It was the medical team and his father’s doctor who inspired him to take up medicine.
When his father was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, an incurable eye disease, his family went through a dark time. However, his father’s ophthalmologist helped the family through this.
“Talking to his doctors and seeing how they were able to help patients, I was inspired to help people,” said Clement, the soft spoken recent gradate.
Clement, who has an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science from the National University of Singapore (NUS), is grateful for the chance to study at Duke-NUS. He found it a safe environment for learning and growing as a person. “I also like that it’s small because it feels like... family”.
He is thankful for the financial aid from the school, which allowed him to pursue his dream of becoming a clinician, without worrying about tuition fees. “Without it, my journey in Duke-NUS wouldn’t have been possible,” he said.
Tackling mental health
He got the idea for the mental health project after noticing that close friends were silently suffering from depression. He realised that there might be others in the same situation.
“I found out that my cousin was working on creating awareness of mental health in the Institute of Mental Health’s community outreach department. That got me started on I'm STEADY lah.
He hopes mental health becomes a topic that people can freely discuss. “I believe it’s just as important as physical health. By breaking down the stigma associated with mental illness, I hope people no longer need to suffer in silence and can get the support they need.”
Walking the talk
Clement is also passionate about community service and believes that “it’s essential in a physician’s training and should complement the medical curriculum.”
He walks the talk. In his first year, he took part in various school projects, such as the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) health screening, Paediatrics Brain Tumour Awareness and Camp Rafiki, a camp for youth whose families are affected by cancer.
In his second year, he led teams in organising the first I'm STEADY lah project, and a revamped Paediatric Brain and Solid Tumour Awareness event.
In his third year, he became Vice-President for Community Service of the 11th Student Council, which oversees and empowers students to start projects with a cause they are passionate about.
Deciding on a specialty
In his second year, he also explored different specialties in the hospital. Currently, his passion leans towards anaesthesiology. “The concepts in anaesthesiology and the balance between medicine and surgical procedures appeal to me.”
In his final year, Clement took on the various anaesthesiology elective programmes. “I wanted to gain a better understanding of the specialty and experience the breadth of the cases possible,” he said.
Now more than ever, a clinician with leadership and community service project experience will be key as the healthcare system serves Singaporean population.