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Engaging in community outreach programmes provides students with the opportunity to become active members of their community and has a lasting, positive impact on society at large. Community service or volunteerism enables students to acquire life skills and knowledge, as well as provide a service to those who need it most. Such initiative is bolstered by Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) devoting itself to quality education and aligning their curricula with the needs of the community.

NUMed draws on the legacy of Newcastle University in the UK, which has been positively contributing to individuals, organisations and society as a whole through both research and community engagement with its vision of “From Newcastle. For the World.” NUMed continues the ethos and goals of its parent campus by having its students take concrete steps to make a measurable and positive difference in the lives of Malaysians.

The university holds a range of community outreach programmes in collaboration with many local organisations such as MERCY Malaysia and Persatuan Doktor-Doktor Johor to conduct free health screenings to vulnerable communities as well as the underprivileged. Student participants are also given the opportunity to provide medical advice and hold counselling sessions.

According to Dr. Tin Swe Aye, Associate Professor at NUMed, the programmes are designed to empower communities to be stronger and healthier, while creating a nurturing environment where NUMed students can learn to be compassionate and caring citizens of the world.

“Students are also able to develop and enhance their communication, collaborative, leadership, and organisational skills through these programmes and become more well-rounded medical professionals,” highlighted Dr. Tin.

Moreover, NUMed’s MBBS students in Stage 4 are also required to organise the annual NUMed Health Camp as an integral part of their curriculum. The event aims to both educate nearby rural villagers on health issues and also provide them with vital healthcare services that they would otherwise not be able to receive due to issues such as socioeconomic factors and geographical location.

“The Stage 4 Health Camp is an utterly invaluable learning experience for our students as they can hone vital skills such as critical thinking to collaborate with diverse groups to solve problems and create change. It benefits our students in ways that no book, lecture, or workshop can fully replicate,” said Dr. Tin.

These community programmes also serve to educate students to comprehend healthcare on both a more macro and micro level. On one hand, students come to understand the systemic, cultural and societal factors that greatly influence healthcare. On the other, they get to interact with individuals in a more interpersonal context, empathetically listening to their unique personal stories and connecting with them. The first-hand practical experiences often ignite the passion within students to further develop themselves so as to better serve the community.

“It helps both the community and the students. Many students undergo large transformation. I’ve seen students go from shy wallflowers in the classroom to active, confident, and enthusiastic individuals from these community programs,” Dr. Tin added.

NUMed is the first fully owned international branch campus offering a degree in medicine conferred by a UK university in Southern Malaysia. NUMed offers undergraduate degrees in Medicine (MBBS) and Biomedical Sciences (BSc), as well as opportunities for foundation and postgraduate studies.

To find out more about NUMed’s programmes, excellent facilities, and student life, visit www.newcastle.edu.my.

Kastturi Sandragesan

An ordinary lady who writes, dances, and also randomly smiles at strangers on the road.

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