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​President Halimah Yacob hosted at LKCMedicine for ARISE Think Tank

Published on: 16-Oct-2019

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LKCMedicine was delighted to host the inaugural ARISE Think Tank today at our Clinical Sciences Building, which was graced by President of the Republic of Singapore Madam Halimah Yacob. In her first visit to NTU-LKCMedicine's Novena campus, President Halimah was warmly welcomed by NTU President Professor Subra Suresh.

ARISE is short for NTU's Ageing Research Institute for Society and Education established in 2016 to support interdisciplinary ageing-related research, programmes and activities, helmed by NTU's Deputy Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs Professor Theng Yin Leng. LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best sits on the Steering Committee. ARISE's vision is to empower the ageing community and improve the quality of life.

At today's Think Tank meeting, several activities were held. After the speech by Prof Suresh, Madam Halimah witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between NTU and industry partner TZ Healthcare Management. NTU was represented by Vice-President of Research Professor Lam Khin Yong while TZ's signatory was Mr Jackson Cheng, its Founder.

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In his welcome speech, Prof Suresh said the event is "a reflection of NTU's drive in translational research excellence that is tuned to benefit society, industry and beyond."

Lauding the efforts by ARISE, he emphasised, "ARISE examines the ways the elderly can stay healthy through disease prevention, treatment and management. It also develops strategies on promoting active lifestyles and lifelong learning among the elderly; as well as leveraging technological innovations to enable vibrant and independent lives."

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After witnessing the MOU signing, President Halimah toured a tech exhibition specially put up for the event, showcasing innovative and inventive projects and prototypes that use advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and virtual and augmented reality aimed at helping senior citizens live independently, and improve their quality of living. Some are already being trialled at eldercare centres and hospitals around Singapore.

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They include creating an immersive environment for seniors to experience various rehabilitative scenarios virtually, a lightweight robotic arm that assists in the rehabilitation for the elderly and people suffering neurological injuries such as stroke, and an autonomous wheelchair that follows the elderly around equipped with robotic arms to prevent falls.

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Madam Halimah showed a keen interest in every project, given that Singapore is one of the world's fastest ageing countries. She was then hosted to a short reception which provided a chance for key attendees including LKCMedicine Associate Professor of Health Services Outcome Josip Car to engage her on their efforts and projects on "Gerontechnology in Singapore". A/Prof Car is also Director of LKCMedicine's Centre for Population Health Sciences (CePHaS) which collaborates with ARISE. CePHaS was specially mentioned by Prof Suresh in his speech for driving research that looks at pressing healthcare problems in order to develop practical solutions to improve overall population health, for example by exploring how we can use info-communication technology to solve healthcare issues, and to enhance the healthcare system.

A poster exhibition was also held on the sidelines of the event, highlighting crucial research of ageing trends in Singapore.

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The event also marked the launch of an annual Think Tank Roundtable series by NTU where policymakers, industry representatives, and experts from academia will discuss and come up with holistic solutions to address the ageing population in Singapore. The roundtable today was attended by more than 40 participants including hospital chiefs, industry leads, as well as university and community organisation heads from Singapore and beyond. 

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