• Vol. 34 No. 6, 137C–139C
  • 15 July 2005

History of Psychiatric Education in Singapore



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Psychiatry was largely a forgotten discipline in the first 75 years of the medical school. In the last 2 decades, there has been steady progress in the extension of teaching time and clinical postings. The focus of psychiatric education has shifted from the mental institution to the general hospital and primary care. Psychiatric teaching emphasises not just clinical skills, but also, the importance of communication skills in the doctor-patient relationship.

While medical education in Singapore has a hundred-year history, the teaching of psychiatry became salient only in the last quarter of the century. In the early years, medical education mainly focused on medicine, surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and public health. Fortuitously, interest in psychiatry grew as a consequence of social changes or societal concerns, like drug addiction, suicide and stress.

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