By Markyn Jared Kho (Class 2020)
As part of the ongoing selection for the next Dean of the UP College of Medicine, the Search Committee organized a public forum and presentation of flagship programs by the nominees last Thursday, 19 April 2018 at Buenafe Auditorium.
The three nominees in the running for CM Dean are: Dr. José Florencio Fabella Lapeña, Jr., Dr. Armando C. Crisostomo, and Dr. Charlotte M. Chiong. The public forum was an opportunity for the nominees to each present their plans and flagship programs to the CM and PGH community, as well as for the community to address their concerns and comments directly to the nominees.
After the Invocation and National Anthem, Dr. Tolabing, Chair of the Search Committee, delivered her opening remarks. She emphasized that because the report of the committee on the nominees is critical to the votation of the UP Board of Regents, the committee will deliberately not rank the nominees and provide an unbiased environment during forums and consultants in order to preserve the integrity of the selection process. Additionally, Dr. Tolabing stressed that in the report, “academic merits take precedence over popularity,” and that there is no place for overt campaigning since “it is a selection process, not an election.”
Each of the nominees was given 10 minutes to present the flagship programs they plan to implement should they become Dean. Some of the plans that were mentioned by all three nominees include implementing a more responsive and effective medical curriculum, continuing the much needed rehabilitation of College infrastructure and the construction of the Academic Center, providing a more inclusive and healthy physical and social environment to facilitate better learning, and encouraging collaboration with other medical schools and institutions in the realms of academics, research, and public service delivery.
The first nominee to present was Dr. José Florencio Fabella Lapeña, Jr., Professor of Otorhinolaryngology at UP-PGH, University Scientist III of the UP System, and Chair of the Mentoring Program Committee of UPCM. Dr. Lapeña’s agenda include strengthening the programs and networks of the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine to increase enrollment, providing more financial and non-financial benefits to UPCM faculty, staff, and personnel, encouraging a spirit of professionalism and democracy among medical students through active participation in co- and extracurricular activities, and improving the funding, facilities, and systems to streamline research and publication, especially in Acta Medica Philippina.
Next to present was Dr. Armando C. Crisostomo, Professor of Surgery at UP-PGH and current Associate Dean for Planning and Research of UPCM. Dr. Crisostomo’s presentation, entitled “A Call For Transformative Leadership in Medical Education”, highlighted the importance of strengthening the interprofessional and pedagogic relationships among medical students, faculty, and alumni as it will translate to graduates who can “become future transformative leaders in all fields of the health sector.” Dr. Crisostomo’s flagship programs include establishment of a core faculty who will be trained in delivering the curriculum, creation of a separate Associate Dean for Research to develop a research agenda that is in line with the University agenda, community needs, and capabilities of UPCM community, addressing the growing number of “distressed” medical students by strengthening the counseling and mentoring programs, and active involvement and participation of alumni in educational programs of the College.
Third to present was Dr. Charlotte C. Chiong, Clinical Associate Professor of UPCM, Research Professor at NIH-UPM, and Director of the Philippine National Ear Institute & Newborn Hearing Reference Center at NIH. Dr. Chiong’s presentation, entitled “A Path to Honor, Excellence, and Service to the Nation and the World,” is a response to fulfill the respective charters of the College, University system, and the Philippine General Hospital, as well as the Call to Action from UP Manila Chancellor Dr. Carmencita D. Padilla, who advocates “excellence in academics, research, and public service,” and UP President Danilo L. Concepcion, whose marching order is to “redefine the culture of excellence in the University with honor and compassion”. Dr. Chiong’s plans include establishing the UPCM Center for Graduate Medical Education, Health Innovation, and Translational Medicine and the UP Center for Advanced Medical Care and Academy for Medical Sciences at UP Diliman, advocating the “Six-Star Doctor” to include a spirit of nationalism that is responsive to the needs of the Filipino people, and providing opportunities to medical students to pursue a Master of Medical Science in various clinical and public health tracks in three years while in medical school.
After the presentations, the remainder of the event was an open forum, where members of the UPCM and PGH community voiced their concerns directly to the nominees. Some of the concerns discussed were the position of the administration to all forms of hazing in Greek organizations, to which the nominees all agreed that a zero-tolerance policy must be strictly enforced, and the mismatch of tasks and job security of College administrative personnel and staff, to which the nominees assured that an intra-administration review and intersectoral consultation will be done.
The Search Committee, primarily tasked with fact-finding and gathering information on the nominees, is chaired by CPH Professor Ma. Carmen C. Tolabing. Members of the committee include UP Executive Vice President Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, MSC Representative to the USC Omid Siamard, CAS Assistant Professor Andrea Martinez, University Researcher Mr. Jorel Manalo, and CAMP Administrative Assistant Ms. Rizza Florentino. The committee is currently conducting a series of forums and consultations with various stakeholders of the College, the results of which will be included in a report for the consideration by the UP Board of Regents, whose members will vote for the CM Dean.