by Charity Joyce Santos (Class 2020)
Last February 22, 2018, the Regionalization Students Organization (RSO) held part two of the talk series Timpuyog.
The second part of the series, called “Specialists in the Community”, concentrated on how our Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) have come to decide to practice in the community, their ups and downs, and their amusing anecdotes. The speakers were husband-and-wife Dr. Jennifer Ann Mendoza-Wi and Dr. Zenaides Wi, graduates of UP College of Medicine Class 1976. Dr. Jennifer, a pulmonologist, and Dr. Zenaides, an otorhinolaryngologist, enthusiastically discussed their practices being specialists in Dagupan, Pangasinan.
The event opened with an interfaith prayer, followed by a convocation and National Anthem led by the UP MedChoir. The event’s hosts were Clyde Silverio (Class 2020) from CARAGA Region and Christine Alexis Dinopol (Class 2020), from Region XII.
In his opening remarks, RSO adviser and Regionalization Program Committee Chair Dr. Abdel Jeffri Abdullah welcomed the audience, expressed gratitude to the speakers, and jokingly remarked on the Regionalization Program (RP) students’ attendance. Dr. Isidro Sia and Dr. Belen dela Paz from Community Medicine, and Dr. Jose Gonzales, previous Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Director, were also present during the talk.
Dr. Jennifer began with a presentation of cases with common conditions she has encountered in the past years, such as tuberculosis. Patients, she said, will present with various manifestations, from classic to uncommon. Developing a clinical eye is important but takes years of practice.
She then discussed about the trials of practicing in the community, which includes meddling in politics and battling financial challenges. It has its own sense of reward as well, as it is a profession of giving back and serving to the community. She is also able to be in her hometown, stay in the beautiful islands of Pangasinan, and spend time at home.
Finally, she acclaimed how UP offers the best medical education because of the students’ many opportunities to see actual patients and gave much emphasis on being able to recognize conditions clinically.
Dr. Zenaides opened his talk by sharing a bit of his and Dr. Jennifer’s love story and other anecdotes of his years in medical school. He challenged the students to try to give back to the community and be with the people. To overcome the challenges in practicing in the community, he advised the audience to work in a team, whether from a same batch, organization, or simply with a fellow physician, to attend to the community’s needs.
On the open forum that followed, several inquiries were raised on practicing as a specialist in a community where there are barely general physicians, and addressing intimidation from the political sphere, among others. Both speakers took the time to be able to clearly express their views on these and ending with an inspiring note to serve our fellow Filipinos.
The last segment was a closing remark from Dr. Sia expounding on achieving our duties as Filipinos by living as good citizens in addition to being physicians serving the nation.
Timpuyog was overall a valuable talk that allowed medical students to hear stories and realize possible steps after getting the “M.D.” and be challenged by the established physicians serving in the community.
Stemming from an Ilokano word which means gathering, assembly, or meeting, the first of the two-part talk was held last November. This “Physicians in the Community” segment featured Doctor-to-the-Barrios’ (DTTB) Dr. Wendel Tupas- Marcelo, from Carles, Ilo-ilo and Dr. Jacqueline Momville, from Sabtang, Batanes, who shared their stories and encouragement as they talked about “Buhay DTTB”.
Timpuyog, open for all medical students, offered an opportunity for medical students to listen to physicians practicing in communities. One of its objectives is to embolden not only students under the Regionalization Program (RP) to practice in their own provinces or municipalities, but also non-RP students who want to serve in other areas of our country.
photos by Charity Joyce Santos