NTU unveils new book to mark 5th anniversary of Singapore’s newest medical school
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) celebrates the fifth anniversary of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) with a commemorative book that tells the story of the school’s making.
“Making of a Medical School: Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine” details the early developments of Singapore’s newest medical school – a historic partnership between NTU and Imperial College London. The 184-page book contains reflections from current and former key people involved in the landmark project that represents a major development in the story medical training and healthcare in Singapore.
Among the prominent people interviewed for the book were former Education Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen, NTU Board Trustee Mr Lim Chuan Poh, NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson, former NTU President Professor Su Guaning, and former President and Rector of Imperial College Professor Sir Keith O’Nions.
Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health also contributed forewords to the book.
The book will be unveiled by Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of the LKCMedicine Governing Board and Chairman of A*STAR, at a special celebratory dinner this evening at NTU’s Experimental Medicine Building, home of LKCMedicine’s second campus.
Labour of love comes to fruition
Developing the medical school is a labour of love for NTU President, Professor Bertil Andersson who has been deeply committed to the School since its inception. He said, “Our medical school is a rare union of two top global universities. Imperial is one of the world’s top 10 universities, while NTU is a young university that is ranked 13th globally. By combining the strengths of both NTU and Imperial, we have created an innovative and forward-looking modern curriculum and an interdisciplinary learning environment that grooms future doctors who are well-grounded in science, patient-centric in approach and multidisciplinary in practice.
“This book traces the remarkable journey of the School’s rapid growth and it is a heartening tribute to the people who helped shape the School as we know it today,” he added.
A memorandum agreement was signed on 7 July 2010 between NTU and Imperial College, just 14 months after the first meeting between then-Education Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen and then-Imperial Rector Professor Sir Roy Anderson. On 29 October 2010, a collaboration agreement was publicly signed by NTU and Imperial, marking the founding of the School.
Coincidentally, it also took 14 months for NTU to seal the Lee Foundation's historic gift of $150 million for the School, which remains the single largest philanthropic gift to any institution in Singapore. With government matching, the total gift amounted to $400 million, with half of the sum going directly to needy students. In recognition of the gift, the medical school was named the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, after Tan Sri Dato Lee Kong Chian who established the Lee Foundation in 1952.
The School’s Dean, Professor James Best, said, “The School's ethos of educating doctors who will advance the science and practice of medicine for the good of humanity is fittingly reflected in our name as the late Tan Sri Dato Lee Kong Chian was a great philanthropist and humanitarian.”
Innovative medical curriculum merging the best of East and West
The book also reveals how the School’s leadership decided to start with a fresh curriculum, as the general consensus was that a lift-and-shift of Imperial’s curriculum would not have been the correct approach. To meet the healthcare needs of Singaporeans, NTU adopted the best practices from Imperial and created a new customised curriculum for Singapore. Many aspects discussed in the early planning stages have become hallmarks of the new medical school’s curriculum and pedagogy, including the intensive use of e-learning, simulation technology, and a student-centred pedagogy.
These innovative aspects of teaching and learning have since filtered to the parent universities.
At NTU, team-based learning has been implemented for NTU’s premier Renaissance Engineering Programme and is being rolled out to others. NTU targets to convert at least 150 undergraduate courses to use the new flipped classroom pedagogy in this academic year, with a third of them already completed. Imperial too is looking at piloting team-based learning.
In team-based learning, groups of five to seven NTU undergraduates, having already accessed course content on their iPads, tackle quiz questions individually and later, as a team, in a smart classroom fitted with cluster seating and multiple LCD screens. Before each unit or module of the course, students prepare by reading or watching online materials prior to class. Students benefit as they learn to work together and make better use of class time discussing ideas with their peers and professor.
The medical school’s innovative curriculum has enabled it to successfully attract many top students. Its pioneer intake of 54 students in the Academic Year 2013 has since grown to 222 students, including 90 new students this year -- the largest intake to date. Like the first two cohorts, the third batch is made up of students who scored three As or more at the GCE A Levels or had near perfect scores in the International Baccalaureate. They also had excellent scores in their BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) and stood out at the School’s Multiple Mini Interviews. The school’s inaugural cohort will be graduating in 2018.
Strategically poised for research breakthroughs
Concurrent with the development of its medical education, the School has also embarked on fresh initiatives to engage in world-class translational research that would benefit Singapore’s population and beyond.
Professor Best said, "Of course, the very best medical schools in the world are not just excellent institutions of medical education, but they combine this with superb research that advances our understanding of human health and disease. That is why from the very outset, we’ve developed a strong research strategy, which focuses on the most pressing healthcare needs of Singapore’s population."
Drawing on NTU’s and Imperial’s excellent track record of reaping synergies between medicine, science and technology, LKCMedicine is focusing on four themes – Metabolic Disorders including Diabetes, Infection and Immunity, Neuroscience and Mental Health as well as Dermatology and Skin Biology. These research areas are closely linked with Singapore’s challenges in caring for its ageing population and will enable the nation to address the future healthcare needs of Singaporeans.
Come January 2016, the School will welcome its first intake of PhD students who are expected to break new ground in research, leading to potential advances in medical treatments and technologies. The students will hail from diverse backgrounds, such as the natural and clinical sciences, engineering and mathematics. The students will be given training to address the healthcare challenges facing Singapore, as well as in Population and Global Health methodologies.
Copies of the hardcover book will be available at the National Library and NTU’s libraries.
Feisal Abdul Rahman
Senior Assistant Director (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: (65) 6790 6687
About Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
A research-intensive public university, NTU has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).
A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.
NTU’s main campus at Yunnan Garden has been named one of Top 15 Most Beautiful in the World. It also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg.
About Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine
The Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, a partnership between Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Imperial College London, will train a generation of doctors who will put patients at the centre of their exemplary medical care. Graduates of the five-year undergraduate medical degree programme, which matriculated its inaugural cohort in 2013, will have a strong understanding of the scientific basis of medicine, along with interdisciplinary subjects including business management, humanities and technology.
The School’s primary clinical partner is the National Healthcare Group, a leader in public healthcare recognised for the quality of its medical expertise, facilities and teaching. The School, named after local philanthropist Tan Sri Dato Lee Kong Chian, aims to be a future model for innovative medical education. Its first doctors will graduate in 2018 with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), awarded jointly by NTU and Imperial College London, and become doctors who will enhance Singapore’s healthcare in the decades to come.
For more information, visit www.lkcmedicine.ntu.edu.sg.