The first doctors to have been trained by a UK university campus overseas are preparing to graduate from Newcastle University's medical school in Johor, Malaysia.
In 2011, Newcastle became the first UK University to establish a fully-owned international branch campus for medicine and as such Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) is an extension of Newcastle University UK.
The inaugural Congregation Ceremony on 28 June 2014 will celebrate the graduation of the first cohort of 17 medical students who will then embark on new careers in Malaysia’s health service and further afield.
Approved by the General Medical Council (GMC), the junior doctors graduating from NUMed will hold a UK Primary Medical Qualification and be eligible for provisional registration with both the GMC and the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC). Following the completion of an approved preregistration period, they will be eligible for full registration with both regulators.
Newcastle University Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Brink said: “The opening of an international branch campus for medicine and biomedical sciences saw the beginning of a new chapter in Newcastle’s medical history. This graduation ceremony at NUMed marks our next exciting chapter as we celebrate the first of a new generation of medics trained by a UK university abroad.
"This important milestone is a tangible demonstration of Newcastle University’s commitment to working with international partners to invest in collaborative teaching and research.”
The origins of medical education at Newcastle can be dated back to 1834 when a School of Medicine and Surgery was established in the city.
Since that time, the city has been at the forefront of major advances in the understanding and treatment of medical conditions, with work in areas such as cancer, dementia and liver disease establishing Newcastle University as a world leader.
Professor Reg Jordan, Provost and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NUMed Malaysia, said: “It will be a tremendously rewarding experience to see our first cohort of students graduate from our campus here in Malaysia. We are proud that these students will be among the very best prepared young doctors of their generation and we are sure that these doctors will be a great credit to themselves, to Newcastle University and indeed the medical profession.”
Today there are 365 students studying at NUMed and 100 staff and the target is for 1,000 students and 180 staff by 2020. NUMed aims to become a leading South Asian centre of academic medicine –based upon Newcastle University’s acknowledged strength in medical and biomedical teaching and research. The state-of-the-art campus is helping to meet the nation’s aspiration to become an international education hub, and also in developing its human capital resource.
Professor Chris Day, Newcastle University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Medical Sciences, said: “Newcastle University has a long-standing reputation for being one of the best places to study medicine, dentistry and health sciences, with our subjects consistently ranked top 200 in the world and top 20 in the UK. Our NUMed students benefit from identical training to that provided in the UK and our first graduating junior doctors are now embarking on new careers inspired by a rich tradition of scholarship and connected to a truly global alumni network.”
Sir Liam Donaldson, Chancellor of Newcastle University and former Chief Medical Officer for England, will be presiding at the ceremony. He said: “Crossing the threshold from student to doctor is one of the most momentous steps a person can make. It is an inspiring moment for students and their teachers. Together they have created values and skills that will benefit patients around the world for decades to come.”
Among the first group of junior doctors to graduate from NUMed is 24-year-old Chow Paik Hwa from Kuala Lumpur whose main motivation for becoming a doctor is to make a positive difference to people’s lives.
With a broad interest in many aspects of medicine, Paik Hwa is open-minded about where her new career will lead her and is excited about the possibilities.
She said: “I have a broad mixture of interests and although I could find a niche to fit myself into I have decided not to be so rigid and have a fixed career plan already. I am open and ready for the unexpected. One of my dreams is to be able to work around the world, so this is something I will work towards.
“Being a doctor is the way I can and want to d some good in the world. The nobility of the profession is its main attraction and I believe it is a job I will only like more and more over time.”
Her first career move will be to apply to work in a hospital as a houseman in the state of Johor for training that will earn her recognition with both the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) and General Medical Council (GMC).
Paik Hwa realised she could become one of the first Malaysian doctors to be trained by a UK university overseas when she read a newspaper article about plans to launch the NUMed course.
She said: “My batch was the first student occupants of the new NUMed campus in Nusajaya. We were thrilled and happy to be the first ones to utilise the state-of-art facilities provided on campus - just 20 of us in the whole compound! When more students joined we started organising societies and clubs. The people I have met and befriended over the course of these five years has been unforgettable.
“The facilities at NUMed are of high quality just like the ones we experienced in Newcastle where we studied as part of the course. We have a mixture of lecturers both from the Asia and from the UK and we appreciate the diversity of their teaching methods and greatly benefit from it. Most importantly, they are very dedicated educators and very supportive, working to bring out the best in us.”
published on: 19 June 2014