Showing Appreciation to their 'Silent Mentors'

Some 300 Year 1 Allied Health students at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) expressed their gratitude to their ‘silent mentors’ at a Silent Mentor Appreciation Ceremony on 17 May 2019.

Silent mentors is a term given to cadavers that the allied health students worked on during their Anatomy and Physiology (A & P) modules, to gain detailed learnings on the human anatomy.


One of three thanksgiving performances where students showed their heartfelt gratitute to their silent mentors and their kin.

The solemn ceremony marked the conclusion of the A & P modules for these freshmen reading the Allied Health degree programmes, through observing a moment of silence, followed by heartfelt words of reflection and thanksgiving performances that moved the audience.

Associate Professor Subramhanya Karthik Harve, Lecturer, Health and Social Sciences, SIT, delivering his opening address.

"The silent mentors have helped our students on their first steps towards becoming good allied health professionals. But beyond this, they have also helped them develop selfless attitude – the very same quality that the silent mentors had when they donated their bodies. It’s very heartening to see that our students recognise this and I hope this attribute will remain with them throughout their professional journey,” said Associate Professor Subramhanya Karthik Harve, Lecturer, Health and Social Sciences, SIT.

“Our silent mentors gave us a privileged and humbling opportunity to gain knowledge that can never be learned from textbooks. It was the first for many of us to work on a real cadaver. Beyond the knowledge of anatomy, it made me understand better the meaning of empathy, giving and learning,” said Huang Meiyan, a Diagnostic Radiography student.

Present at the ceremony were the kin of silent mentors, SIT lecturers as well as lecturers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) who had assisted in the running of the A & P modules.

Professor Bay Boon Huat, Department of Anatomy, National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine delivering his opening address.

“Cadaver-based learning is a far cry from the past, where cadavers were objectified and treated without the knowledge of their origins. Now, however, the emphasis of the Anatomy Student’s Oath is on the importance of giving proper respect and dignity to the donated cadavers – which is important for the cultivation of respect, responsibility, compassion, gratitude and professionalism – traits that are important for students to develop in order to better serve their future patients,” said Professor Bay Boon Huat, Department of Anatomy, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.

“It is very noble for our silent mentors to continue to help others even after the end of life. I’m deeply moved by this spirit of giving. It will serve as a constant reminder to give my best to the patients I treat in the future,” said Liu Nianci, a Radiation Therapy student.

Frank Yizhi, an Occupational Therapy student, added that the ceremony is also a thanksgiving gesture that went out to the families of the silent mentors for their support. “I would like to assure them that the silent mentors have imparted invaluable knowledge to us, and that we will eternally be grateful for that.”

SIT is the only autonomous university in Singapore that offers 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.