Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

National University of Singapore, Center for Biomedical Ethics

Spring 2014 Site Review

Position: Medical Humanities Research Assistant
Student: Plan II, Senior

The main goal of the NUS Center for Biomedical Ethics is to invest in a well-balanced medical education system. Today, too much emphasis is placed on the hard sciences rather than joint inclusion of the humanities. For too long there has been a forgetfulness of the real values of medicine -- what makes us human. The humanities remind us of that, while the sciences provide the evidence-based understanding on top of that. As you see, both go hand in hand. It is clear: the future of medicine lies in balancing medical education with the humanities, as my internship project seeks to fulfill. The NUS Center for Biomedical Ethics is setting itself as an Asian bioethics standard, while aiming to provide an Asian counterpart to the predominant Western one in this discipline.

The medical humanities research assistantship position was created during my study abroad at NUS. As an intern, in roughly ten hours per week, you’ll assist in drafting an interdisciplinary ethics curriculum for medical students. The duties involve researching scholarly articles, for example, on the intersection of ethics and painting. In other words, what can painting (an art) offer us in terms of ethics? And what does it say about medicine? The project seeks to build a humanities base for the medical sciences. Often, you’ll spend a few days gathering up scholarly research and books and marking them for evidence. Then you’ll craft an argumentative essay speaking to that particular art’s value (such as painting or theatre or literature) to bioethics. The point is to be able to defend your argument and develop a general understanding of the arts and bioethics as well.

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