The first doctors from LKCMedicine were hailed by UK and Singaporean leaders at a celebratory event for the graduands on Sunday in Singapore.
During a dinner for the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine ’s inaugural cohort, their families and government and academic leaders, Singapore’s Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, the United Kingdom’s High Commissioner to Singapore Scott Wightman, and Imperial’s Chair of Council Sir Philip Dilly joined senior academics and alumni in praising the students who graduate this Tuesday.
LKCMedicine was created by Imperial in partnership with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Its first students joined the school in August 2013, following its formation in 2010. They helped pioneer new pedagogical approaches to medicine, while completing an exceptionally care-focused curriculum, utilising team-based learning and new technologies.
Addressing the graduands, Lim Chuan Poh, Chair of LKCMedicine’s Governing Board, said: “As our pioneer cohort, you have already made a name for yourselves as trailblazers. Now, you become our ambassadors in the heathcare system and the face of the School with the patients and the wider community. You therefore continue to be our partner in shaping LKCMedicine and contribute to our mission and vision. As medical doctors now, the first chapter in your medical journey has come to a close. The next chapter has just begun.”
’Spirit, enthusiasm and academic excellence’
Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice Provost (Education) at Imperial College London, said that Imperial is “thrilled and proud to have done this together with NTU.”
Professor Buitendijk, who helped review the joint MBBS programme, emphasised how impressed she was with the quality and "sense of humanity" of the students and their education, especially the focus on “innovation, new pedagogical approaches and team-based learning”.
“For Imperial, this has been quite an adventure," contributing to rapid reforms of the College’s own medical curriculum. Professor Buitendijk spoke of her excitement at further collaboration around the Transform MedEd conference , to be run by Imperial and LKCMedicine in Singapore in November, exploring how to transform policy, people and practice in medical education.
Professor Buitendijk said: “I will leave Singapore inspired by the spirit, enthusiasm and academic excellence of our first graduates. At Imperial we strive to deliver innovative teaching, and the revolutionary approach to medical education at LKCMedicine is testament to that ambition. Singapore and the wider world are very fortunate to have such talented individuals enter the workforce.”
Martin Lupton, Head of Undergraduate Medicine at Imperial College London, said: "These students have impressed us at every stage of their medical education. They have adapted to new technologies, new pedagogical methods and the care needs of the 21st century. It was a pleasure to host some of these first graduates in London as they collaborated with Imperial students on lung function and breathlessness tests, anatomy and HIV radiology sessions. We will be cheering them on as they begin their medical careers."
At the event, Sir Philip Dilley, Chair of Council at Imperial, joined fellow Council member Jayson Goh (Electrical and Electronic Engineering 1998), President of the Imperial College Alumni Association of Singapore, in welcoming the 52 graduates to Imperial’s alumni community. Singapore is now home to 2,750 Imperial alumni: more than any city outside of London.
Sir Philip said: “We are very proud of these newest members of our alumni community. Their academic brilliance is strengthened by their courage, compassion and confidence. As they leave formal education, we are excited by what they are yet to achieve.”
The students attain the rare status of alumni of both Imperial and NTU. NTU President Subra Suresh said: “As the first born, you shoulder a responsibility - that of being the pioneer alumni who will play a key role in being mentors to future generations of LKCMedicine alumni and students. Your experience and lessons learnt - be it during your time in medical school or as young house officers and future residents - will be a precious resource upon which your juniors will come to rely on, and I hope that you will all willingly share. You have the power to chart this path.”
LKCMedicine’s alumni community will be led by Dr Leon Tan, who is already planning a series of alumni events and opportunities to mentor junior peers. Dr Tan entertained his fellow graduands and guests with a video and inspirational song, ‘Stepping Out, that he composed for the occasion.
New doctors, new ambition
One graduand, Dr Ang Jia Wei was especially pleased that her degree will be awarded by both NTU and Imperial, as her sister is also an Imperial alum in Engineering.
We can definitely change our patients’ lives, not just through medications, but by listening to them as people. Dr Gabriel Wong Inaugural LKCMedicine graduand - in Engineering.
Dr Ang said the elective in London “was a really great experience. I liked seeing a different healthcare system and thinking about the ways in which both countries can learn from each other.” LKCMedicine’s “innovative system of learning and teaching really appealed,” she added.
Dr Gabriel Wong, who was accompanied by his proud parents - both doctors themselves - said: “I gained a lot from LKCMedicine’s experiential training, but nothing prepares you for the real world. Some parts of the curriculum help a lot, especially with how you treat a patient,” an area where LKCMedicine’s focus goes beyond traditional medicine degrees. “It’s about when a patient comes in at 3am, and how you talk to them and their family.”
Writing on the same theme in the inaugural cohort’s special book, The Patient Comes First , Dr Wong said: “We may not be able to change the world as we had envisioned before we entered medical school, but we can definitely change our patients’ lives, not just through medications, but by listening to them as people.”
Dr Zachary Teo, spoke about how much he enjoyed his elective in London. “It was pretty fun,” he said. “I worked with Imperial friends, explored London and it was an all-round nice experience.”
Harking back to his decision to study at LKCMedicine five years ago, Dr Teo said “Being one of the pioneers was definitely a selling-point. The curriculum is very team-based, we used a lot of technology and the whole thing is very new.”
‘Newly minted professionals’
Professor James Best, Dean of LKCMedicine, said: “As the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine’s inaugural cohort, you have already made a name for yourselves as trailblazers. And I hope you will continue to forge new paths that will inspire your juniors at LKCMedicine to be champions for patient-centred care.
Professor Naomi Low-Beer, Vice-Dean for Education at LKCMedicine, said: “It gives me great pride to reflect on your transition from eager young students entering a brand new medical school to newly minted professionals as LKCMedicine’s first graduating class. You embraced the challenges of a new curriculum, shouldering its imperfections with good grace and giving us invaluable feedback that will benefit future generations. And your success is an early indication that the LKCMedicine approach can make a difference: you have distinguished yourselves not only as competent clinicians, but also as respectful, thoughtful team-players who put patients first.”
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