Armed with a passion for helping his patients look their best, DR LEE MUN HENG shares his thoughts a decade on from when he first started out as a Cambridge graduate
Delivering quality medical skincare: That’s the philosophy Dr Lee Mun Heng, who founded Cambridge Medical Group, ascribes to. By that, he means delivering the absolute best and precise treatment tailored to an individual’s skin.
A Singapore-born and Cambridge-trained physician, Dr Lee is armed with over 10 years of experience — including at NHS Hospital, Raffles Hospital and the world-famous Mayo Clinic — in formulating evidence-based skincare.
Core to his philosophy is his belief that every person who walks through his clinic doors receives a bespoke solution and not a standardised “everything-in-one” service, starting with a comprehensive analysis of a person’s skin.
We speak to the 38-year-old to learn about his medical career and life experiences.
When did you decide on a career in medicine? Was it a childhood ambition?
Most people have their own reasons for going into Medicine or whatever they want to do. Somewhere along the line, they forget those reasons, but I’d like to think that many of us haven’t! Medicine allows you to interact with society and individuals in profound ways, and it’s up to the individual doctor to seize that opportunity to enhance people’s lives. Hence, I feel it was never an ambition but rather a calling.
What was the most memorable lesson?
Cambridge shaped the doctor that I am today. The institution does not just teach; it provides an environment for one to explore, conceptualise and challenge existing information and doctrine. They allow your mind to progress beyond traditional learning. Although most people were highly competitive individuals, there was a very strong sense of camaraderie. The friendships that I forged at Cambridge will stay with me for life.
How do you think medicine has changed in modern-day society?
I believe medicine has reached the dawn of new era. In the past, we were concerned with curing diseases. As we progressed, medicine too has moved on to screening and prevention — we now live in a world-class country with first-world standards. I personally feel that we should use our skills and knowledge as doctors to help patients progress to a new era of health optimisation. We want patients to feel better, stronger and look even better so that they can optimise their interactions with society at large.
Have you had any bizarre requests from your patients?
I don’t recall any — maybe that’s because I tend to keep a very open mind!
Since aesthetics is part of your practice, what does beauty mean to you?
There is a lot of talk about “golden ratios” these days but I believe that it’s important not to impose our ideas and concepts onto our patients. Beauty is best defined in partnership with my patients — my job is to contribute useful information in terms of experience, knowledge and observation into this process. The concept of beauty is best sought when we are open-minded, honest and non-judgmental.
Can you elaborate on your philosophy of “lifestyle optimising”?
In the course of my facial enhancement work, I have come to know my patients very well, so much so that they feel comfortable discussing their general health issues with me. It also does help that I’ve had a research background in medicine, which allows me to look at health issues from an in-depth perspective. People living in first-world countries like ours don’t want to only know about a definable illness; they want to know how they can make themselves more resilient in preventing it. On top of that, patients may want their bodies to perform better at play and work. Lifestyle optimisation is a new holistic care approach in our modern-day society.
Cambridge medical group takes on a multi-disciplinary team-approach, involving specialists in ophthalmology (oculoplastics) and general surgery (gastrointestinal endoscopy & vein-vascular) services. Why this emphasis?
I’m a strong believer that the best care for patients is delivered via a team-based approach. This concept has already been in practice in world-class hospitals, such as the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, USA, where I spent some time during my training.
At Cambridge Medical, we only partner doctors with a good track record and a high standard of care, who can support our medical group’s mission to deliver holistic health-optimising services to our patients. The services that we have identified will suit our patients and enhance their experience with us.
What is it about your job gives you the most satisfaction?
When I received a scholarship from the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust to read Medicine and Surgery at Cambridge, I was excited because I could train to be a doctor at a world-class institution that focused on research and modern science. My area of practice in facial contouring and enhancement allows me to carry on my passion — to bring cutting-edge science and technology to my patients. This comes with great responsibility as patients turn to me to help them decide what is beneficial to them. It gives me great satisfaction when I’m able to help my patients feel and look better.
How would you describe yourself?
I love people in general. I like to chat to get to know someone. In my clinic, my patients may just pop by to say “hello” and sometimes just to talk. I guess my frankness and honesty are some character traits my patients have come to know me by.
If you weren’t a doctor, what profession do you think you’d be in?
That’s an easy question — I would see myself in a parallel world as a dedicated research scientist on the brink of a groundbreaking discovery to alleviate pain and suffering. But that would be another life altogether.
Cambridge Medical Group
#08-05A1 Ngee Ann City Tower B, 391 Orchard Road;
Tel: 6733 0777; cambridgemedical.com.sg