Diagnosing Goes Beyond Books in 46th ICPC

By Lorena Osorio (Class 2021)

Photos courtesy of the UP Medical Students’ Society

Participants, speakers, and organizers in the human library morning session.

Medical students from various schools across the country again crossed ideas, working impressions, and final diagnoses in the 46th Interscholastic Clinicopathologic Conference (ICPC), held in UP Manila campus grounds last March 9, 2019.

Organized by the UP Medical Students’ Society (UP MSS) in cooperation with the UPCM-PGH Department of Pathology, the annual event showcases a clinical case diagnosis competition among Philippine medical schools. The event’s theme for the year was “Beyond the Books”, aiming to highlight both the human and academic sides of medicine.

“Medicine is so much more than the daily grind of textbooks, transes, and exams, something we tend to forget when the stress threatens to eat us up,” says Nina Therese Domingo (Class 2021), overall event head. “We wanted to remind our participants that to be good doctors, we have to know that thinking out of the box to explain a patient’s atypical demise is just as important as easing your patient’s worries — both things not exactly written down in Harrison’s or Schwartz or Robbins.”


To demonstrate the dynamic and interactive side of medical practice, a human library was first held in the morning at the Dr. Paz Mendoza Memorial Medical Building. Participants rotated among the rooms and listened to speakers’ stories. The speakers were Dr. Patrick Eustaquio and Mr. Jabar Esmael, who discussed different perspectives on HIV; Mr. F, who talked about struggle and recovery from substance abuse; Dr. Anna Kathrina de Jesus and Dr. Chenery Ann Lim from Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF), who relayed their experiences of treating patients in a war zone; and Dr. Manuel Medina Jr., who talked about handling terminally-ill patients. A synthesis and awarding of certificates to the speakers followed the morning session.

“We wanted to complement the academic nature of a clinicopathologic conference with a lighter morning program that would remind medical students of the human side of medicine,” shares Camille Santico (Class 2024), head of the human library. “Ultimately, the main objective of the human library was to remind medical students that while the medical profession requires highly technical knowledge and skills, it is just as important to cultivate compassion for patients and to learn how to build a good relationship with them.”

Justine Alain Sy, representative of PLM-CM and winner of the Best Speaker Award.

The afternoon session, held in the Auditorium at the College of Public Health Annex Building and hosted by Patricia Arevalo (Class 2023) and Jom Kimpo (Class 2023), kicked off with the National Anthem and invocation led by the UP Medicine Choir (UP MedChoir).

After a briefing on competition rules and the presentation of the case by Iris Ditan (Class 2021), the competition proper commenced. Representatives from each of the different schools summarized pertinent details of the case, discussed how their teams worked on their differentials, and defended their final diagnoses. A short Q&A session followed after each presentation, led by judges Mark Anthony Sandoval, MD, Teresita Dumagay, MD, and Celia Catherine Uy-Agbayani, MD.

This year’s competing schools were the following: Far Eastern University-Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation (FEU-NRMF) Institute of Medicine, University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (UST-FMS), Cebu Doctors’ University College of Medicine (CDU-CM), University of Visayas Gullas College of Medicine (UV-GCM), Brokenshire College-School of Medicine (BC-SM), University of St. La Salle-College of Medicine (USLS-CM), University of Perpetual Help-Dr. Jose G. Tamayo Medical University (UPH-DJGTMU), Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila-College of Medicine (PLM-CM), San Beda University-College of Medicine (SBU-CM), and Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH).

Dr. Jenny Atun from the PGH-Department of Pathology presenting the histopathologic diagnosis.

After the presentations of all the competing teams, pathologist Jenny Maureen Atun, MD proceeded to discuss postmortem findings of the case.  As was usual in the ICPC, contestants and non-participant members of the audience alike listened with bated breath as she presented the details before arriving at the final histopathologic diagnosis.

Awarding of certificates to the judges and Dr. Atun followed, given by MSS president Pia Veronica Arevalo (Class 2021) and ICPC overall head Nina Therese Domingo (Class 2021).

MSS President Pia Arevalo and overall ICPC organizer Nina Domingo, with the representatives of PLM-CM, victors of the 46th ICPC, and judges Dr. Teresita Dumagay, Dr. Celia Catherine Uy-Agbayani, and Dr. Mark Anthony Sandoval.

The judges were once again called to the stage to explain how they selected the winners of the competition. Finally, the victors were announced. PLM-CM won the Best Speaker Award as well as Best in Visual Presentation. USLS-CM won second runner-up, UST-FMS won first runner-up, and PLM-CM was awarded champion.

Overall, this year’s ICPC aimed to go beyond the typical clinicopathologic conference.

“Our goal for ICPC this year was to make it bigger in general,” says Domingo. “So for ICPC 46, we had contestants from all over the country, with 40% flying in from Visayas and Mindanao. That’s a big change from our usual roster which has almost if not all schools coming from Luzon.


“We also deviated from the usual morning lecture symposium. In line with our theme this year, we had a human library featuring both patients and doctors as speakers. This style of talks was adopted to promote a more “story sharing” environment as opposed to the usual info-feeding style of a lecture.”

She also expressed her gratitude for everyone who helped make the event happen. “Thank you so much and congratulations to my core team for making ICPC happen!!! Thank you also to UP MSS for the support and for trusting me to head this event <3”

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