June 2018 | Issue 36

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Singapore’s healthcare legacy continues with the opening of LKCMedicine’s Heritage Centre


​The LKCMedicine Heritage Centre in the School's headquarters (HQ) building was officially opened on 16 May​ by LKCMedicine Governing Board Chairman Mr Lim Chuan Poh, NTU President and Distinguished University Professor Subra Suresh, Imperial College's Faculty of Medicine Vice-Dean (Education) Professor Desmond Johnston and LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best, in front of other members of the Board, invited guests, faculty and staff.

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LKCMedicine and NTU Senior Management, and VIPs gather together to celebrate the opening of the
LKCMedicine Heritage Centre

Although LKCMedicine is a young medical school at just five years old, it rests on the shoulders of giants that came before. The School is the culmination of a healthcare, medical education and research legacy, of both its parent universities NTU Singapore and Imperial College London, as well as its primary teaching hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). The LKCMedicine HQ itself was built as the Straits Settlements Mandalay Road Hostel in 1923, housing medical students from King Edward VII College of Medicine. Post-WWII, it was used as a nurses' hostel before housing TTSH's Administrative and Human Resource office.

Prof Suresh kicked off the evening saying, "First and foremost, congratulations on a remarkable journey over a very short five years, the milestone of graduating 52 new doctors into the Singapore medical enterprise. I think history is made not by discrete jumps but every day by students and faculty. LKCMedicine will be around 500 years from now, and the history will be much richer. I'm delighted to be part of the NTU family and the LKCMedicine family."

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Prof Suresh (left) and Mr Lim (right) share their thoughts on LKCMedicine, its history and what it means to have
this Heritage Centre

Mr Lim then addressed the audience, evoking the history of the HQ building where the Centre resides. He said, "These walls have witnessed many stories and decisions that have enriched the history of medicine and healthcare in Singapore. Our stories do not start with the School but if there is something we have done right from the beginning of LKCMedicine, it is the meticulous effort put in to record the key moments of how the School came about, how we developed the vision to guide our journey, the milestones and goals we sought to achieve at each stage."

The Heritage Centre begins with a timeline wall installation from the entrance, starting from 1923 when the Mandalay Road students' hostel (the current headquarters) was built, and charting the milestones until 2018 when the first class of LKCMedicine graduated to become doctors. Visitors will be able to see original bricks from the building's hostel days, old photographs, as well as listen in at the audio booth to what pioneer leaders, faculty, corporate staff and students have to say.

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Guests of the event toured the Heritage Centre, led by Executive Vice-Dean Prof Lionel Lee

What dominates the Heritage Centre though is the imposing time capsule created on 28 August 2017 and sealed by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean – when he officially opened the School – containing 30 items such as an SMS meeting notification from MOE regarding setting up a medical school, Collaboration Agreement between NTU and Imperial, the Letter of Donation from the Lee Foundation, key publications including the book documenting the first governing board advance, as well as an iPad and Team-Based Learning flashcards, key learning tools used in the LKCMedicine MBBS programme and hallmarks of the teaching approach at this innovative medical school. Placed in the heart of the Centre, it is due to be opened only in 2060. By then, the School would have achieved quite a few more milestones.