Issue 33 / February 2020


How Long Have I Got?

Like many aspects of medicine, prognostication in palliative care is both a science and an art. Dr Noreen Chan, Head & Senior Consultant in the Division of Palliative Care at the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore and Assistant Professor at the Department of Medicine, says that it is crucial to work out what and how to tell patients in their prognoses sensitively.


Dear Reader,

As we begin a new year, I would like to highlight some of our recent accomplishments.

This past July we graduated 302 new doctors and 158 new nurses. With 216 receiving support through bursaries and scholarships, many of these new healthcare professionals would not have been able to complete their medical studies without help from the School’s generous supporters. It is very heartening to note that 22 of the 68 bursaries at the School were established by our alumni.

Our graduates benefited from a curriculum that goes well beyond traditional teaching methods. As an example, using the Virtual Interactive Simulation Environment, they “became” members of an emergency medical response team, learning how to triage casualties and perform respiratory, circulatory and physical disability assessments. As part of a community service elective, they took part in community initiatives under the School’s GoHelp programme, such as the Public Health Service, which provides health screenings to thousands of HDB households. It is important to us that as doctors of the future, they are motivated to actively give back to the community even as students.



Medical Grand Challenge 2019


Organised by NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine’s Centre for Medical Education, the Medical Grand Challenge started in 2017 to nurture creativity while encouraging NUS Medicine undergraduates to cultivate an inquiring and entrepreneurial mind. At the same time, the multi-disciplinary nature of the competition draws students from different faculties and fosters collaborative teamwork.

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NUS Medicine Educators' Day


September is the month when we celebrate teachers and the critical role that they play in training and nurturing our students. The inaugural NUS Medicine Educators’ Day served as a platform for educators to share their ideas and best practices to enhance medical teaching, as we brought them together on the morning of 14 September 2019 to express our appreciation for them.

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Reaching the Underserved: an NHS story


The annual health screenings by the Neighbourhood Health Service (NHS) took place at Kampong Glam Community Centre on 7 and 8 September 2019, and in Queenstown Leng Kee Community Centre on 5 and 6 October 2019. A total of 825 residents completed their screenings: 484 residents in Kampong Glam and 341 residents in Leng Kee.


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Advocating Health in the Community


The Public Health Service (PHS) is a student-initiated project established in 2004 under the NUS Medical Society by a small committee of medical students who had the passion to serve. Since then, PHS has developed, constantly adapting to the local healthcare landscape and the needs of the community, heeding its motto, “Promoting Health, Spreading Awareness”.


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Ah Leng's Canteen


Counsellor, banker, provider of food and drink — Wong Ngiap Leng operated Ah Leng’s canteen on the University’s former campus. He is remembered fondly by several generations of students for the kindness he showed to many of them who could not pay for their meals. Mr Wong reminisced about the time when he operated the canteen for seven days a week, from 1947 to 1983.


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Xin Chào! Operation CPR


Started in 2017, Operation CPR is one of the first overseas community-based basic cardiac life support initiatives that targets public health. Led by Dr Li Zi Sheng and Dr Jonathan Tang from the National University Hospital, this year’s exercise was organised by a team of students from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and the Vietnam Military Medical University (VMMU).


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The NUCOT Diaspora in Myanmar


Dr Tan Yi Quan and A/Prof Tiong Ho Yee from the Department of Urology trace how the National University Centre for Organ Transplantation (NUCOT) started its efforts to lead medical education. They also outline the ways in which the faculty lend their expertise to emerging countries and created the NUCOT Diaspora in Myanmar.


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A Cure for Hormone-related Hypertension


Hypertension is a serious and underestimated silent killer in Singapore and around the world. Now, a novel imaging technique can identify the source of the hormonal excess in patients with primary aldosteronism, and possibly, completely cure hypertension in some patients.


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HEBP1 A Potential Early Marker of Alzheimer's Disease


A protein in the body helps excessive amounts of free heme to kill neurons in early- stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and may be a promising early marker of AD.


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Disruptive Behaviour: Why We Should Nip It in the Bud


The inevitable “disruption” in healthcare may be viewed with optimism, given the hope that technological advances can help drive improvement in patient outcomes. However, “disruptive behaviour” in healthcare may equally be perceived to be inevitable and it may pose a risk to patient care and safety.


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Dr. Henry Lee: Inside the Mind of a Forensic Scientist


MediCine sat down with Dr Henry Lee – one of the world’s foremost forensic scientists – to find out more about his friendship with the late forensic pathologist Professor Chao Tzee Cheng as he looked back at his career, his critics and gave his take on the latest developments and synergy in science and pathology.


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What Is Precision Medicine?


While the term “Precision Medicine” is of fairly recent origin, the desire to provide accurate and unerring care for patients is a fundamental principle in the practice of medicine. In this new series, Dr Khor Ing Wei explains how precision medicine is using additional pieces of information such as genetic data to open an exciting new window of possibilities.


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Are You The Cure?


Besides equipping students with sound clinical skills, a key focus of NUS Medicine is to nurture caring and compassionate healthcare professionals. Read on for the stories contributed by students and staff as they reflected on the values in healthcare as part of an essay competition, “Are You the Cure?”.


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Excerpts from Being Human: Stories from Family Medicine


Health promotion and prevention are part and parcel of a family doctor’s daily work. In this issue, we share more stories from Being Human: Stories from Family Medicine, published by Adjunct Associate Professor Cheong Pak Yean and Dr Ong Chooi Peng.


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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants


The NUS Medical Society held its Annual General Meeting on 11 September 2019, where the 71st Executive Committee was officially sworn into office. Incoming President, Tseng Fan Shuen shares the address he had given at the event.


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How Doctors Are Teachers Too


Humbled, grateful and pleasantly surprised – this was how Phase III student Clarissa Cheong felt when she not only earned an opportunity to present her research on mentoring in Medicine at the annual Association for Medical Education in Europe Conference, but also took home a prestigious Medical Teacher Poster Prize. Follow her journey and find out what her main takeaways were from this experience.


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“Listening to Letter from America”: A Book on Old Age and Loneliness


Inspired by the BBC programme, Letter from America by journalist Alistair Cooke, Professor Kua Ee Heok embarked on a journey to pen down the experiences of elderly Singaporeans who survived World War II and shed light on how they viewed their place in society post-war.


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Diving to New Depths


Despite being unable to swim, Assistant Laboratory Manager Lee Chi Kuen from the Department of Pathology boldly attempted underwater hockey 13 years ago and eventually made the women’s team that won all the golds on offer at the recent SEA Games in December 2019. 


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The Secret to Longer Life – Walking


Prof Lee I-Min is a woman on a mission. As Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Prof Lee conducts research on the role of physical activity in enhancing longevity.


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A Gift for the Next Generation


As a gift to future doctors, NUS Medicine alumnus and donor Dr Lim Hong Shen established the Lim Lian Hock Medical Bursary, named in honour of his father. Dr Lim, who juggles different roles as a general practitioner, educator and health information specialist, reflects on what giving means to him and why he readily does so for the School.


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Date Event & Venue
Nov 18 Simulation Faculty Development Workshop
Centre for Healthcare Simulation, MD6, NUS
Nov 23 Wong Hock Boon Society Research Day 2019
Level 1 Auditorium, Clinical Research Centre, MD11, NUS
Nov 25
NUS Neuroscience and Technology Symposium
Level 1 Auditorium, Clinical Research Centre, MD11, NUS
Jan 6, 2020
NUS ncRNA Symposium 2020
Jan 8-12, 2020
17th Asia Pacific Medical Education Conference (APMEC)
Resorts World Convention Centre, RWS