Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean officially opens the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine today at the new Clinical Sciences Building in Novena
Singapore’s newest medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), a partnership between Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Imperial College London, is now fully operational, with a dual campus and students enrolled in all five years of its medical course.
Designed to meet Singapore’s future healthcare needs, the School is based on a dual campus, with students benefitting both from resources and experts at NTU’s main campus and at its Novena campus, located in the heart of Health City Novena.
The academic centre of the developing Health City Novena, NTU’s 20-storey Clinical Sciences Building seamlessly links LKCMedicine to one of Asia’s foremost teaching hospitals, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, as well as a number of specialist centres and community care services.
Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security today officially opened the medical school at a ceremony held at the new Clinical Sciences Building.
Admitting its first batch of students in 2013, LKCMedicine’s innovative MBBS programme is now fully operational with students enrolled in all five years of undergraduate study. The School’s undergraduate medical course has recently completed Imperial’s quality assurance process, receiving the full endorsement and commendation of its external review panel.
Instilling new DNA in medical education in Singapore and beyond
In combining NTU’s expertise in engineering and education with both Imperial’s world-renowned medical expertise and the clinical teaching excellence of the School’s primary clinical partner, the National Healthcare Group (NHG), LKCMedicine has created a future-oriented curriculum that focuses on training doctors to meet Singapore’s healthcare challenges.
LKCMedicine Governing Board Chairman Mr Lim Chuan Poh said, “The founding members of LKCMedicine took a bold step in infusing new DNA into medical education in Singapore and this has provided flexibility and choice for Singaporeans.
“In setting up the medical school, the three major stakeholders – NTU Singapore, Imperial and NHG – have all fulfilled a long-held ambition. For Imperial, it was the right opportunity to prove its impact globally; for NTU, it was to start a medical school; while for NHG, it was to have an academic presence on campus. LKCMedicine fulfilled all those and more.”
While the LKCMedicine MBBS programme is based on Imperial’s medical curriculum, the partners have all worked closely together to adapt the course to suit Singapore’s healthcare and population needs. The result is a bespoke programme that provides another pathway for capable and committed young Singaporeans to study medicine in Singapore.
NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson, who was instrumental in the setting up of LKCMedicine, said, “The trademark of any successful joint programme is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; and today, we have a unique medical school that we can be truly proud of. By combining our strengths, NTU and Imperial have created an innovative and modern curriculum, delivered in state-of-the-art facilities on NTU’s main campus and the Novena campus.”
Imperial President Professor Alice Gast said, “Singapore, Imperial College and the world are benefitting from the creation of LKCMedicine. Partnerships between great universities like Imperial and NTU reap benefits for everyone. We attract brilliant students and outstanding staff and we are advancing medical education. Imperial’s history and expertise in medicine guided the development of the LKCMedicine curriculum. This involvement has helped Imperial’s academics to rethink our own approach to medical education.”
Mr Mark Field, Minister of State, Asia and the Pacific, of the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said, “The UK government believes that by promoting science, innovation and life-long learning we will also promote economic growth and future prosperity. The Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine in Singapore, a partnership between Nanyang Technological University and Imperial College in London, is making a vital contribution to humanity through advancing scientific and medical knowledge.”
Nurturing doctors ‘with a heart’
In designing the LKCMedicine curriculum, NTU implemented active learning methods and focused on building patient encounters into the course from the outset to ensure that its graduates are confident and competent, and provide exemplary patient-centred care.
At the Centre for Clinical Simulation, at the Novena campus, students learn in an immersive life-like environment with a four-bed Simulated Ward and 21 consultation rooms that make up the Communication Suite where trained actors challenge LKCMedicine students in various doctor-patient scenarios, giving students realistic training in what it means to put patients first. The 14-bench Practical Skills Lab completes the Centre.
Fourth year student Rebekah Lee said, “The Centre for Clinical Simulation is specially and thoughtfully designed. Equipped with simulation wards and clinics, which mirror what the wards and clinics are like in real life, I get to interact with simulated patients in a realistic environment. This allows me to hone my clinical communication and skills, giving me the confidence to approach such situations in future.”
At the School’s Anatomy Learning Centre, students delve deep into the human body through hi-tech virtual dissection, plastinated full-body human specimens and body parts, clinical imaging technologies, and histology slides.
Second year student P S Pandiyan said, “The Anatomy Learning Centre contains many alcoves where small groups of students can view an anatomy specimen or histological slide and learn about radiological techniques. This spacious environment means less squeezing around specimens to get a good view of the intricacies.”
When the School first opened, it was the first in Singapore to introduce ultrasound to teach “live” anatomy and physiology. In Year 4, students revisit ultrasound for patient care during their Emergency Medicine posting.
Kiang Wen Wei, final year medical student, said, “As LKCMedicine students, we have systematically learnt this very simple and useful, but often little taught, bedside imaging modality. It is my hope that as we graduate and join the medical workforce, we will carry these invaluable experiences to better manage our patients.”
To meet Singapore’s healthcare needs, the programme also emphasises family medicine, geriatrics and chronic disease management in different healthcare settings to ensure that graduates have a strong foundation in medicine for all stages of life.
Dual campus offers bespoke learning facilities
With bespoke learning facilities at both the Experimental Medicine Building on NTU’s main campus and the Clinical Sciences Building in Novena, the School’s faculty and students benefit from the wider resources and connections with their peers from other disciplines at both locations.
Staying in NTU’s halls of residences on the main campus, LKCMedicine students are anchored in the larger university community.
Second year student and Nanyang Scholar Jonathan Loke, a resident of Crescent Hall, said, “When you stay in hall, you are open to a whole host of activities outside of LKCMedicine. In Years 1 and 2, there is quite a bit of free time, and many of us take this opportunity to develop ourselves in ways outside the medical curriculum. For me, I play some music in the afternoons and have a game of tennis or badminton in the evenings.”
In addition, being integrated with many different types of care providers at the Novena campus exposes LKCMedicine students from the outset to the wider care spectrum – from outpatient hospital clinics to inpatient, nursing home and hospice care.
Fellow second year student Nadia Nasuha binte Mohammad Nazri said, “As a medical student, I feel privileged to study here. Being surrounded by the different healthcare facilities in Novena is a constant reminder that I am part of something bigger than myself. This is further reinforced when I hear the occasional ambulance siren, reminding me of my purpose here. I am inspired by the quality care that is being delivered and this motivates me to study harder for the benefit of my future patients.”
Top faculty spearheading research
Since NTU outlined the School’s research strategy in 2014 focussing on Metabolic Disease, Infection & Immunity, Neuroscience & Mental Health, and Dermatology & Skin Biology, it has attracted a growing number of world-renowned scientists as well as talented young principal investigators.
Among the distinguished faculty are Nobel laureate and Nanyang Visiting Professor Barry Marshall, well known for discovering the stomach cancer-causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori. Another is Professor of Cardiovascular Epidemiology John Chambers who earlier this year received the National Medical Research Council’s (NMRC) most prestigious award – the Singapore Translational Research (STaR) Investigator Award. Prof Chambers is working with Tan Tock Seng Hospital clinicians to determine whether DNA methylation, an internal switch that turns genes on and off, and other molecular biomarkers can be used to better identify and treat people at high risk of developing diabetes.
Collectively, the research faculty has secured a number of prestigious national research awards, garnering more than $50 million in competitive grants since 2014.
LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best said, “We have attracted renowned and highly experienced faculty members, as well as talented young principal investigators who relish the challenges and opportunities offered by a new medical school. Our interdisciplinary approach is bearing fruit in areas that include diabetes, mental health and infectious diseases as we deliver impactful research in clinical, population and global settings.”
News source: NTU News Feed