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The Centre for Bioethics and Humanities aims to provide insights into the human condition, cultural sensitivities, ethical considerations, and care for self and others through interdisciplinary approaches, for the continuous improvement of health practices and wellbeing of individuals and communities.

About the Centre

The Centre for Bioethics and Humanities was inaugurated in 2021. It was previously the Department of Language, Communication and Culture.

  • The Centre manages the compulsory General Studies Subjects/Mata Pelajaran Pengajian Umum (MPU) for undergraduate programmnes. The MPU academic support programme consists of humanities subjects that enhance skills for personal and professional development.
  • The Centre seeks to support undergraduate and postgraduate programmes through  bioethics and humanities courses, delivered through dual teaching modes.
  • The Centre also offers Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes through webinars, workshops and conferences on bioethics and humanities.
  • The Centre invites research collaborators to provide new insights into contemporary approaches to healthcare through ethics and humanities.
  • Members of the academia, professionals and students with expertise and interests in relevant fields, are invited to be fellows of the Centre.

Message from the Director


A/Prof Sheba D.Mani

Director, Centre for Bioethics and Humanities (CBH),
BA (UPM), MA (UKM), PhD in Post-colonial Literature in English (UKM),
Teaching English (Certificate) (LPTTC),
English Language Teaching (Access Certificate) (City & Guilds, UK )

“The Centre for Bioethics and Humanities engages in learner-centered learning experiences through academic support programmes to ensure meaningful exchanges that result in a broader understanding of humanity. We also encourage arts-based initiatives for creative practice and social inclusion. Our aim is to collaborate, educate and recommend strategies on improving the wellbeing of mankind through bioethics and humanities. We look forward to work with partners to shape this new initiative.”

CBH Advisory Members

Prof John Lantos – University of Michigan Kansas City, USA
John Lantos, MD, is Professor of Paediatrics at University of Missouri in Kansas City, the founding director of the Children’s Mercy Hospital Bioethics Center and Glasnapp Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Bioethics. He is a leader in the field of bioethics and directs an innovative, on-line paediatric bioethics program. He is a former Chief of General Paediatrics and Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, University of Chicago, former President of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities and of the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics, and is an advisor to the American Academy of Paediatrics on bioethics issues. According to Google Scholar, Prof Lantos has been cited over 13,000 times in scientific literature and has an h-index of 55. Prof Lantos has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, National Public Radio and Nightline. He has been an associate editor of the American Journal of Bioethics, Paediatrics, and Perspectives in Biology and Medicine.
Prof Paul Komesaroff – Monash University, Australia
Paul Komesaroff is a practicing physician and Professor of Medicine at Monash University and Executive Director of Global Reconciliation. He has a PhD in philosophy and an international reputation in healthcare ethics and is pivotal in the development of the field of clinical ethics in Australia. He has developed expertise in both qualitative and quantitative investigations of the social and cultural dimensions of health and health care. Prof Komesaroff is a member and convener of numerous scientific and research committees and is actively involved in research projects in clinical ethics. He has contributed to the development of policy and practice guidelines in a wide range of areas. Prof Komesaroff has authored over 450 peer reviewed articles and 16 books, including a novel, 'Riding a crocodile: A physician's tale'. He is Chair of the editorial board of the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry and honorary ethics editor for the Internal Medicine Journal. He has been extensively involved in both undergraduate and postgraduate level education of medical and health professionals.
A/Prof Stefan Kutzsche – Oslo University Hospital, Norway
Stefan Kutzsche is a Norwegian physician and special advisor for Education at Oslo University Hospital. He was formerly an associate professor and director of the Centre for Education at the International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur. He obtained a PhD degree in neonatal resuscitation, a master degree in health administration and health economics (MHA) and an MSc in health professions education (MHPE). He is double board certified in paediatrics and anaesthesiology. He completed a certificate in paediatric bioethics in the U.S. Kutzsche has a longstanding clinical experience from prehospital (Search & Rescue) and emergency medicine and paediatric/neonatal intensive care medicine. He has been involved in education and training of medical students, nurses, international medical graduates, and postgraduate medical trainees in ethics and has been a member of the clinical ethics committee at Oslo University Hospital. He serves as a referee for several journals in neonatology, ethics and medical education and is an editorial committee member at Acta Paediatrica. He has published in the field of neonatology, medical education, bioethics and history of medicine.
Prof Dato’ Dr Sivalingam Nalliah – International Medical University, Malaysia
Sivalingam Nalliah, is Professor of Obstetrician & Gynecologist (O&G) at International Medical University (IMU). At IMU he has been actively involved in both undergraduate and postgraduate supervision. He serves as a member of the IMU Joint Committee for Research and Ethics. He also coordinated the Ethics curriculum for the medical program by adopting the UNESCO Core Curriculum. He is the Vice-President of the College of O&G, Academy of Medicine, Malaysia. After graduating in 1974, he served as Consultant O&G and Head of O&G Services in the Ministry of Health, Malaysia. He developed quality assurance programs in O&G including CPG in cervical cancer and Heart Disease and Hypertension in Pregnancy. He was Chairman of the Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths in Malaysia and in 2002 received the FIGO Award in Emergency Obstetrics. He is on the Editorial Board of the Medical Journal of Malaysia and reviews scholarly works for several other journals. He has published more than 100 peer- reviewed articles in OBGYN, Medical Education, Medical Ethics and Primary Care, edited 8 books and authored 3 e-books. He has lectured at international conferences on medical ethics and law.
Prof Rita Charon – Columbia University, USA
Rita Charon is a general internist and literary scholar who originated the field of narrative medicine. She is Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics and Professor of Medicine at Columbia University. She completed the MD at Harvard in 1978 and the PhD in English at Columbia in 1999. At Columbia, she directs the Foundations of Clinical Practice faculty seminar, the Virginia Apgar Academy for Medical Educators, the Narrative and Social Medicine Scholarly Projects Concentration Track, the Narrative Medicine curriculum for the medical school, and Columbia Commons: Collaborating Across Professions, a medical-center-wide partnership devoted to health care team effectiveness. She inaugurated and teaches in the Master of Science in Narrative Medicine graduate program at Columbia. She has lectured and served as Visiting Professor at many medical schools and universities in the US and abroad, teaching narrative medicine theory and practice. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residency, and research funding from several esteemed foundations. She was chosen by the National Endowment for the Humanities to deliver the 2018 Jefferson Lecture. Prof Charon has published extensively in journals and authored, co-authored and co-edited several books in the field of narrative medicine.
Prof Paul Crawford – University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
Paul Crawford is Professor of Health Humanities at the School of Health Sciences, Director of the Centre for Social Futures at the Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham, UK. He is also Adjunct Professor at Canberra University, Australia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health. As the founding father of the new, global and rapidly developing field of health humanities, Prof Crawford has spearheaded research in applying the arts and humanities to inform and transform healthcare, health and wellbeing. Prof Crawford on the editorial boards of Journal of Medical Humanities, Communication & Medicine and Applied Arts in Health and acts as a referee for several prominent publishing houses and major journals. In 2008 he was awarded a Lord Dearing Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. He is Co-Founder and directs both the AHRC-funded Madness and Literature Network and International Health Humanities Network. He is also International advisor on trans-disciplinary research/ health humanities at various institutions worldwide. Prof Crawford has held multiple grants from prestigious Research Councils or major charities. Prof Crawford regularly gives keynote and plenary lectures at international conferences and has written over 140 publications including peer-reviewed papers or chapters and 13 books.
Prof Saroj – University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Saroj Jayasinghe is Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Founder Head, Department of Medical Humanities, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He is a Consultant at Faculty of Medicine, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka and a practicing clinician who works as a Consultant Physician.  Prof Jayasinghe qualified with MBBS (Hons) from the University of Colombo (UC), and has the MD (Colombo), and MRCP (UK). He obtained a MD by research from University of Bristol and awarded a PhD from the University of ColomboHe was awarded the fellowships of the Royal College of Physicians (London), the Ceylon College of Physicians, and the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka. He was the fifth Chair Professor of Medicine, UC and one of the longest serving consultant physicians at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo.  Prof Jayasinghe is an experienced medical teacher and a key figure in the curriculum reforms of the Faculty of Medicine, UC. At UC, he initiated the Behavioural Sciences Stream that enhanced the teaching of ethics, communication skills and professionalism and was Founder Head of the Department of Medical Humanities. He organised the Inaugural International Conference on Medical Humanities in July 2018, held in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He has over 150 publications in peer reviewed journals and has delivered more than 100 invited lectures both locally and overseas. His current research interests are in medical humanities, systems science in medicine, and clinical reasoning.
Dato’ Tom Abang Saufi – National Art Gallery, Malaysia
Tom Abang Saufi is Chairman, National Visual Arts Development Board, National Art Gallery, Malaysia. She is an established Malaysian fashion designer who resides in Kuala Lumpur. Dato’ Tom Abang Saufi set up her fashion business in the capital in her early 20s after returning from London. Dato’ Tom’s fashionable garments, bags and various accessories were heavily influenced by her Sarawakian roots. She grew up close to nature, with wild orchids and kingfishers in her garden, and the vibrant colours of the textiles and clothing of the various ethnic tribes in Sarawak. Dato’ Tom has given several interviews and talks for national and international broadcasts on her area of expertise.

What We Do

General Studies Subjects/Mata Pelajaran Pengajian Umum (MPU)

The MPU modules, offered to both Malaysians and international students are standardised compulsory modules for both public and private institutes of higher learning. Each student must undertake a total of 5-6 modules from the four (4) categories below:

  • U1 Appreciation of philosophy, values and history
  • U2 Mastery of soft skills
  • U3 Broadening of general knowledge on Malaysia
  • U4 Application of community management skills; example community service and extra curriculum activities

The modules offered are:


Category Module
U1 Bahasa Melayu Komunikasi 2
Penghayatan Etika dan Peradaban
Philosophy and Current Issues
U2 Bahasa Kebangsaan A
Thinking Critically and Creatively
English for Health Sciences
Academic Writing
History of Medicine
Arts Appreciation
Academic Communication
Art Fundamentals
U3 Work-life Balance from the Global and Malaysian Perspective
Nutrition and Wellness
Health and Wellness
History for Health Professionals
Introduction to Media Literacy
Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror
Cultures of the World
Survey of Asian Literature
U4 Social Responsibility

Continuous Professional Development

The Centre serves as an educational hub to expand knowledge of ethics and humanities related to health education, health practices, workplace communication and the community in general.

Below are some of the workshops, webinar and conferences that we conduct. If you are interested to know more about it, drop us an email at [email protected]


Workplace Communication: English for Health Professionals

The workshop is designed to help participants develop, enhance and refine their knowledge of the English language and communication skills in the context of the health profession. It is an interactive workshop that is structured to hone all four English language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The language focus is generated by topics related to workplace settings and will concentrate on the practical application of the English language.

Communicative Malay Language for Healthcare Practitioner

This workshop is designed to expose participants to the effective use of the Malay language as one of the main communication tools in the Malaysian medical context.

IELTS Preparation Programme

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) qualification is required by most Malaysian, British, Canadian and Australian universities. This programme will focus on three key areas to help participants prepare for the IELTS:

  • mastery of language skills,
  • familiarisation with exam strategies, and
  • testing for proficiency.

Effective Presentation Skills

The workshop is designed to encourage the development of confidence and creativity through speech and presentation. The workshop will provide opportunities that builds participants’ confidence and systematically develop the skills needed to Page 5 of 1 succeed in their social and professional lives, while simultaneously developing their imagination and expressive abilities.

Basic Mandarin Language

This workshop is designed to expose participants to basic Mandarin language in the context of clinical and medical practice. Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to apply pinyin to pronounce mandarin, apply basic grammar to construct mandarin sentence and demonstrate common clinical conversation.


The Centre organises events to encourage creativity and perspectives on contemporary themes related to health through various forms of the arts.

Below is the list of events that are conducted annually. If you are interested to know more, drop us an email at [email protected]

Art Competition

The IMU annual visual art competition seeks to encourage emerging artists in higher education to express their visual interpretations of health and wellbeing. These representations offer insights into health, its social and cultural context, community needs and the expectations of the young generation. Since its inception in 2021, the competition has attracted nearly 250 entries from some 22 institutions.


Inspire, a digital art gallery established in 2017, seeks to inspire, enliven and stir the imagination of students, academicians, and the community through visual art. It also provides a space for young artists to display their perspective of the world and for the viewers to interpret and appreciate the power of these artistic representations. The Inspire digital gallery features the entire collection of artwork received from the IMU Art Competition. Selected pieces are displayed in IMU Bukit Jalil Campus’ public spaces and hallways. For more information, visit the Inspire Gallery.

Poetry Competition

The IMU poetry competition is an annual event that welcomes both English and Malay language poems of any type and form. The aim of this competition is to provide a platform for emerging poets to channel their thoughts, perspectives and feelings through the transformative power of poetry. Ever since its launch in 2020, the competition has seen a growing interest and a promising number of participations from the community.

Humanities Day

Humanities Day is the triannual one-day event that showcases students’ creativity and ingenuity through their active participation in different arts and humanities modules in the General Studies Subjects, that aim to strengthen their communication, critical thinking, creativity, and teamwork skills. Through exhibitions, poster presentations, performances, debates and seminars, students present the different aspects of our human society and culture.

Special Interest Group in Health Humanities and Ethics

The Centre for Bioethics and Humanities (CBH) has established Special Interest Groups (SIG) in Health Humanities and/or Ethics to explore the challenges and debates surrounding health humanities and ethics in healthcare and the community.

Through the SIGs, we intend to foster dialogue and expand knowledge on health humanities and/or ethical issues among academics, practitioners, students, and the community.

The specific objectives of the SIG are to:

  • provide a cross-disciplinary forum for discussion among academics, practitioners, and students interested in health humanities and/or ethics
  • facilitate the building of networks and collaborations among individuals from different schools and organisations with similar interests
  • promote research and teaching in health humanities and/or ethics
  • encourage the exchange and dissemination of current developments in the area
  • grow leadership and expertise in the field of health humanities and ethics

We invite you to consider developing topics on Health Humanities and/or Ethics around Teaching and Learning scholarship, Community, Environment, and Clinical setting, among others.

All applications will be vetted by an interdisciplinary committee comprising members from the centre and representatives from the programme.

Applications can be submitted throughout the year.

For further inquiries, please contact us directly at [email protected] Looking forward to your interest in championing a SIG for Health Humanities and/or Ethics.

Ethical Concerns in Consumer Products

In the current era of enhanced consumer buying power, the blooming of online shopping, and diverse advertising activities, it is essential to educate the public on ethical issues related to consumers.  Consumers have the right to choose products at competitive prices with satisfactory quality. Hence the objective of this special interest group is to create awareness of consumer products that are sustainably and ethically sourced, truthfully advertised, and offer real value to the consumers.

The group is planning to organise a series of activities such as live talks/sharing sessions/exhibition/contest to create awareness of ethical dilemmas such as ethical issues in marketing, selective marketing, identifying products with misleading claims and messaging, and misusing consumer data.


Intended Outcomes

  • To create awareness among IMU community and the public on ethical issues related to consumer products
  • To provide a platform for academic exchanges on ethical issues related to consumer products

A Prof ChM. Dr Lee Choy Sin Chairperson
A/Prof ChM. Dr Lee Choy Sin
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, School of
Pharmacy, IMU

Humanistic Approach to Patient-Centered Care through Interprofessional Education

Compassionate care, mutual respect, shared knowledge and goals, and collaborative practice among healthcare professional teams, patients, and their families, are essential prerequisites for improving population health. With the increasing burden of chronic diseases, there is a need for collaborative interprofessional team-based care to cater to the increasing number of complex patients that require care from multiple providers.


Intended Outcomes

  • To discuss how healthcare professionals would work with individuals from other professions to maintain a climate of mutual respect and shared values.
  • To discuss how healthcare professionals can use the knowledge of one’s role and the roles of other professions to appropriately assess and address the healthcare needs of patients.
  • To discuss communication with patients, families, communities, and other healthcare professionals responsively and responsibly that supports a team approach to the prevention and treatment of disease.
  • To discuss the application of principles of team dynamics to perform effectively in different team roles.

A Prof Dr Chandramani Thuraisingham Chairperson
A/Prof Dr Chandramani Thuraisingham
Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine,

Improving Perceptions and Practice of Empathy Among Trainee Healthcare Professionals

The primary objective is to enable and improve perceptions and practice of empathy among health professionals in the practice of their healthcare activities. In the current scenario, trainees/students come across as “very robotic” in their expressions of empathy and there is the very minimal or negligible actual practice of empathy.

Teaching and learning through symposiums, role play, and critical review of activity videos can be used as learning tools.  Seminars/ webinars with international collaboration and sharing of case studies can stimulate and enhance the learning experience leading to innovations in care delivery.


Intended Outcomes

  • To discuss the role of expert health care professionals with good practice of empathy
  • To propose outcomes that can influence the practice of and guide policy / clinical practice guidelines for healthcare delivery in specific settings.

Dr Supathiratheavy Rasiah Chairperson
Dr Supathiratheavy Rasiah
Department of Community Medicine, School of
Medicine, IMU

Upcoming Events

9 Mar 2023 (Thu) | 12:00pm – 3:00pm  

Ethics in Biomedical Research – A Refresher Course
Language of Delivery:  English
Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 967 6649 8055 

View Programme

15 – 17 May 2023 (Mon – Wed)  | 8:30am – 5:30pm  

22nd Asian Bioethics Conference & Roundtable on Global Health Security
International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

View Programme