A new addition to the orchid family, the Vanda NUS Medicine, was unveiled at the annual Medical Dinner as a tribute to the tenacity and industry of everyone who helped shape the teaching and practice of medicine in Singapore. The dinner, themed “Celebrating our Heritage” was held on 3 July, marking the day the school was established in 1905. Attended by students, faculty and alumni from the NUS Yong Loo Lin Medical School (NUS Medicine) and the NUS Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies (NUS Nursing), it offered the NUS medical community a chance to build and rekindle bonds and also served as a welcome for the newest nursing and medicine graduates into the profession.
The orchid has a base yellow colour and tessellations that range from crimson red to orange, calling to mind the hoods of the academic gowns worn by graduates from NUS Medicine — red, and from NUS Nursing — yellow. It was chosen for its hardy and adaptable nature, which are some of the ideal characteristics of an NUS Medicine graduate.
Reminiscing on the years past, Dean of NUS Medicine Professor Chong Yap Seng said that the School has done well, but can always do better. He recounted the analogy which his predecessor Associate Professor Yeoh Khay Guan used for the School’s path forward — climbing Mount Everest. The view is different now, he opined. “You can see that we are now a lot closer to the summit, but the way up is choked with many other climbers; a reflection of the intensifying global competition. But we should not worry if we just remain focused on the things that are important and doing them to the best of our abilities. And we will do them together, one step at a time,” he said. Prof Chong also paid respect to Mr Tan Jiak Kim who initiated the fundraising efforts that led to the School’s founding in 1905.
Guest-of-Honour at the event, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung reminded the medical community of the need to earn and preserve public trust. He emphasised the importance of being competent, upholding the code of conduct, contributing back to society and above all, staying true to the ethos to serve. “We place the people we serve — be it patients, students or citizens — at the centre of all that we do. For medical professionals, this comes back to your pledge to make the health of the patient your first consideration and to respect the dignity of patients under your care. The day we waver from this, we will no longer be fit to serve,” he said. He urged the graduates to serve their patients with compassion and integrity and to go above and beyond clinical obligations.
Prominent alumni from NUS Medicine and NUS Nursing were honoured at the Dinner. The Alumni Awards included the Young Alumnus of the Year that recognised young alumni who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields or paths less taken; the Alumni Ambassador of the Year that highlighted alumnus or alumna who have greatly contributed to the School in time or talent; as well as the Alumnus of the Year that honoured an inspiring alumnus or alumna with national or global contributions and achievements.