April 2017 | Issue 29
LKCMedicine hosts Deputy Prime Minister Mr Teo Chee Hean for first visit to the School

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A commemorative photo taken in the Medical Library marks DPM Teo’s first visit to LKCMedicine

With the latest addition to its dual campus newly open, LKCMedicine welcomed Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Mr Teo Chee Hean at the Clinical Sciences Building (CSB) on Friday, 24 February. This was Mr Teo’s first visit to the School.

LKCMedicine Governing Board Chairman Mr Lim Chuan Poh, NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson and LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best received Mr Teo, who was updated on the School’s innovative teaching approaches and research strategy.

In concluding his welcome remarks, Mr Lim said, “I think it is quite remarkable that in a very small landscape like Singapore’s… we can add diversity for Singaporeans to have different options when they think about medical education.”

Addressing Mr Teo’s question on how the university and medical school benefit from each other, Prof Andersson said that NTU brings its existing expertise in life sciences, humanities like sociology and medical engineering, while the medical school helps to interface with the clinical world. He said, “With the medical school, the engineers trained in life sciences can work closely to develop innovations.”

After the welcome remarks, Prof Best introduced the School and reflected on how its ambitious vision to redefine medicine, transform healthcare can be realised. While the transformation of healthcare is already underway, he said that the School’s role is to ensure that it develops well and contributes to Singapore. In this endeavour, the School can contribute in two ways: provide a world-class medical education to students to prepare them for the realities of tomorrow’s healthcare, while at the same time ensure that students work well with the technologies that will support their practice.

Prof Best said, “We have to ensure that our students maintain the human touch and that our students treat their patients with care and compassion.”

Kick-starting the presentations, which focused on how the School distinguishes itself, were two Class of 2019 students Lee Kai Wei an Berwyn Tan.

After their insights into student life and the MBBS curriculum, it was Vice-Dean for Education Associate Professor Naomi Low-Beer’s turn to give context to the students’ experiences. This was followed by a presentation on the School’s research strategy and key achievements by Vice-Dean for Research and Nanyang Institute of Technology in Health & Medicine Director Professor Russell Gruen.

After the presentations, the delegation visited the key learning facilities and laboratories that enable the innovative pedagogy and research at the School.

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L-R: Dr Reddy Mogali (right) explains the School’s anatomy teaching, which includes the use of plastinated specimens to DPM Teo; Class of 2019 student Russell Chuah performs an ultrasound scan, a common component in LKCMedicine’s teaching 

In the Anatomy Learning Centre, Mr Teo learned more about the School’s approach to anatomy teaching from Senior Lecturer and Lead for Anatomy Dr Reddy Mogali and observed how ultrasound is used in teaching through a demonstration by Class of 2019 student Russell Chuah, who performed an abdominal scan under the guidance of Assistant Dean for Year 5 Associate Professor Tham Kum Ying.​

From there, he moved on to the Practical Skills Lab, one of three components making up the Centre for Clinical Simulation. Kai Wei demonstrated venepuncture, while Berwyn performed suturing in a hybrid scenario where a simulated patient was fitted with a prosthetic wound, under the guidance of Assistant Director and Lead for Practical Skills Ms Ramani Saravanan and Assistant Dean for Clinical Communication Training & Student Welfare Dr Tanya Tierney respectively.

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DPM Teo, Prof Andersson and Mr Lim watch Berwyn apply skills learnt in communication and practical skills training in a hybrid scenario, under the supervision of Assoc Prof Nigel Tan and Dr Tanya Tierney

Assistant Dean for Year 4 and Family Medicine Associate Professor Wong Teck Yee then invited Mr Teo to try his hand at either of these skills. Mr Teo gamely tried the venepuncture, drawing blood on his first attempt. Assoc Prof Wong and Assistant Dean for Year 3 Associate Professor Nigel Tan also shared insights on how clinical skills training helps to prepare students for clinical practice.

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Mr Teo trying his hand at venepuncture, under the guidance of Ms Ramani

As Chairman of the National Research Foundation, Mr Teo also had a strong interest in research and two young scientists at the School were on hand in the research labs to share more about their work. Assistant Professor of Metabolic Disease Yusuf Ali outlined his research which aims to solve the enigma of insulin cell dysfunction in early Type-2 diabetes; while Assistant Professor of Molecular Medicine and NMRC Transition Award recipient Sanjay Chotirmall explained the ways in which his team is working to improve the pulmonary health of the population.

After this packed programme, it was time to enjoy some light refreshments and the panoramic views offered by the Medical Library on Level 20, where Mr Teo mingled with students. Mr Teo took the opportunity to hear more from students what they make of life at the medical school and what they felt made the curriculum unique. He urged them to study hard as they will be the doctors who will care for his generation and future ones.

​Before the visit ended, there was just time for a commemorative group and 360 degree photo.