Honouring Our Silent Mentors

First-year students from SIT’s Allied Health degree programmes place a hand on a ‘Silent Mentor’, as they recite a pledge to treat these mentors with respect.

“I was accustomed to thinking of respect as something one would only hold for living individuals. The ceremony gave me a fresh perspective, and I was very moved to learn that these individuals would willingly donate their bodies after their passing for academic purposes; for the learning benefit of someone like myself,” said Chin You Wei, a first-year student with SIT reading Radiation Therapy.

Just barely two weeks into his first trimester as an undergraduate, You Wei already has first-hand experience with a cadaver, as part of the Anatomy and Physiology (A & P) module he is reading.

For the second year running, SIT’s Allied Health students participated in an appreciation ceremony for these 'Silent Mentors' as a mark of respect and gratitude to the once living individuals whose bodies will now be used to impart invaluable anatomical knowledge. In a moving ceremony held on 29 August 2017, students observed a moment of silence and took a pledge to treat their silent mentors with dignity, at National University of Singapore (NUS)’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, before the start of their semester.

First-year students from SIT’s Allied Health degree programmes observing a moment of silence as a mark of respect to their silent mentors.

Thanks to a five-year Collaborative Agreement (CA) inked with the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2016, the latter will assist SIT to jointly deliver courses for SIT’s Allied Health degree programmes, namely the Bachelor of Science degrees in Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Diagnostic Radiography and Radiation Therapy. Additionally, SIT leverages on the expertise of faculty from NUS’ Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, to co-teach its A & P modules.

“Anatomy lays the foundation for a healthcare practitioner and NUS has world-class facilities, using technological innovation with foundational elements in its lesson delivery. These are very noble acts by the donors and their families, who have donated their bodies towards science,” said Associate Professor Thameem Dheen, Head, Department of Anatomy, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in his welcome address.

Associate Professor Thameem Dheen, Head, Department of Anatomy, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine delivering his welcome address.

You Wei was especially moved by the ceremony. “The Silent Mentor ceremony was a very fascinating and enriching experience for me. Donating their body to science is a very selfless thing to do, and it gives me more reason to appreciate the modules of Anatomy and Physiology. These Silent Mentors trust us with their bodies, and I appreciate that. I hope to draw as much knowledge as I can from this learning experience, with the utmost respect for them.”

“This is about adopting the right attitude towards patients, which sometimes speaks more than the processes. We have introduced this module in their first trimester as we need to start cultivating the right attributes of compassion and respect in our healthcare professionals,” said A/Prof Alan Wong, Cluster Director, Health and Social Sciences, SIT.

Students were especially moved at the ceremony to honour their silent mentors held on 29 August 2017 at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.