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Newsletter Simulation & Research Center

The Foundation of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

Anargyroi is an independent foundation for the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, its sole and exclusive beneficiary, that envisions herself as a dynamic and highly reputable organization recognized for its ethical governance of resources.

In order to promote allegiance and systematically manage resources in perpetuity, she intends to accomplish the excellent initiatives of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery by raising and managing donations that exclusively support the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and her initiatives influencing administration, faculty, students, support staff and patients.

The UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery is the oldest and biggest school of Medicine in the country. Each year, since its foundation in 1879, she has produced a good number of graduates. From a handful in her origins to 500 at present. One can count close to 40,000 M.Ds. in its 150 years of existence. A remarkable contribution to the Philippines by which we can genuinely entertain a sentiment of pride for a well-done job.

As we witness year after year how our graduates are greeted with an immense joy by family and friends, the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery feels what an important contribution it makes to the individual lives of young ambitious men and women and what impact these doctors can make in the Philippine society.

The cry “I am a Thomasian,” reverberates, as in unison, our graduates solemnly recite the oath of allegiance to their Alma Mater.

Some of these alumni will form everlasting relationships with their colleagues and with their Alma Mater. Others will take the diploma, say goodbye, and leave, never to come back.

Regardless of their personal involvement in the affairs of their school, all can claim the ownership of the title “Thomasian Alumnus/a.” The Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Santo Tomas proudly acknowledges all her graduates, regardless of personal sentiments, and she opens her portals to welcome them.

Along the years, particularly on significant dates, either on jubilee celebrations, or centennial and sesquicentennial commemorations, there have been initiatives to associate particular classes, regional, or national chapters, not only in the Philippines but also in other countries in which the diaspora of Thomasian doctors have established their residence and practice. Some have been successful, others not so much. We equally thank all  of them.

What can we do for our Alma Mater? This question has been met with different initiatives, individual and corporative. The USTMAA of the Philippines, USTMAAA in the United States, each one in its own way, has responded within their own capabilities and in accord with the objectives of their respective associations.

Seven years ago, just as we were starting to plan for the celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, an offer was presented to the FMS from a group of alumni who had been helping the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in different ways. As they found themselves surmounting the pinnacle of their career, they cast a retrospective glance to the years of their formation and gratefully decided to  do something for their struggling Alma Matter.

To the question, what can we do for our Alma Mater, an immediate answer was provided, to give back. This was the spark that triggered the creation of the Anargyroi, a name that slowly has made inroads in the minds and hearts of some of our alumni.

Countless exchanges between the visionaries and the officers of the University were undertaken to allow the fledging bird to rise. Like all grand dreams, the hard reality soon confronted us with the ground hurdles. Anargyroi has had to struggle. However, the needs of FMS and its faith on our Alumni have never ceased to spur us and to sustain our expectations.

Aware of the fact that new ideas and institutions, besides surprise, expectation and enthusiasm convoke an equal aggregate of reticence, objection and perhaps opposition, we deem it appropriate to come out with some explanations:

  • Obviously, we did not have the slightest idea how to go about. While groping in darkness, we entrusted ourselves into the stewardship of more experienced guides who patiently have steered us through the rough path.
  • A gap has made communications quite difficult. The physical and perhaps the emotional distance between our consultants and us, have made it necessary the exchange of numerous messages and calls, not always properly synchronized.
  • The long lockdown of the country, which has so deeply affected the regular transactions of university affairs has been irksome, even frustrating not only to our partners but to us who are at the home base.
  • Not to count the innumerable requirements of the government agencies.

At present, with a well-established Development Office, with the structures acquiring shape, with donations slowly picking up, with some successful projects, we were ready to reap the fruits of a long-awaited harvest.

Unfortunately, something went wrong!

What has happened? My good friend, Saint Teresa de Jesus, who built 17 foundations in the midst of a misogynist 16th century Spain, with the hounds of the Inquisition scrutinizing all her moves, without a single centavo in her pocket, when faced to a situation similar to the one we are facing now, she had this ingenuous explanation: “When You, Lord, want to give courage, how little do all contradictions matter! Rather, it seems I am encouraged by them, thinking that since the devil is beginning to be disturbed the Lord will be served in that foundation.”  (Saint Teresa of Avila, The Book of her Foundations).

Yes, my dear friends. I am convinced that Anargyroi is the Foundation of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Santo Tomas. It is a providential development, a good work by which God and  fellow men will be well served.

If you love your Alma Mater, if you are grateful for your Thomasian education, if God has blessed you with a most noble profession, you must not allow this work to fail.

We pray through our patron saints, Cosmas, and Damian, the true Anargyroi, the penniless physicians who offered their services to the poor and needy, and who underwent martyrdom as testimony of their commitment, will forgive us.

We humbly appeal to your good hearts. Put away all differences. Trust yourselves, trust us. This is for your Alma Mater, the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Santo Tomas.

Fr. Angel Aparicio, O. P.
Regent

Categories
Fundraising Newsletter Sesquicentennial Anniversary Simulation & Research Center

No Time to Waste

In the hospital, every second counts, and every decision made in those seconds may result to someone’s respite, or immediate demise.

It takes mental fortitude and acuity to provide lifesaving, critical care. In a matter of moments, a misdiagnosis, or treatment done in haste and uncertainty can cost one more than “simple learning”.

It’s easy to say that the best way to learn is through experience, but it should not come with a cost, especially when it interferes with a patient’s safety and well-being. Not only that, even the fear among students to cause undue stress or harm greatly affect one’s ability to learn.

This is especially detrimental in basic, yet essential procedures wherein it is only mastered through repetitive experience and training.  Even in highly specialized fields like, anesthesiology and critical care, it is only through experience where you can develop the level of fastidiousness in noticing miniscule changes throughout an operation or stay of a critical care patient.

Dr. Larry King has been long aware of what Thomasian medical education is, for even before graduating as part of Class ’90, he was a medical technology graduate from UST. This had certainly given him an edge in medical school as it was not to be his first time stepping into the hospital.  Some procedures his classmates were just trying to learn, he was already capable and licensed to do. Although, even with his prior knowledge and experience, there was still a gap he experienced as a clerk.

 

So how can we bridge theoretical learning and clinical skills?

Dr. King, a sought-after anesthesiologist and critical care medicine practitioner, still remembers the time he and his groupmate first stepped in the hospital as clerks in their newly minted clerk uniforms, confidently armed with three years’ worth of theories and concepts. However, this confidence soon waivered when his groupmate was asked to “exchange position, back-to-back”, she simply just stared (in terror) while assisting one of the top obstetricians in the country. The whole class broke into laughter when she was reaching for the retractor while pushing her back against the OB. Dr. King still remembers how his groupmate felt like the most stupid clerk then.

“This would not have happened if we already had the simulation laboratory back then”, Dr. King remarked.

Dr. Larry King is well-respected in the field of critical care, his practice of anesthesiology does not simply confine him in the operating room. A loyal Thomasian doctor, he took up his internship and residency in UST Hospital. Soon after his fellowship in Surgical Intensive Care at Singapore General Hospital, Dr. King held key positions in several hospitals and organizations. He is currently part of the Board of Examiners in the Philippine Board of Anesthesiology. Dr. King has also spearheaded several new programs in UST-FMS, which includes the establishment of the Learning-Enhanced Accelerated Program for Medicine (LeapMed). A program that is focused on basic human sciences than any existing premedical courses and highly competitive as it  allows students at a little over two years to be formally admitted to the Doctor of Medicine program.

Aside from this, Dr. King has been a key figure in UST-FMS Life Support Training Center (LSTC), he was the coordinator for the Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) from 2010 to 2012. He was later appointed as the International Training Center Coordinator, and almost simultaneously appointed by the American Heart Association as the Regional Faculty in the Asia-Pacific Region.

AHA Heartsaver First Aid Course at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherland (2018)
(Credit to UST-FMS Life Support Training Center)

For the last few years, the UST-FMS LSTC has been lauded by the AHA for its achievements, leading several trainings in the Asia-Pacific Region. The Center has also received personal acknowledgement from Mr. Robert Wales, the international program development manager of AHA, and subsequently receiving a special award for the Center’s role in disseminating these life-saving lessons. This is credited to simulation learning used in all its courses. As early as 2009, the Center’s proven track record has allowed its expansion from providing BLS to its recent addition, Airway Management Course- which then FMS Dean, Dr. Jesus Valencia, sought to expand the success of this Center to bigger and wider scale.

3rd Year Medical Students of UST AHA BLS PROVIDER'S COURSE (2018)
(Credit to UST-FMS Life Support Training Center)

 

With his expertise, Dr. King has led this initiative by visiting top medical schools, including the National University of Singapore, as early as 2017. The Sts. Cosmas and Damian Simulation and Research Center has undergone several changes, as consultations he did to other medical schools have resulted to an improved and at pace technological advancements. In addition to leading the Simulation Laboratory project, Dr. King also has an active role in the fundraising committee.

Of the seven floors of the St. Cosmas and Damian Simulation Laboratory and Research Center, three floors have been dedicated solely for simulation learning. There are model intensive care units, wards, clinics, and operating theater that is designed not only to mimic but simulate what truly happens in each setting. Each of these specialized rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art low, medium, and high-fidelity manikins; not only will these manikins be able to simulate several scenarios, but difficulty level may also be adjusted to a student’s capability. There will also be cameras that allow recording and active monitoring from the control room allowing students and teachers to have an in-depth review of improvements can be made even after simulation. A one-way mirror allows the additional learners to watch ongoing procedures, thus increasing awareness by simply observing.

 

One may argue that nothing beats clinical experiences with real patients, however, this is not meant to replace that, it is simply to supplement, bridge a student’s knowledge to clinical skills.

As the celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery continues, preparations must be done to expand horizons in preparation for the next 150 years-- there is no time to waste.

Categories
Fundraising Newsletter Sesquicentennial Anniversary Simulation & Research Center

Thomasians: Pioneers Then, Pioneers Now

It is easy for one to draw inspiration from stories we have heard or read. We often dress up as characters, mostly heroes and heroines from books, movies, and even people around us. Sometimes, it is through introduction to these people where we find our answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, “I want to be a fire fighter!”, “I want to be an astronaut”, “I want to be a doctor!”. However, these answers change as we grow older. A number of us do not grow up to be what we initially wanted as kids—although, some of us are truly set from the beginning.

This was not the case with Dr. Charles C. Cuaso, one of the first interventional pediatric cardiologists in the country and a proud Thomasian Doctor of Class ’71.

When asked if he always knew that he wanted to be doctor, Dr. Cuaso was forthright in saying, “there was no specific time or event, it was gradual”. He only had one relative from his mother side who was a doctor, and he was the first one from his father’s side to pursue it. So when he expressed his intention to take up medicine, there was hesitation from his father.

This initial disapproval did not stop him from enrolling in UST. From his pre-medicine course to medical school, Dr. Cuaso chose UST-FMS and eventually graduated Cum Laude Meritissimus in 1971. He was equally forthcoming on how he decided on his specialty, he simply said, “I was enamored by an article”. He was always fascinated with the heart, especially its abnormality, more so, among children than adults. It was around his first or second year in medical school when he chanced upon an article written by Dr. William Rashkind, who was widely considered as the Father of Interventional Cardiology, who at that time, was studying non-surgical options for treating heart defects, and then had recently published an article about balloon atrial septostomy (BAS). This procedure, putting a hole in the heart, enamored Dr. Cuaso and inspired him to pursue further education in the States. He had his residency in State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, then he went to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for his fellowship because this was where Dr. Rashkind was based, and was later invited as a staff in the same hospital.

How often do we meet our heroes in real life? What are the chances that we are able to work with them? From seeing him in pages, to collaborating with him in developing techniques for non-surgical treatment options. Dr. Cuaso was fortunate enough to being credited alongside Dr. Rashkind on the official Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website. He worked side by side with Dr. Rashkind in developing the transcatheter closure of PDA that appeared in an article in 1979, wherein they performed the procedure on the smallest infant then that weighed only 3.5 kilograms- a ground-breaking procedure at the time.

One might say that Dr. Cuaso is a man of his words. As a promise to his father, Dr. Cuaso returned to the country and taught in his Alma Mater. He was an assistant professor for over three decades teaching pediatric cardiology. Curiously enough, he could have easily focused on his practice, so when asked why he decided to teach, he said “I live by the adage, ‘see one, do one, teach one’.” Not only does he find joy in teaching and interacting with students, for him, the greatest reward is to see his students be inspired by him, and, hopefully also surpass him.

As forthcoming as Dr. Cuaso comes, his humility will not escape you. For him, in the end, it will always be about the patients, thus, titles and fame never concerned him. His greatest achievement, and was said matter-of-factly, “I performed the first Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) closure in the Philippines”. This was at the time when surgery was the only widely accepted treatment option of PDA in the country. However, he was dismayed that he had to perform this procedure in another private hospital as UST then was unequipped to handle such.

So when asked why he went back to UST, he responded that UST has that moral environment which for him was very important, especially among its faculty. Similarly, this was the reason why he joined Anargyroi: FMS Foundation, Inc. (AFI).  What attracted him the most was the support it had for the faculty members, as he was one before. For him, he is grateful of what UST-FMS has provided him, and the achievements it has had for the last 150 years; however, he acknowledges that relying alone on past achievement or laurels is not enough to retain its prestige as the top medical school in the country and to remain competitive in a global landscape.

This is why Dr. Charles Cuaso fervently believes in the establishment of the Sts. Cosmas and Damian Simulation and Research Center, a 7-floor edifice, which will allow both the faculty and students to have the environment and support they need to excel, and hopefully, establish “the firsts” in the country and in the region—as it always had in the past. “Reactive and Proactive”, is how Dr. Cuaso describes the creation of this Center. Reactive as it fulfills the current needs, as well as the gaps uncovered in virtual/hybrid learning. Proactive, because having this state-of-the-art building equipped with high-fidelity Manikins will simulate different and difficult scenarios.

Fundraising Committee Weekly Tuesday Meetings with Consultant Mayan Quebral.

Thus, not only has he been a strong and generous sponsor of AFI, he has also reluctantly accepted to head the Fundraising Committee of this noble project. As daunting as this task may be, Dr. Cuaso has maintained that the best way to give back to his Alma Mater, was to assure its continuance of its legacy. What could be better than establishing its cornerstone for another 150 years? Many have already reached out on how they can contribute, and so far, a gracious few have already delivered.

There is still a long way to go in realizing this ambitious project, and FMS is counting on its alumni.

A show of love and loyalty for one’s Alma Mater can ensure a long and lasting legacy.

 

 

Categories
Fundraising Newsletter Simulation & Research Center

To Give Back

The stakeholders of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of UST have always shown in one way or another their solidarity with their Alma Mater, especially in crucial times.

On the occasion of its sesquicentennial celebration in 2021, the Faculty has undertaken a bold step towards the modernization of its academic life and the renovation of its facilities. Fortunately, we count on visionary leaders, a well-prepared faculty roster, and a talented body of students.

We have always relied on the University to respond to the demands of a progressive school of medicine in the country. However, aware of the increasing challenges of modern medicine and the multiple needs of the University at present times, we thought that the sesquicentennial celebration, the 150 years of service to the Filipino people, would sound a chord in the minds and hearts of our alumni.

When the project for a new building to house the Research Center for Medicine and the Simulation Laboratory was presented to the University, the Board of Trustees of the University favorably endorsed it but owing to the great finances involved, we were entrusted to start a Fund-raising campaign to help shoulder the cost.

Providentially, by that time, we had already been approached by a selected group of medical alumni wiling to help in the establishment of an independent foundation exclusively dedicated to the support of their Alma Mater, the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.

After a couple of years of negotiations with the University authorities, the go signal was granted and now, we have the Anargyroi: FMS Foundation Inc. (AFI).

On the celebration of the USTMAAA annual gathering in San Francisco last September 2-5, 2021, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Ma. Lourdes Maglinao, M.D., was in attendance during the meeting of USTMAAA Foundation where a proposal for a substantial contribution in exchange for the naming rights of the Simulation and Research building was made.

Unfortunately, after an initial enthusiastic response, the proposal did not materialize, which has caused some disappointment on our side and change of direction to our initial plans to have USTMAAA as a major partner in the project.

Though disappointed, we are not discouraged, as we rely on the good will of our large alumni and other potential benefactors willing to continue helping our project generously and disinterestedly.

One hundred and fifty years of such institution deserves a second thought. In difficult and in good times, the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery will continue nurturing the dreams of young men and women willing to serve their fellow Filipinos.

It is true that to whom much is given, much is expected from, but the proverbial “two coins” of the Gospel’s widow metaphor will inspire us to persist in our prayers and expectations. May God bless you all.

Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P. Regent

October 22, 2021

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Fundraising Newsletter Simulation & Research Center

In the Fullness of Time

Article and Photos by Ma. Lourdes Maglinao, M.D.

I received an invitation earlier this year from Dr. Gerry Flores to attend the USTMAAA Convention & Grand Reunion to be held in San Francisco, California on September 1-6, 2021. The 2020 Convention and Grand Reunion was cancelled due to the pandemic and with the current record-breaking reported COVID cases, my apprehension was apparent, but this never made me decide otherwise to attend the 2021 event. Proudly, I was a celebrator myself, being a member of Class ’86, excited to see my classmates, and as in previous years that I have attended USTMAAA Homecomings, the eagerness to meet, greet, update, and express my gratitude is an event I would not want to miss. Meeting our US-based alumni in-person is the least I could do to express our profuse gratitude for the support they have given our Alma Mater.

I attended the meetings of USTMAAA/F and presented FMS updates, provided copies of Anargyroi: FMS Foundation, Inc. Annual Report and rendered a presentation at the Town Hall. I was joined by Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., UST Rector Magnificus, via Zoom, and Rev. Fr. Julius Paul Factora, O.P., the new CEO of the UST Hospital, who was also in the United States for a UST Nursing Alumni event. Aside from the annual FMS St. Dominic’s Scholarship fund, USTMAAA/F spearheaded by Dr. Stella Evangelista, Dr. Gerry Flores and Dr. Jess Chua, was able to raise the pledged $1 Million for the Sts. Cosmas & Damian Simulation & Research Center. The weekly (Sunday) Zoom meetings which started at the height of the pandemic in July 2020 with Dr. Gerry Flores, Dr. Jess Chua and myself, actively rallying for this project, have gained momentum, increased awareness and engagement of our alumni classes directed towards this lofty and most noble project. Special thanks to the Class of 1962 through Dr. Anselmo Unite, who donated $151,725 for the project. I am very eager to know all the classes or individuals who made the $1 Million a reality, to acknowledge their contribution and to extend our heartfelt gratitude on behalf of our medical school.

Gratitude also to the UST Medical Alumni Association in Southern California (USTMAASC), through Dr. Sal Abiera who gave towards our UST FMS Community Project; Tau Mu Sigma Phi Foundation for the gracious invitation to speak at their business meeting and reiterated their pledge and full support to the Simulation and Research Center Project; Theta Lambda Phi Foundation (my very own beloved sorority), for the “sisterhood” breakfast gathering in San Francisco. They have conscientiously raised, donated, and are still working towards further augmentation of their target donation.

I had the great privilege of meeting with the Anargyroi: FMS Foundation, Inc. founders, Drs. Peter and Linda Fang, the foundation for and which exclusively supports the projects and programs of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. Its establishment is by far one of the best things that had happened to the medical school.

Acknowledgement goes to every person who by far has supported us and I appreciate every Thomasian alumnus who shared and believed in this Simulation and Research Center project, being faithful in their commitment, sharing their blessings, untiring in their support and magnanimity for the advancement of Thomasian medical education to keep us at par with the world’s best. I earnestly hope to be able to personally thank each and everyone of you!

The Sts. Cosmas & Damian Simulation & Research Center will soon be a reality, a milestone that will usher us to a future that will perpetuate the Thomasian brand of excellence in Medicine. WE WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN!

We are set to break grounds anew for this landmark project in early 2022. AFI will publicly launch our campaign in the coming weeks. To those interested in sharing or giving, you may reach us at Development Office, the implementing arm of  Anargyroi: FMS Foundation, Inc., located at  Room 118 St. Martin de Porres Building, University of Santo Tomas, España, Manila, Philippines 1008, at (+63 2) 8553 1611 loc. 8566, or email at developmentoffice@anargyroifoundation.org look for Annette Ward, Executive Director of the Development Office. Naming opportunities are available to commemorate/immortalize or pay tribute to an individual or class.

Let us know how we can assist you.