Ms Rahayu Mahzam, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health
Prof Ng Wai Hoe, CEO, Changi General Hospital
Prof Alex Sia Tiong Heng, CEO, KK Women's and Children's Hospital
Dr Michael Wong, Group Director, Regional Health System, SingHealth
Dr Siddhartha Sanyal, Director of Operations, Tan Tock Seng Hospital
Ms Susan Tan, President, Society of Behavioural Health
Industry partners and guests
ITE Colleagues and Students
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is a momentous occasion for ITE. We are organising the inaugural Think Health Seminar Series and we are signing two MOUs with our esteemed partners.
Think Health Seminar: Participate-Prevent-Progress
Recently, I watched a Netflix series called, ‘Live to 100 – Secrets of the Blue Zones’. The series featured Okinawa (Japan), Loma Linda (California), Sardinia (Italy), Ikaria (Greece), Nicoya (Costa Rica) and surprisingly Singapore, too. Across these places a few common features contribute towards the residents having longer lives (not just long but active quality lives in later years):
- Physical outdoor activities feature in the residents’ daily lives. They need to walk a distance to do grocery shopping, to visit friends, walk up and down slopes, to nearest bus-stops/MRT stations. They do gardening, farming, dancing, play sports etc. Basically, they move a lot in their routine activities. These are beyond the ‘mandatory’ exercise which they force upon themselves.
- Their diet comprises lots of vegetables and fruits, significantly more than meat. [The series highlight Singapore’s pervasive messages at hawker centres and food courts exhorting residents to ask for less salt, less oil and more vegetables.]
- They hang out in social groups for recreation and fun. These social groups also become the source of emotional support and members look out for each other.
- The residents adopt a positive and purposeful mindset. They look forward to each day and their lives are filled with things to do and accomplish for themselves and for others.
The theme for this inaugural Think Health Seminar is "Participate–Prevent–Progress". My staff developed this theme without my inputs. Nevertheless there is good alignment between this theme and the four features of the Blue Zone places.
- Participate in active movements in our daily routine. This is similar to the blue zone places designing and having physical outdoor activities as part of one’s daily routine.
- Prevent the onset of debilitating chronic diseases. This is similar to the blue zone places adopting healthy diets.
- Progress into quality living during the later years. This would be like the social groups and purposeful mindset of the blue zone places.
Later this morning, three speakers will share their insights and advice. We look forward hearing from Dr. Michael Wong from SingHealth Group, Dr. Siddhartha Sanyal from Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Ms. Susan Tan, President of Society of Behavioural Health.
MOUs with EIMS and KKH
ITE is grateful to have the support of various healthcare institutions. Since 2018, KKH, CGH, TTSH, SGH, NUH and KTPH have partnered ITE on the Work-Study Diploma in Patient Management and Services. These hospitals hire ITE graduates as Patient Service Associates and co-train with ITE to enable them to achieve a diploma.
Today, ITE is signing two MOUs with:
- Exercise is Medicine Singapore (EIMS), an outfit under Changi General Hospital
- KK Women's & Children's Hospital (KKH)
The synergistic collaboration between ITE, EIMS and KKH aims to support the national Healthier SG initiative and Age Well movement. More specifically, there are three areas of collaboration:
- Health and Wellness Community Outreach. ITE students will be actively involved in supporting KKH and CGH in these health campaigns and wellness programmes for the communities. The students will be trained to be health ambassadors, providing suggestions on exercise and diet, and advice on important health and exercise data that residents can track.
- Curricula Enhancement. CGH & KKH will provide inputs to ITE in our curriculum review and enhancement so as to ensure that ITE sports, fitness and health curricula remain relevant and aligned with the evolving needs of the healthcare industry.
- Authentic Learning and Applications. EIMS (CGH) and KKH will provide ITE students with real-life hands-on experiences and guide them to implement exercise and social prescriptions. These authentic experiences for students to interact with wide age groups and diverse profiles of people, will enable them to activate health coaching skills, communication skills and problem-solving skills.
We hope all these learning and real-world application experiences will support ITE graduates to chart their career pathways and take up new healthcare job roles generated under the Healthier SG and Age Well SG framework.
In conclusion, I thank our healthcare industry partners for your support for ITE students and graduates, believing in their potential and wanting them to join the healthcare industry. I thank SPS Rahayu for gracing today’s inaugural Think Health Seminar Series and witnessing the MOU signing with EIMS (CGH) and KKH. I wish everyone an enriching seminar.