ADMISSIONS BLOG

Admissions Blog

We speak to a group of MD students to learn more about a health screen they conducted last year.

By: Jonathan Caleb Quek, Bhavya Allena, Patrisha C. Lazatin and Aditya Subramaniam

screening migrant workers duke-nus

Screening migrant workers

Tell us more about the health screen your college is involved in.

Mediserve is a health screen for migrant workers held on 13 May 2017 in Tai Seng Community Centre. We, then first year medical students from Benjamin Sheares College, organised the screen in partnership with HealthServe and Paya Lebar Methodist Church. Our seniors guided us in the planning process and oversaw the consultations that we had with the patients.

Apart from the help from our college masters, Prof Paul Michael Yen and Dr Yong Wei Sean, we were also fortunate enough to work with the HealthServe team and two volunteer doctors from Paya Lebar Methodist Church, Dr Yvonne Loh, a regular volunteer doctor at the HealthServe Geylang clinic, and Dr Tang Choon Leong - who incidentally used to be a Benjamin Sheares College master.

Why serve migrant workers?

The most important question

Why do you want to be a doctor? Think about that question really hard because it’s going to come up for the rest of your life. It’s going to be on your application essays to medical school, on your interviews, on your dinner table with your parents; it’s going to be a question that you’re asked for the rest of your life from the moment you decide to enter medical school or even do an undergraduate pre-medical degree, as I did.

There is no one answer to this question and through the years, my answer changed drastically. I knew from the age of seven that I wanted to be a doctor and most of my life has been shaped by that decision. But it wasn’t until university that I finally figured out the true reason why I wanted to be a doctor.

Project Dove, the Duke-NUS Overseas Volunteering Expedition, organized annually by Duke-NUS medical students, aims to improve health efforts in the surrounding regions. Last month, our team of students and faculty conducted a 3-day mobile clinic and health education program for the underserved in the town of Lembang, located in the province of West Bandung, Indonesia. With the help of local translators, they provided health screening and treated common medical problems to the townsfolk, and educated children and teachers at an orphanage on personal hygiene and basic first aid skills. Here are some pictures from our trip:

Duke-NUS Overseas Volunteering Expedition

Angela (Class of 2017) and Lianghe (Class of 2019) listen attentively to a patient's issues

 

Checking the Patient

Xueling (Class of 2017) listening to a patient's lungs and heart

 

Tell us about your path to Duke-NUS.

Before coming to Duke-NUS, I did my undergraduate studies in NUS and majored in Pharmacy. During my third year of studies, I did a 6-week hospital attachment and that experience shifted my sights to a possible medical career. After I graduated, I trained as a pre-registration pharmacist in National University Hospital (NUH) for 9 months and subsequently took some time off to develop my sporting interests before starting in Duke-NUS.

White Coat Ceremony Day

White coat ceremony day with my parents

What are some of your interests and hobbies?

I love playing sports. It’s all fun, friends and exercise wrapped into one. Most of the time, I play touch rugby and last year, I went to the Touch World Cup 2015 that was held in Australia. It was an awe-inspiring and humbling experience to play against the best teams in the world. Being active helps keep me balanced and sane so I still play in leagues games on Saturdays whenever I can.

Would you share a great experience or opportunity you’ve had at Duke-NUS?

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

– Franklin D. Roosevelt

In March 2015, while I was conducting my research studies at Duke University (Durham, NC), I joined a team of Duke students and faculty leaders to travel 3,000 miles southwest of Durham to the small town of Las Mercedes, Honduras.

The mission of the trip was to improve access to healthcare in rural areas of Honduras.

The team adjusted to the elevation of the mountain town that sits 5,000 feet above sea level.

At the travel clinic, we were getting comfortable speaking Spanish, and were able to develop a connection with our patients.

We conducted home visits to develop better cross-cultural understanding.

Is it possible for a medical student to balance medical school with extra-curricular work and activities? To answer that, allow me to share an experience of mine.

A bird's eye view of the NUS High School of Mathematics and Science

I have been serving as a boarding counsellor in the NUS High School of Mathematics and Science since 2011 in its boarding school. Back then, I was a final year NUS undergraduate. I had decided to apply for the position as I found the opportunity to make a positive difference as well as free accommodation an attractive win-win option. As a boarding counsellor, my responsibilities include mentoring a cluster of 18 mostly international teenage students and facilitating and organizing various boarding school events.

A picture with some of my students during a laser tag fun outing

Wearing our favorite swimwear to the beach. Putting on a singlet for a jog at the Botanic Gardens. Dressing up in summer wear for a walk down the shopping alley. While most of us can do these things without much thought, many psoriasis patients are unable to do these easily. With rashes of salmon pink and silvery flakes occurring on prominent parts of their body, public attention is drawn easily to patients with psoriasis. Patients often face social ostracism as many people believe that psoriasis is infectious and heritable. Public awareness of the condition can greatly help improve these patients’ lives

world psoriasis day

A few of us who participated in World Psoriasis Day

18th October 2014 was the day that World Psoriasis Day was cerebrated in Singapore.   The DermSIG medical students from Duke NUS Graduate Medical School and NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine joined other healthcare professionals and patients to better understand the perspectives of the public on the condition.

Eczema is a chronic itchy skin condition. In most circumstances, it is not fatal and does not result in significant physical morbidity. This has often led the condition to be branded as “benign” by both the medical community as well as the general public. But in reality, it has been shown to have great negative impact on the quality of life of patients, especially when it’s inadequately controlled.

The appearance of lesions as red, oozy and angry makes patients appear to have an infectious condition. This leads to social isolation, teasing and bullying by peers and acquaintances, which may inhibit their activity, play, and social interactions that are fundamental to their development.

To allow patients a chance to better understand their condition, support groups for the condition have been formed by the KKH Dermatology Service and National Skin Centre. The support group conducts biannual Eczema camps. In November 2014, students from the Duke-NUS Dermatology Interest Group joined tertiary students from SMU, NUS Yong Loo Lin and La Salle College of the Arts to organize and help out at the event, held at two locations in Singapore.

KKHEczema1

Project KAREn collage


More Pics can be found on the Duke-NUS Education flickr page here

Once again, another group of enthusiastic students continue the tradition of Project KAREn by embarking on their journey to Huay Khao Lip, a Karen Hill Tribe village near Chiang Mai in northern Thailiand. Conceived by a group of devoted Duke-NUS seniors in 2010, the objectives of Project Karen are to give much needed help to this village and improve students' clinical skills by training as volunteer doctors.

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