Stepping into the shoes of a doctor on a disaster relief mission, medical students spent a Friday evening virtually travelling to South Sudan where they had to navigate a number of real-life-inspired life-and-death scenarios from medical humanitarian field missions during the inaugural LKCMedicine Medical Society (LKCMedSoc) inaugural lecture. The speaker, Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) Emergency Response & Support Manager Dr Natasha Reyes, enriched the discussion by offering her own experiences from working in countries such as Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Held at the Clinical Sciences Building Learning Studio, the first edition of this annual lecture garnered strong interest with some 120 students from Singapore’s three medical schools attending the event on 1 December. The series was set up to broaden students’ perspective of medicine beyond the hospital and clinic walls, exposing students to unique areas in medicine that they would otherwise not have an opportunity to experience.
MSF Emergency Response Support Manager Dr Natasha Reyes delivers the inaugural LKCMedSoc lecture to an audience of some 120 students from Singapore's three medical schools (Source: LKCMedSoc Facebook and LKCMedicine Facebook)
“We really wanted to bring the rich world of medical practice to our campus to bring to life how medicine can be practised in many different settings,” said Richard Chan, Class of 2020 student and fourth LKCMedSoc ExCo president.
Added Lee Cheok Hon, current LKCMedSoc ExCo president and Class of 2019 student, “At the same time, such initiatives provide opportunities for us to reach out to students from other medical schools in Singapore, contributing to the holistic development of our fellow students.”
Kicking off her talk with an overview of MSF, Dr Reyes, an emergency physician by training, went on to share her experiences of working in West Africa during the Ebola outbreak and more recently in Bangladesh, where MSF provides care to Rohingya refugees.
It was during the Q&A that Dr Reyes shared truly personal experiences, describing what life being on-call for MSF missions was like, how she broke it to her mother that she wanted to join the organisation and what she does when she’s not out in the field.
Students play the interactive game Make a Choice Today, which was developed by MSF (Source: LKCMedSoc Facebook)
MSF was a fitting opening act for this new lecture series with the number of regional overseas community involvement projects undertaken by LKCMedicine students growing steadily.
Cheok Hon said, “We felt that a talk by MSF would cater to the passions and interests of our students. It also highlighted new options for our students to consider in the future.”
These talks are not intended to be run-of-the-mill career talks. Instead the team hopes to showcase some of the less well known medical fields, such as medical humanitarian work, public health, and even health economics, and invited speakers to talk about their work in the context of medical current affairs, and share life lessons gleaned from their experiences.
As well as bringing together the wider medical student community, the event was also a great opportunity for LKCMedicine students across the five years to bond and catch up, before the Year 5 students knuckle down for their MBBS finals in January, something that was close to the organisers’ heart.
Richard said, “We really wanted to create something that speaks to everyone at LKCMedicine and to offer the student body another opportunity to come together and catch up, especially for our seniors in Year 5, and we’re delighted that so many of them made time to join us.”