Message from Our Staff: Showcasing the art and science of Medicine


By Siti Rohanah Koid, Director, Communications and Outreach


The practice of medicine is an Art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head



This famous quote by Canadian physician Sir William Osler is often cited at LKCMedicine, by our deans, our faculty and students, often in speeches, and even has pride of place in our corporate video, not just as a mark of respect to the man who is said to have laid the foundations of clinical medical education, but an acknowledgment of the softer skills needed for the effective treatment of patients.

It is central to what we do here at LKCMedicine, in research, education and organisational management.

It is no surprise then that this became the guiding principle and title of one of the biggest events LKCMedicine organised this year to reach out to our most important target audience, the public.

The inaugural LKCMedicine Art and Science of Medicine Festival (ASMF) held on 18 March at Toa Payoh HDB Hub Atrium, was long planned for but only came to be this year, due to COVID and the challenges that came with it.

As soon as the authorities announced the easing of COVID restrictions, hope sprang eternal for what we hope would be a strong public display of our work, our ethos and our ambitions.

As Chairperson of the ASMF organising committee, I was raring to go, and a date was set. Things moved quickly only in December last year when approvals were obtained, for budgets, venue and overall approach and programme.

Then more good news followed, when Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen replied positively to our invite for him to be the festival Guest-of-Honour, as Adviser to Bishan-Toa Payoh Grassroots Organisations. One after another our faculty, staff and student bodies responded with a firm Yes! to being involved in this concerted effort to showcase the wonderful work we do in medical education and research towards Healthy Ageing, the festival theme.

Now, what do we mean by the Art and Science of Medicine?

While Sir William’s quote seeks to explain this, the association of art with medicine is a nuanced and subtle one. In a recent interview, our Dean Professor Joseph Sung said, “Medicine is both an art and a science; the art of human interaction and the science of applying knowledge and skill for the better treatment of our patients.”

But the question remains: How to showcase the art of medicine at the festival?

In one of our meetings, Prof Sung suggested that we include an Art in Medicine exhibition, by our own community. And my mind raced back to past occasions where I’ve seen art illustrated by our faculty and student bodies in the classrooms, labs and campus walls. Beyond that, we could explore featuring art in the form of poetry and sounds. This was what we eventually did! Getting clinicians from Tan Tock Seng Hospital to contribute their works of art was an unexpected bonus.

Over the next few weeks, the various parts to the festival started to come together and it was a joy to see the progress of how it all came to fruition. Yes, there were a thousand and one things to do, with the physical event set-up alone taking more than two days. But on D-Day, the show opened with a bang, a rousing piano performance by our student Loh Pei Yi. The Toa Payoh residents were a pleasure to serve. Each booth was crowded, each talk, each workshop, each performance saw a rapt audience. Everyone working for the festival were passionate in talking about our work – from the students, staff, alumni and faculty, to our deans and partners. Minister Ng was a delight to host, being a doctor himself, and a leader instrumental in the set-up of the School in 2010 when he was then Minister for Education.

By the end of the day, after engaging some 5,000 residents, everyone was tired but chuffed – heartened by the welcoming public as we are of the interest piqued, on what lies ahead in medicine and healthcare and the enormous potential for better health.

For me, it’s been an honour and privilege. I’m thankful not just for the opportunity to lead the project, but to see how the LKCMedicine community is able to come together as ONE to showcase the art and science of medicine by LKCMedicine. Sincerest thanks to everyone involved – especially the tireless Deputy Chair Max Cheung, Events maestro Mariam Rahman, Dean Prof Sung, COO Dr Serene Ng, my Comms Team, Darren Lim, Ken Wong and Kelvin Foo from Education, Research and Corporate Services respectively, medical students James Wong, Hafez Zanjani and Ernest Ong, our obliging faculty and alumni, and the rest of the organising committee. They made immovable parts fly, and made the sceptics believe. It was a big ask and everyone delivered. For the support we receive from all, a very big THANK YOU!