Fostering mental health in medical education as this year’s significant theme, the MHAM faculty and student delegates successfully participated the recently concluded 52nd Association of Philippine Medical Colleges (APMC) National Convention held at De La Salle Health Sciences Institute College of Medicine, Dasmariñas City, Cavite last February 5-11, 2019.
Beaming with pride and honor to represent MHAM as one of the member schools of APMC, ten (10) faculty members and fifteen (15) aspiring doctors graced this year’s national convention to nurture and uphold the medical students’ wellbeing in the culture of medical education.
Ideally-organized by De La Salle Health Sciences Institute College of Medicine as this year’s host school, the 6-day annual convention was set with separate schedules. The faculty convention was dated February 5 to 8 while the students’ gathering was held from February 8 to 11, 2019 respectively.
Headed by the college dean, Dr. Ma. Socorro Manaloto, this year’s faculty delegation includes MHAM Chief of Clinics, Dr. Axel Elises; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Chairperson, Dr. Marilou Viray; Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology Chairperson, Dr. Donny Jay Yu; Department of Physiology Chairperson, Dr. Rainelda Veloso; Psychiatry Section Head, Dr. Emma Mendoza; Surgery Department faculty, Dr. Ted Marcerey Gallo; and General Pathology Department faculty members, Dr. Abelardo Alera and Dr. Jan Michael Lao.
Bearing its perpetual tagline ‘We Are MHAM’, the student delegates who experienced productive learning encounter among aspiring doctors in the country were the following; Gio Paolo Plete of Insignis, Claudette Somorostro of Vitalis, Resiliere’s William Tiu Jr., Bryan Jay Carlo Paña, Athena Marie Anog, Pauline Ashley Robins, Carol Tobes, Vincent Raven Sarande, Gem Rodriquez, Andrea Marie Tortugo, Nohah Radiamoda, and Nexus’ Mark Joseph Villo, Mel Karl Sabal, Jo Arabelle Stribbles and Athena Mae Ibon.
Converging together as the Philippines’ medical colleges deans, Dr. Manaloto led the MHAM mavens who participated the 3-day gathering among the throng of medical practitioners and mentors with a grand entrance presentation of participating schools during the opening program at the DLSHSI Animo Center.
Promoting mental health in medical schools, a series of discussions centered on the current status of mental health in Philippine medical schools with an open forum have raised the awareness of what still needs to be done to integrate and promote mental well-being, spirituality programs, mentoring program and mental health services along the lines.
This year’s APMC host school laid out the myriad tasks and assistance set by De La Salle’s organizing committees from pre-convention scientific, registration, physical arrangement, ways and means, socials, transportation and accommodation, documentation and souvenir program, hospitality, finance, research, food, publicity, and awards and certificate during the pre-convention and main convention in an exceptional way.
The APMC Pre-Congress Workshop on Simulations Based Medical Education, Outcome-Based Assessment in Medical Education, Innovative Teaching in Case-Based Learning and Team-Based Learning in Medical Education commenced the first part of the annual convention for the faculty delegates simultaneously.
Dr. Axel Elises of MHAM Simulation Center for Integrated Teaching and Training Innovation Core Group was among the faculty delegates in the Pre-Congress Workshop on Simulations Based Medical Education and who actively participated the lectures on online theoretical content with face to face and hands on activity, among others.
Coming together with the common bond as future doctors in the country, the Matias student delegates were accompanied by Biochemistry Department faculty, Vanessa Fajardo-Nery.
Student Council President, Bryan Jay Carlo A. Paña and External Vice-President and Senior APMC, Pauline Ashley M. Robins represented the MHAM delegation during the entrance of school flags in the opening ceremony.
A venue to develop their leadership skills and potentials in the curriculum which can be useful in the latter life, the Matias future doctors have experienced the opportunity to plunge deeply into the extremely sensitive topics in relation to mental health.
Certainly prevalent among medical institutions here and abroad, today, medical students have experienced mental health issues and struggles brought about by certain factors that need early intervention and get treatment for these issues as early as possible in their careers.
Beaming with the sense of fulfillment for representing MHAM in the national quiz bee competition, four student leaders competed with other quiz bee qualifiers this year namely; Gio Paolo Plete of Insignis, Claudette Somorostro of Vitalis, Carol Tobes of Resiliere and Mark Joseph Villo of Nexus.
A competition among aspiring doctors to measure and assess growth in knowledge, intellectual capabilities and skills in the field of Medicine, the Matias quiz bee competitors were grateful for the opportunity and experience in one of the most anticipated events in the APMC highlights, even if they didn’t make it to land on the top.
In an interview with one of the student delegates and quiz bee competitor, Mark Joseph Villo, he stated that joining the quiz bee in the national scene for the last time was one of the things that he will surely reminisce in the future. A graduating student who is one of the consistent dean’s listers among batch Nexus, Villo is also a recipient of the MHAM Alumni Scholarship (MAS) grant, an unyielding endeavor from generous graduates to support the deserving students in achieving their dreams. For four fruitful years, he is a member of the MHAM Honors Society (MHAHso) who never fails to shine in the honors’ list.
“For the very last time, this year’s participation in the national level has molded me to be future oriented wherein building camaraderie with future colleagues regardless of different perspectives and nationalities can be overwhelming and something to look back to. It was an honor to represent such prestigious competition and encountered the best of the bests in medschool. This competition serves a reminder that pushes me to read and study more as it humbled me more”, Villo said.
A registered nurse by profession prior to his dramatic entry in MHAM, Villo finished his premed degree with a latin honor at St. Paul University Dumaguete. During his first year in MHAM, he was a full scholar under the Don Matias H. Aznar Scholarship (DMAS) grant and ranked third in the dean’s list at the end of the semester. He then became a deserving grantee of the MHAM Alumni Scholarship that he currently availed and maintained his academic ranking on the dean’s list during his second year. Reaping the fruit of his own hardwork coupled with pure labor, he was one of the awardees during the recognition of the dean’s list and new scholars in celebration of the 111th birth anniversary of the founder. Humility aside, Villo was lauded for being the top one among the class of 2019.
Amidst difficulties that he had to bear in pursuit of a noble dream, Villo expressed his gratitude to all the people who have assisted his studies in some way or another, and who became part of his challenging yet rewarding medical journey. “I will surely miss the people behind this tough journey especially to my mothers in MHAM; Dr. Arlene Diaz, Dr. Luditha Pe, Dr. Ma. Luisita Caturza, Dr. Yvonne Lanuza and Aunt Cherry Ann Megio. I am forever grateful to their undying support and assistance because never in my wildest dream that they accepted and took care of me without hesitation in response to my financial constraints. My heart swells with gratefulness to this medical institution who gave me a full scholarship grant and I look forward to that day when I can give back to my Alma Mater in humility and honor”, he added.
At present, this scholar-delegate is assigned at VSMMC as one of the medical clerks and a future instrument of healing and will be conferred as one of the Matias products in a few months time. “For now I just have to be more focused and be determined especially in passing the board exam and I just want to be a good doctor who is capable of healing and become the instrument of grace to those who are in need of my services later on,- the poor”, he concluded.
Meanwhile another set of MHAM gems also vied this year’s APMC National Clinicopathologic Case competition. Led by Athena Mae L. Ibon as the main presenter, Jo-Arabelle B. Stribbles, Gem I. Rodriquez and Vincent Raven R. Sarande also showed their best as the first presenter during the tilt.
The MHAM CPC team bagged the first runner up award during the 7th APMC-SN Visayas Regional Convention that made them a qualifier for the national level.
Well-accommodated in one of Cavite’s leafy grounds and upmarket business hotel, The Bayleaf Cavite, the MHAM delegation also enjoyed their stay and explored some of most admired landmarks near the venue with a mind-blowing view of the legendary Taal Volcano.
Dubbed as ‘ADLAW’, this year’s mental health awareness and promotion of self care theme sparked a challenging mission among medical schools in the country as medical students must be given better mental health support prior to their professional licensure.
Challenged not just to be the light in the dark in the medical field, the future doctors who joined the plenary talks to the turn-over to the 2020 convention host, are also called to become like a sun that keeps the planets in its orbits by creating an environment where values and mental health protection are always safeguarded in the midst of challenging times. Just as they are God’s instruments of healing, they too, are like vessels whose mental health needs to be taken cared of because the doctor’s well-being and patients’ health can become a nation’s wealth. (Ana Liza Abao)