UPCM Dominates Competition at Chiang Mai University International Medical Challenge

By Isabel Fernando (Class 2022)
Photo courtesy of CMU International Medical Challenge

The University of the Philippines College of Medicine (UPCM), represented by Allan John R. Barcena (Class 2022), Frinz Moey C. Rubio (Class 2020), and Linnaeus Louisse A. Cruz (Class 2021), bagged the championship at the Chiang Mai University International Medical Challenge, held last July 12 to 15, 2019, in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The Chiang Mai University International Medical Challenge is the annual academic competition held by the university. This year’s contest brought medical students from around the world together to showcase their knowledge on the theme “Basic to Clinical Physiology”.

When asked about how they prepared for the competition, Allan Barcena, from the UPCM team, shared: “We were given a list of references that will cover basic to clinical physiology. The list included books that we are very familiar with, such as Guyton, Berne & Levy, Harrison’s, and Nelson.” He mentioned that they employed their usual strategy of covering the basics, and then dividing the organ systems among themselves, based on their strengths. “We thought that we can be a bit extra on certain topics that we really love, that way it’s going to be easier for one to recall even the harder concepts and rarer differentials.”

At the competition proper, all of the teams first had to go through an exam-type Qualifying Round, with each team member’s correct answer counting towards a total team score. The top 16 teams, divided into 2 pools, would qualify for the Semi-final Round, after which the top 4 teams (plus a team from a bonus Revival Round) would head into the Final. During the Semi-Final Round, the UPCM team tied with Chula University for first place in their pool, qualifying them for the Final Round.

The Final Round itself had three different formats, each narrowing down the number of teams still in play. First was The Agent, where each team would send in one member. With each incorrect answer, the representative would be eliminated, and the questions would continue until a team ran out of members to send in. Team UPCM sent in Linnaeus Cruz, who was able to hold his spot until the contest moved on. 

Hidden Clues was the next format, where clues to the question would slowly be revealed as teams rushed to answer correctly. UPCM gave an impressive performance, answering the given question after only one revealed clue, catapulting them into the endgame with Chula University (CU1) and Thammasat University (MEDTU).

In Diagnosis, the remaining teams earned points from preceding bonus questions and spent points to request for lab results, before coming up with a final diagnosis based on the given cases. UPCM went into the first case with 2750 points, but was unable to answer the case after spending on labs. This brought them to 2nd place, after MEDTU, who went with the strategy of hardly spending any points to aid their diagnosis. 

The second and final case was more challenging, and Team UPCM spent as much points as they could, while MEDTU maintained their strategy. In the end, looking at as many lab results possible paid off, and UPCM took the championship with 3550 points. MEDTU and CU1 took 1st and 2nd runners up, with 2100 and 350 points respectively. 

Frinz Rubio, who is on his last year as a competitor for UPCM, comments: “It felt great and awesome to represent the College and win an International Competition. I am also honored to be part of this team that I have been with for a year with Allan, and 2 years with Linius… To my schoolmates in UPCM, study your patients. They are our greatest teachers.”

Congratulations once more to this stellar team! You are an inspiration to us all!

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