Beyond Medicine

The field of medicine is becoming increasingly competitive with thousands of doctors graduating each year. This increase necessitates the need for medical graduates to pursue something extra that would give them a cutting edge.

Monash University Malaysia’s Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours) program, BMedSc(Hons), is a one-year full-time research course that offers precisely this. The program is offered at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences of Monash University. It is a research intensive honours program that began in 2012 solely for Monash University medical graduates and has now opened its doors to medical graduates from all other medical schools that fulfil the admission criteria.

With the continuing advances in medicine today, it is imperative that doctors get involved in research. Clinicians, let alone medical students, often find the transition towards conducting research challenging. This program helps to bridge this gap.

“The field of medicine is a broad spectrum. MBBS graduates doing this program get an in-depth understanding of biomedical sciences, sharpen their thinking skills, and learn to design frameworks,” said Dr Kyi Kyi Tha, Senior Lecturer and academic coordinator of BMedSc(Hons) program at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia. “For students who wish to branch out into an area of specialisation, this experience of a honours research degree program will be beneficial”, she added.

In conducting their research, BMedSc(Hons) students get to enjoy modern, state-of-the-art facilities like the Brain Research Institute Monash Sunway (BRIMS), a reputable  neuroscience research centre led by one of the world's leading comparative neuroscientists, Professor Ishwar Parhar. The South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO) is another research platform for those keen on population health and well-being.

Medical education research allows students to experience various education research projects including digital technology and 3D visuals of the human anatomy at the Medical Anatomy and Pathology E-Learning Laboratory (MAPEL). Students will also have the opportunity to conduct clinical research in several health institutions such as Hospital Sultanah Aminah, Poliklinik Mahmoodiah, Hospital Sultan Ismail, Hospital Segamat, Pejabat Kesihatan Daerah Segamat and the National Heart Institute (IJN).

“The emphasis on research helps to develop their knowledge in research methodology and analysis, and derive key information from a plethora of data that is out there,” said Dr Kyi.  “The work of the previous batch of students have been published in peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations, and poster presentations at research week symposiums. One of the main strengths of this program is that the students are supervised closely by their supervisors and supported by the school with a series of workshops on research methodology, applied statistics, and database search. With leading researchers and academics in their respective areas, students receive expert mentoring which benefits them immensely,” she added.

Among the stellar works that have been produced by previous students include studies into the impact and outcomes of after hours Intensive Care Unit discharges, the development of interactive 3D pathology repository, and the targeted knockdown of cation transporters in breast cancer patients, a retrospective review on atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass grafting and predictors of re-emerging tuberculosis.