The UST Medical Alumni Association launched its USTMAAalalay program on May 2019. This is an accompanying program of the Alumni which aims to bring together the alumni and USTFMS’ medical students through various programs. ALALAY is an acronym for “Alay, Lingap, Aruga, Lingkod, Akbay , Yakap”. Various activities have been identified to foster camaraderie, and a sense of belongingness. Apart from the yearly homecomings the alumni look forward to, USTMAA has initiated activities to let its alumni and the medical students feel the love of the Tomasinong Manggagagamot. The freshmen are welcomed with a ceremonial pinning of the nameplates during their orientation day. The Alumni Association has supported the medical students’ advocacies and Welcome walk and baccalaureate activities. Along with the UST FMS Administration, USTMAA has been part of the send-off mass and activities as the Thomasians take the Physician Licensure Examinations. Part of the PLE kit are rosaries, pencils, sharpeners and small notes of encouragement dubbed as NAKS ( Notes from Ates and Kuyas) from the medical alumni. Initiated by Class 1986, the El Fuego Tomasino, a festive bonfire ceremony is held to welcome the new Thomasian doctors and board topnotchers, a week after the PLE result is out. USTMAA likewise forms a network of referrals for the doctors as they pursue their medical careers here or in different parts of the world. As part pf providing medical service to the alumni, home visits are also done to those who are physically incapacitated because of their illness.
To serve or “magLIngkod”, has been one of the foremost objectives of USTMAA. Numerous medical missions and outreach programs are conducted every year. Under the leadership of Dr. George Co, portable sinks have been distributed to partner communities of USTFMS in Navotas. There is no stopping to respond to the call. Even the lingering and hovering pandemic and disastrous events as typhoons and floods did not deter the alumni from extending their helping hand to those in need. The COVID 19 Pandemic has tested the solidarity of the Thomasian medical alumni. As protective personal equipment were scarce at the onset of the pandemic,, the TOMASINONG MD LABAN SA COVID 19 (USTMAA TLC) was conceived. A call to raise funds to purchase PPEs was made on March 15, 2020. The USTMAAA, through Dr. Gerry Flores, immediately organized meetings to heed to the call. Soon enough, donations from Thomasian medical alumni from different parts of the country and the US, Australia, Guam started pouring in. Students from the different colleges, people from nowhere called and shared. Even the different alumni associations, such as the UST Nursing Alumni, and Engineering Alumni contributed to the cause. PPEs were purchased and sent to healthcare personnel in 151 institutions as far north in Cagayan Valley and down South in Zamboanga, and Marawi City. Tomasinong manggagamot everywhere donated goggles, face shields, hazmats, gloves, gallons of alcohol. Food packs and PPEs were given to the healthcare workers of the UST Hospital. Getting through checkpoints, the USTMAA Board of Directors, and volunteer alumni distributed goods to the different hospitals in Luzon. Our Tomasinong MDs could not be more grateful for the thoughtfulness and the care. Boxes of PPEs were sent to Visayas and Mindanao through the different USTMAA chapters with the help of Armed Forces of the Philippines. During the pandemic, several USTMAA chapters were organized – Palawan and Quezon Province. At the moment, these are the four USTMAA chapters: Cebu, Western Visayas, Central Luzon, Olongapo-Zambales-Bataan. It is hoped that other chapters in Baguio and Batangas be reactivated, and other groups launched such as SOCCKSARGEN, Eastern Visayas, Bicol, Ilocos Region and Isabela-Cagayan valley, Davao and Zamboanga.
Recognizing the vital role of protecting the anesthesiologists during intubation at the height of the pandemic, Class 1970 donated a video laryngoscope to the USTH Department of Anesthesia.
Paglingap - to care. Together with 2020 UST Medical Student Council President, John Knight Gulla, USTMAA President Jocelyn Z. Mariano, M.D., and president-elect Jocelyn Myra Caja, M.D. went to the dormitories around UST distributing health care kits to ninety-three medical students, clerks and interns who were stranded and could not go home at the start of the pandemic. To help the Thomasian MDs resume limited face-to-face consultations, the “Balik Klinika, Balik Kalinga “ Project was launched. A starter kit with face masks, face shield and isolation gown was distributed to the doctors’ clinics. Families of fallen alumni due to COVID19 were given some financial assistance as well.
The last quarter of 2020 had USTMAA gathering its members through webinars which talked about Loving Thyself During the Pandemic The newly installed CEO of the UST Hospital opened the webinar . Alumni who recovered from COVId 19 shared their stories. Dr. Fareda Flores, a neuro-psychiatrist based in Cebu, taught the audience how to love oneself. The November webinar had alumni from different areas of practice give light on which fields Thomasian medical graduates can get into. Dr. Patrick Moral talked of getting into residency training in the Philippines while Dr. Ma. Isabelita Maligaya Estrella shared her thoughts on government service. Drs.Lucio Margallo , Ed Cabigao and Bryan Lo talked on how to get to the US Residency Training program, with highlights of their experience during residency. Dr. Kat Mendoza delved on her UK experience in her pediatric residency training journey. Dr. Dina Jose enthused the alumni to go into Research. Dr. Juan Garchitorena shared his experience with the Doctor to the Barrio Program. The December Virtual Concert Original Thomasian Physician Music showed the musicality of the Thomasian doctors. Original compositions sang by different batches raised funds for the USTMAAalalay program.
The University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery has indeed nurtured this breed of committed, competent, and compassionate Thomasian doctors responding to whatever challenge it faces. The pandemic has not stopped the USTMAA to give, to share, to love, and to care .
Ang USTMAA: Handang USTMAAalalay sa bawat Tomasinong Manggagamot.
Jocelyn Zamora Mariano, M.D. , Class 1989
President, USTMAA 2020-2021