Kajima Overseas Asia (KOA), a regional arm of Kajima Corporation, donated generously towards this Professorship. A global design, construction and real estate development giant, KOA was involved in the development of The Academia, an iconic building dedicated to research, education and training on the SGH Campus. The Professorship is also supported by SingHealth Foundation.