SMA Charity Fund
   
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APPLY FOR THE SMA MEDICAL STUDENTS’ ASSISTANCE FUND

SMA Charity Fund

Current Status: MOH approves the IPC (Institution of a Public Character) status for the SMA Charity Fund on the 27 December 2013. (UEN: 201305017E)

Next Step: Fulfilling its role and purpose as a IPC to impact Singapore's healthcare sector and the community.

If you will like to donate to the cause of the SMA Charity Fund, you can now do so at Giving.sg, a online donation portal for charities managed by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre


1st Board of the SMA Charity Fund (UEN: 201305017E)

Special Advisor to the Board: Dr Charles Toh Chai Soon
Chairperson: Prof Wong Tien Yin
Board of Directors: 
Mr Lim Fung Wan, Colin
Mr Sitoh Yih Pin
A/Prof Tan Sze Wee
Prof Thio Li-Ann
Mr T K Udairam
Dr Wong Chiang Yin 

Effective 18 March 2013

Financial period/year will end on the 31 December and as SMACF is incoporated on 25 February 2013, the first set of financial statements will be provided in the 1st half of 2014.

A.    Background

In 2007, the Singapore Medical Association (“SMA”) [UEN: S61SS0168E], in joint collaboration with the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (“NUS YLLSoM”) and with the support of the NUS Development office, started the SMA Medical Students’ Assistance Fund to support the living expenses of needy students during the course of their medical education at the NUS YLLSoM. Since its inception, the fund had received more than S$1 million worth of donations from SMA members and their friends from both the medical and non-medical sectors. To date, S$426,000 has been awarded or disbursed to 106 NUS YLLSoM medical students
 
With the establishment of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and the Lee Khong Chian School of Medicine, SMA saw a need to extend the SMA Medical Students’ Assistance Fund to benefit needy students from these two medical schools. To this end, a separate entity – the SMA Charity Fund (“SMACF”) – was set up on 25 February 2013, thus allowing SMA to not only serve the aforementioned purpose, but also identify new areas of needs in the society.
 
Besides the SMA Medical Students’ Assistance Fund, SMA had also embarked on other charitable initiatives prior to the establishment of the SMACF:
1) Public education on specific health topics, including Optometry, Geriatrics and Mental Health, through SMA’s annual National Medical Convention; 
2) Partnership with the NUS YLLSoM Medical Society in its annual health screening projects, which helps 2000 beneficiaries per year; 
3) Collaboration with the NUS YLLSoM Medical Society and Wong Hock Boon Society to establish medical research and mentorship awards;
4) Provision of free advertising space in SMA News publication for societal groups,  charities and voluntary welfare organisations (“VWO”s) to promote volunteerism among its members and target audience; 
5) Distribution of print materials and allocation of booth spaces at SMA-run events for charitable projects, such as Camp Simba, to reach out to potential donors and volunteers.
 
The setting up of the SMACF marks a new milestone in the Association’s history, bringing together SMA’s current charitable initiatives and its goals of meeting the greater needs of the society at large under one giant umbrella, managed by an independent and diverse Board of Directors. 
 

B.  Meeting Current Gaps and Leveraging the Strengths of the SMACF

The SMACF seeks to utilise the strengths of the SMA to meet a range of current needs, including, but not limited to, the following areas:
 
1) FINANCIAL NEEDS 
GAP: Financial assistance to needy students is mostly school-specific or alumni-based, and the funds are not directly disbursed to students but offset against the tuition fees payable to the institution. 
AIM: The SMACF seeks to give exceptional individuals from needy families an equal opportunity to pursue a medical education by giving financial assistance for their basic living expenses. 
ROLE: SMACF will work with medical schools and their student bodies to determine the appropriate quantum of funding and leverage their current systems to identify potential beneficiaries. The funds will be fully disbursed to students and not offset against tuition fees, so that the basic living expenses of students and their families can be met.
OUTCOME: Needy medical students will receive funding for basic living expenses so that they can focus on their medical studies. 
 
2) VOLUNTEERISM
GAP: Opportunities for volunteerism among the medical profession abound. However, the platforms for engaging volunteers are either limited or ineffective, resulting in under-targeting of the wealth of professional expertise available in Singapore. 
AIM: Our goal is to engage both doctors and medical students by making opportunities for volunteerism readily accessible and available. 
ROLE: SMACF acts as a bridge to narrow the gap between the medical sector and societal groups/VWOs, giving doctors and medical students access to opportunities to make positive contributions to the less fortunate in society.
OUTCOME: Greater awareness of the different platforms for volunteerism will be created among members of the society/societal groups/VWOs and the medical profession. 
 
3) MENTORSHIP
GAP: Although mentorship of young researchers is crucial to the development of groundbreaking research, there is often a lack of recognition of this mentor-mentee relationship among the medical profession. 
AIM: To advance the quality of healthcare, the SMACF seeks to encourage active mentorship in public health projects that are geared toward improving health outcomes.
ROLE: SMACF will actively collaborate with organisations and medical schools to develop awards in recognition of outstanding mentors and researchers, with a special focus on research with significant contributions to public health. 
OUTCOME: An increased interest in research work among medical students and an active, vibrant environment for young researchers to thrive under the mentorship of experienced researchers.  
 
4) LEARNING EXPOSURE
GAP: Due to financial constraints, needy medical students often miss out on opportunities for learning through overseas exposures and local conferences.  
AIM: We seek to enable needy medical students to pursue learning opportunities outside the classroom, as such exposures are crucial to their advancement. It is our belief that no student should be deprived of such opportunities due to a lack of funds.
ROLE: For a start, SMACF will provide financial support to a limited number of needy medical students who wish to attend local or overseas conferences, seminars, workshops or electives that would enhance their current medical knowledge and skills. In time, we target to grow the available funds to benefit a larger number of beneficiaries.
OUTCOME: Through the support of the SMACF, needy students will have an equal opportunity to gain valuable learning experiences through local and overseas exposures. 
 
 
Other initiatives that may be pursued by the SMACF in the medium term include:
5) PROVISION OF PUBLIC EDUCATION 
As the Singaporean population matures, it is vital for the public to possess basic healthcare knowledge and be aware of the importance of taking personal responsibility for their health. Therefore, the SMACF seeks to provide regular public education in the form of health talks and seminars to the masses, in the hopes of debunking common health myths and clarifying misinformation.
 
6) HEALTH SCREENING AND FOLLOW-UP CHECKS
The provision of affordable health screening assessments for our ageing population will allow for early detection of diseases, thereby increasing the chances of successful management and recovery. We aim to bring preventive screening, follow-up and vaccination programmes, funded by SMACF and managed by a network of General Practitioners, to the heartlands in order to benefit the masses.