Five LKCMedicine graduates from the Class of 2018 were conferred seven special accolades in the form of medals, prizes and awards, at the Inaugural Cohort Graduation Dinner on 22 July, and the NTU Convocation on 24 July. As a new medical school graduating its First Class, three newly established prizes and awards were given out at the Graduation Dinner, co-presented by Guest-of-Honour, the Minister for Education Mr Ong Ye Kung. The rest are NTU-level awards presented at the Convocation by President of the Republic of Singapore and NTU Chancellor Madam Halimah Yacob.
Valedictorian Dr Ang Jia Wei received two of the most prestigious NTU awards at the Convocation: the Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal and the Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award. By virtue of the award’s name, the Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal commands the greatest respect and is presented for academic excellence across all years of study to those who have attained Honours. The Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award is presented to exceptional students who show great leadership and character, and also honours inspirational former teachers and NTU faculty members.
“Winning not one but two awards was a great surprise and I feel very honoured. I’m very happy that I got the chance to thank two inspirational mentors with the Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award. Mr Sam Lee was my civics tutor and a core tutor of the Math and Science Talent Programme at Hwa Chong Institution. He enabled me to develop a critical way of evaluating knowledge and approaching scientific problems. Associate Professor Tham Kum Ying is a role model whom I look up to, who has imparted much wisdom about approaching and managing patients,” said Dr Ang.
Assistant Dean for Year 5 A/Prof Tham, in turn, said that Dr Ang embodies the three C’s, “In addition to being caring towards her patients, she is caring towards her classmates and took great care of her peers during her year as class rep. She gives careful consideration and full attention to matters that are important to her. As a keen observer who reflects on her experiences, Jia Wei’s response to situations is well calibrated, which makes her a good communicator.”
Dr Moses Ko was the School’s other recipient of the Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award. He thanked his literature teacher from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) Mr Brian Connor for exposing him “to the complexity of language and communication” and also taught him to appreciate that “viewpoints could be different but justified”. Dr Ko also looked up to LKCMedicine William Osler House Senior House Tutor Associate Professor Mary Wong not only as a clinician but also a mentor who constantly reminded him not to get lost in the demands of medicine and thus forget character development, relationships and health.
Dr Ko also received the Toh Kian Chui Gold Medal for being the top performing medical student in his final year. “I only checked my results in April although they were released in January, and didn’t know I was top scholar or won the gold medal. In my final year, I was juggling multiple commitments: training for the NTU inter-varsity race taking place the day after final exams, church, staying healthy, resting well, and spending time with family. I wasn’t one of the fastest in the race, but I managed to qualify and gained some points for NTU; I was pleasantly surprised,” he said.
“Moses is an esteemed scholar and accomplished sportsman in equal measure; mature, level-headed, affable and an authentic gentleman,” said A/Prof Wong. “He embodies other sterling qualities such as patience, empathy, sensitivity and a serious approach to life and work, which will make him an excellent doctor.”
Inaugural LKCMedicine Alumni Association President Dr Leon Tan was awarded the first Anthony SC Teo-Gordon Johnson Gold Medal for attaining the best clinical skills results from years three to five. Mr Anthony Teo was Secretary to the University at NTU while Professor Gordon Johnson was former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of University of Cambridge and President of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge. Dr Tan was presented with the congratulatory letter by Mr Teo at the Graduation Dinner; the Gold Medal was presented at the Convocation.
When asked how he aced his clinical skills, Dr Tan said, “Mostly just practising with my batch mates. We kept going through common clinical scenarios. Personally, I’m most confident with the communication sessions. As I’m now posted to paediatrics on my PGY1, where many parents are very anxious all the time, I find that I’m more confident speaking with them as we went through the module with angry and sad parents. I find it actually prepared me well.”
Two inaugural School prizes were also presented at the Graduation Dinner. Dr Julia Ng received the Medal from the Academy of Medicine Singapore (AMS), from AMS Master Dr S R E Sayampanathan. This medal was established at the School to recognise a student from the graduating cohort with outstanding leadership, passion, independence and resilience among other stellar character traits.
Dr Lavisha S Punjabi is the inaugural recipient of the College of Family Physicians Prize. This is given to the best essay on family medicine to the question “What are the benefits for patients and society of a healthcare system in which Family Medicine is well developed?” Her encounters with classmates and tutors who were passionate about primary care and the good it can do compelled her to address this question.
“I felt strongly that the benefits are adequately studied and well-established but raised another question in my conclusion, which I hope generates meaningful conversation,” said Dr Punjabi. She had concluded in her essay: “In Singapore, it is a question of what more we can do – while we are grooming family physicians of the future, building new infrastructure and modifying models of healthcare – to respond to the predicaments of today, and tomorrow. Frankly, I feel our conversation has just begun.”
With the Convocation wrapping up all the bittersweet memories of five years well spent at LKCMedicine and sending the first batch of young doctors on their life’s work in Singapore and beyond, it is time to bid them farewell but we’ll definitely be hearing about their achievements in the future.