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Global Cafe Southeast Asia Spotlight – Music Therapy in Medical Setting

June 13 @ 8:00 am - 9:30 am EDT


The music therapists and medical professionals from Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia will share their pioneering work and collaboration in the hospitals in Southeast Asia. Attendees will have the opportunity to converse with the panelists as well as each other.

The Global Café is open to IAMM members and public with the registration. Please join us with a cup of coffee, tea, or your choice of libation, and enjoy the conversation! 


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Sandra Cheah, MoPC, MT-BC and Dr. Lee Ai Chong will offer their perspectives on starting the first music therapy program in a government university hospital in Malaysia. Toungporn Puwajaroonkul (Ajay), RMT and Dr. Chavit Tunvirachaisakul, PhD will share their music therapy program that serves patients in the dementia day center, acute stroke units, palliative care, and acute psychiatry in the King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital (KCMH) in Bangkok, Thailand. Jessica Hariwijaya, S.Sn., MT-BC and Nindi Nastiti, STr.Kes will introduce Indonesia’s first medical music therapy program at Siloam International Hospital, one of the country’s largest hospital chains.

IAMM Global Café – Southeast Asia Spotlight is hosted and curated by Ming Yuan Low, Ph.D., MT-BC, Nordoff-Robbins music therapist and assistant professor of music therapy at Berklee College Music, and Jingwen Zhang, Ph.D., MT-BC, Chair of the IAMM Global Reporting Committee, Music Therapist at Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine, Mount Sinai Beth Israel.





Sandra Cheah, MoPC, MT-BC

Sandra Cheah, MoPC, MT-BC, is a professional counselor and board-certified music therapist based in Malaysia. Her previous experience includes specialized work in the Neonatal and Pediatric ICU of UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles. Currently, she provides rehabilitation services through music across all ages in Malaysia including volunteering in government hospitals in Kuala Lumpur, offering perinatal and pediatric bereavement services. With a Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy from Berklee College of Music and a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling, Sandra combines her knowledge and skills to create impactful music psychotherapy sessions and shares her expertise as a speaker, delivering inspiring mental wellness talks globally to corporations and universities.


Lee Ai Chong, MD

Lee Ai is a pediatrician and she currently heads the Paediatric Pain and Palliative Care Unit at University Malaya Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Unit was recognised by the hospital in 2018. She has received undergraduate training in Australia and has continued with training in Paediatrics, Paediatric Oncology, Bioethics and Palliative Care. She is a co-founder of MyStarfish, a non-profit set up to supplement the palliative care services for children at the hospital.





Toungporn Puwajaroonkul (Ajay), RMT

Ajay is a devoted music therapist who currently serves as a full-time member of the music therapy service at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. With a compassionate approach, Ajay offers her expertise in various medical settings, including dementia day centers, acute stroke units, palliative care, acute psychiatry units, and other inpatient facilities. Her primary focus is to utilize music’s power to improve patients’ quality of life.

Ajay earned her Master of Music Therapy degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and she is a registered member of the Australian Music Therapy Association as a Registered Music Therapist (RMT). Her specialization lies in working with adults and older adults in Dementia and Palliative Care.


Dr. Chavit Tunvirachaisakul, PhD

Dr. Chavit Tunvirachaisakul is a geriatric psychiatrist who completed his training at Chulalongkorn University and obtained a PhD from King’s College London. He played a key role in developing and running a dementia day service at King Chulalongkorn MEmorial Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, where he also trained aspiring psychiatrists.

Dr. Tunvirachaisakul’s research focuses on dementia and cognitive disorders, employing innovative techniques such as brain imaging and biological markers. He is particularly interested in using activity monitoring devices and virtual reality to gather data and enhance cognitive abilities in patients. Additionally, he is exploring the potential of music therapy in older adults with mental illness. Through his work, Dr. Tunvirachaisakul aims to improve the lives of elderly patients and advance the field of Old Age Psychiatry.





Jessica Hariwijaya, S.Sn., MT-BC

Jessica Hariwijaya is a dedicated board-certified music therapist who has played a pioneering role in establishing Indonesia’s first medical music therapy program at Siloam International Hospital, one of the country’s largest hospital chains. With her extensive experience and expertise, Jessica has focused her therapeutic efforts on patients in various medical specialties, including oncology, cardiology, and pediatrics, with a particular emphasis on neurologic and neurodegenerative diseases. Her educational endeavor also extends to her affiliation as a member of The Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy.

Recognizing the significance of interdisciplinary collaboration, Jessica advocates for the integration of music therapy into comprehensive care teams. Her dedication to promoting the field of music therapy extends beyond her direct patient care, as she conducts and participates in nationwide seminars and workshops regularly. To further her professional growth and contribution to the field, Jessica is currently pursuing graduate studies in Music Therapy at Temple University.


Nindi Nastiti, STr.Kes

Nindi Nastiti is an accomplished Occupational Therapist with expertise in the fields of physical and pediatric therapy. She obtained her formal education at Surakarta Health Polytechnic, graduating in 2018. During her studies, she had published her research project focusing on the meaning of wellbeing in patients with cancer diagnosis. This research allowed her to delve deeper into the psychological and emotional aspects of care for individuals battling cancer.

During her tenure at Siloam International Hospital, Nindi provided compassionate care and effective treatment approaches to patients coming into the Medical Rehabilitation department. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in cases requiring specialized treatment for children, she has redirected her focus toward the pediatric area of occupational therapy.




Ming Yuan Low, Ph.D., MT-BC, is a Nordoff-Robbins music therapist and assistant professor of music therapy at Berklee College Music. His clinical work and research center on community-informed music therapy practices and supports for folks who locate in marginalized identities. His scholarship focuses on critical explorations in music therapy theory and practice, as well as participatory action research with autistic and BIPOC communities. Low received his B.S. and M.A. in music therapy from Texas Woman’s University, and his Ph.D. in creative arts therapies from Drexel University. He has worked as a research fellow at Drexel University in two different research labs, one examining chronic pain in patients with advanced cancer and opioid use in cancer survivors with chronic pain, and the other exploring care-coordination factors affecting health care transition from pediatric services to adult services for minimally verbal autistic youth. Low has presented his research and clinical work at national and international conferences, and has authored and coauthored peer-reviewed journal articles. He has also served in various elected and appointed positions in the American Music Therapy Association, World Federation for Music Therapy, and Malaysian Music Therapy Association. He is on the editorial board of Music Therapy Perspectives and is an article editor for Voices.

Jingwen Zhang, PhD, MT-BC is a music therapist at Music Therapist at Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine, Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City.