Students@SPM 2024: Reflecting on the Healthy Longevity Talent Incubator Experience at National University of Singapore

The Healthy Longevity Talent Incubator (HLTI) was more than a program; it was a transformative 10-day exploration at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine’s Centre for Healthy Longevity, which brought together 40 early-career professionals from across 21 different countries. I was fortunate enough to be a part of this group.

The program was guided by mentors Prof Andrea B. Maier, Prof J.J. (Hans) Meij, Prof Suresh Rattan, and Prof Gunther, along with 19 other guest lecturers who collectively shared their knowledge surrounding healthy longevity medicine.

Our discussions traversed the expansive landscape of ageing studies, weaving through pre-clinical research, clinical applications, economics of longevity, artificial intelligence, public health and health policy implications. It was a holistic immersion into the multifaceted dimensions of healthy longevity medicine.

The program placed great emphasis on career development through extensive networking opportunities, including one-to-one speed networking sessions with professionals from various healthcare industries. Participants engaged with up to ten mentors for career advice, resume feedback, and valuable discussions, recognizing the crucial role of networking in their professional growth.

An enlightening excursion took our team into the heart of Singaporean daily life. Exploring hawker centres around the Tiong Bahru and Bugis areas, we engaged with the breakfast crowd, aiming to discern their perspectives on ageing. Our survey results showed that 58% expressed a desire to retire after 65, illuminating the intricate interplay between financial considerations, health aspirations, and personal fulfilment in retirement decisions.

However, the crux lies in contemplating the role of biological age in shaping retirement policies. The query persists: How can our understanding of biological ageing inform decisions at the policy level, transcending individual preferences?

Our triumph in winning the Best SG City Mission Presentation Award, bestowed by MP Hian Chuan (Henry) Kwek, marked a collective achievement for my exceptional teammates: Zaylea Zhong Jie Kua, Advitiya Khandelwal, Marlene Musial, Wabwire Lodrick Odo, Al Hussein Elwan, Huiqi Li, Jessica Lu, and Lihuan Guan.

Beyond the formal discussions, HLTI was a platform for forging bonds and intellectual exchange. As a unique addition, I had the opportunity to showcase a different facet of my talents by performing John Legend’s “All of Me” during the international music night! Alongside other talented individuals, it added a harmonious touch to our shared experience.

The program has equipped us with a broader understanding of healthy longevity, and as we move forward, the collective commitment to unravel the complexities of ageing remains. HLTI was not just a learning opportunity; it was a stepping stone towards contributing to the evolving narrative of healthy longevity medicine in Singapore and the region.

The Healthy Longevity Talent Incubator is happening again this year! Come and experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

This write-up was written by Jonas John Posko Amalaraj, MBBS, MPH (Alumni 2023).

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