Dr Koh Poh Koon

MBBS (S’pore), MMed (Surg), MRCSEd, FRCSE (Gen), FAMS (Gen Surg)
Member of Parliament, Ang Mo Kio GRC

Brief Biography

Dr Koh Poh Koon was elected as a Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC on 11 September 2015. Prior to taking on political appointment, Dr Koh was a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon in private practice at Capstone Colorectal Surgery Centre at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre. He continued service as a Visiting Consultant Surgeon at the Department of Colorectal Surgery in Singapore General Hospital (SGH), and was the founding Director of the Colorectal Cancer Genomic Health Service in SGH.

Dr Koh is also appointed as a Visiting Consultant Surgeon to the Department of General Surgery, Changi General Hospital where he continues to mentor colorectal surgical trainees undergoing Advanced Specialist Training. He was a Visiting Consultant to the Division of Surgical Oncology at the National Cancer Centre of Singapore prior to setting up his own practice at Capstone Colorectal Surgery Centre. His surgical expertise relates to the use of minimally-invasive laparoscopic as well as robotics-assisted techniques for disorders of the colon and rectum, with emphasis on sphincter-preservation surgery.

In recognition of his outstanding and exemplary clinical service, Dr Koh was awarded the SGH 10 years Long Service Award in 2007, SingHealth Quality Service Award (Silver Award) in 2010 and the SingHealth Service With A Heart Award in 2011.

Dr Koh graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 1996 and obtained his Fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh as well as the Academy of Medicine, Singapore in 2005. He received advanced training in the surgical treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases in Edinburgh, UK (2002 - 2003) as well as the renowned Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA (2006 - 2007) through a HMDP Scholarship funded by the Ministry of Health, Singapore.

He was a member of the multidisciplinary care team at the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Center in SGH and has lectured at national and international forums on various aspects of IBD surgery. He is a member of the Asia Pacific Consensus Workgroup on Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in 2011, formed under the auspices of the APAGE (Asia Pacific Association of Gastroenterology) and helped in the creation of the Asia Pacific Consensus statements for management of IBD in the Asia Pacific region.

He also has specialized interests in the clinical management and surgical treatment of patients and their families with Hereditary Colorectal Cancers.  For this, he was awarded a second HMDP Scholarship in 2010 to pursue further training on “Clinical Gene Testing and Personalized Medicine in Colorectal Cancer Management” at the Genomic Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic (Ohio), USA. Following his return, he became the founding Director of the Colorectal Cancer Genomic Health Service at the Singapore General Hospital. This new service is a first in Asia and provided comprehensive multi-disciplinary care for those at high risk of developing colorectal cancers through the setting up of an integrated High Risk Family Clinic, Genetic Counseling Service and the initiation of clinical genetic testing services. Known as an expert in the management of Hereditary Colorectal Cancers, Dr Koh has been invited to speak on this topic in national and international conferences.

Dr Koh was active in clinical and molecular research and has published more than 40 articles in both clinical and basic science peer-reviewed journals. For his outstanding research work on rectal cancer, he was award the Young Investigator’s Award (Medical), at the 13 th SGH Annual Scientific Meeting, in 2002. He has served as a reviewer for the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics as well as Diseases of the Colon and Rectum. In addition, he served as a reviewer for the SGH Research Grant as well as an ad-hoc grant reviewer for the NMRC (National Medical Research Council) Grant.

He held academic appointment as Clinical Lecturer in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (formerly Faculty of Medicine) at the National University of Singapore. He was also appointed as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. As a Co-Supervisor of the Graduate Program, Dr Koh guided post-graduate students towards achieving their PhD thesis in the Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore. He has special research interests in genomic and metabonomic profiling of colorectal cancers and has active research collaborations with various A*Star (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) institutions on biomedical innovations and product development.

He has also collaborated with Pharmaceutical Companies on various aspects of biomarker discovery and product validation. He is a member of the International Mismatch Repair Consortium (IMRC) researching into the genetic basis of Lynch Syndrome via a world-wide collaborrative research project. In private practice, he continued his research work as an Adjunct Clinician Scientist with the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), a key institution under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).

Since setting up his own private practice, he partnered Fortis Healthcare Singapore to set up the first dedicated colorectal diseases hospital in Southeast Asia, the Fortis Colorectal hospital in 2012. As Director of Colorectal Surgical Oncology and Cancer Genetics Service at Fortis Colorectal Hospital, he established the Fortis-IBN Tissue Biorepository at Biopolis, the first such private-public partnership in Singapore which enabled the banking of tumor tissues at IBN for translational research on colorectal cancer. The research has led to 3 patents filed and 2 of these have since been licensed for commercialization.

He has served on the Executive Committee of the Society of Colorectal Surgeons, Singapore (SCRS) since 2007 and was elected as the Treasurer for 2009 – 2010. Dr Koh is a Committee Member of the Gastroenterological Society of Singapore (GESS). He is also a Council Member of the International Council of Coloproctology and a member of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) where he serves to promote international training of future Colorectal Surgeons.

Dr Koh has served in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) with distinction, having been awarded 2 Letters of Commendation, 1 Letter of Appreciation and received the Formation NSman of the Year Award in 2011. A Guards Officer with Airborne qualifications, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 2013. He completed his tour of duty as the Commanding Officer (CO) of a Combat Service Support Battalion (CSSB) in 2015 and is now the Deputy Commander of the 32 nd Logistics Support Group.  He attended the 10 th National Service Command and Staff Course (NS-CSC) in 2009 at the Singapore Armed Forces Command and Staff College, where he emerged as the Top Graduate.

Dr Koh also contributed actively to society, serving as an Executive Committee Member at the Telok Blangah Dover Crescent Resident’s Committee since 2002 and was concurrently a Member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). He participated as a candidate for People’s Action Party (PAP) in the 2013 Punggol-East By-election and held the position as Branch Chairman of the PAP’s Punggol East Branch where he served also as the Chairman of its PCF Kindergartens. He was also active in the grassroots as the Advisor to the Rivervale Plaza Merchant’s Committee and was a Patron to the Citizen’s Consultative Committee for Punggol East Constituency. A long-serving Grassroots Leader, he received the 10-year Long Service Award from People’s Association in 2014. He was the Vice-Chair of the Citizen’s Consultative Committee in Yio Chu Kang Constituency and was the Chairman of the Elderly Wellness Committee for Ang Mo Kio GRC. He was subsequently elected as a Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC on 11 September 2015.