The Health Exemplars
She could have stayed abroad after her intensive training there and most likely, she would have had a successful medical career in the land of honey and green bucks; but Dr. Faith Guirnela-Go never had any doubt in her mind that going back to serve her own home town was the right thing to do. And there’s never any day that she regretted that decision
By Gelyka Ruth R. Dumaraos
She believes that giving back should start where one comes from.
Dr. Faith Guirnela-Go, a cum laude graduate of the University of Santo Tomas Batch 1963, would have had a good career as an internist-cardiologist in the United States after years of intensive residency and fellowship training in Rhode Island General Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island after graduation.
Noting her sterling performance as a resident and later on as fellow, she was offered opportunities to develop her medical career in the United States. Instead, she opted not to be enticed by the greener pastures the US offered, and went back to serve the place she calls home.
Although she remains grateful to this day for having the opportunity to be immersed in the other country’s culture and advanced knowledge on healthcare, the years of being away were simply nostalgic years, painful to a point that there was no doubt in her mind, the wiser decision was to start her clinical practice in her own country.
Then and up to now, she sees the big gap in healthcare that needs to be filled. She wants to do her share in filling in this healthcare gap. This was where she was needed, and this was where she’ll stay, she told herself.
It’s now close to 50 years when she made that decision, and there was never a day when she regretted it.
In Oroquieta City, a small but dynamic city in Misamis Occidental, Dr. Go is well known. One of her patients proudly says that Dr. Go’s name is already equated with compassionate medical care. From the time she opened her clinic in 1968 up to now, she has been at the forefront of internal medicine and cardiology practice in the city. She was one of the pioneers who were fellows of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) and the Philippine College of Cardiology (PCC).
Aside from these organizations, Dr. Go is an active member of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and a past president of Misamis Occidental Medical Society-Oroquieta Chapter, as well as the Philippine Heart Association-Northwestern Mindanao Chapter.
She is also affiliated with St. Therese Hospital at Misamis Occidental Provincial Hospital in Oroquieta City.
One notable feather on the cap of Dr. Go was her being president of the Foundation for Lay Education on Heart Diseases, (FLEHD) Inc., Misamis Occidental Chapter.
Dr. Adolfo Bellosillo, a colleague since 1969 and founding president of FLEHD Inc., enthusiastically attests to the hard work, empathy for patients and deeply rooted passion Dr. Go has shown since she came back.
She was at the forefront in the Foundation’s seven educational activities conducted in her city, which came in the form of public fora, barangay health workers workshop, senior citizens’ seminar, and FLEHD’s musical “How To Remain Young At Heart.”
With Dr. Go’s enthusiasm and leadership, all these activities registered unprecedented attendance, with excellent feedback from the participants, including physicians and lay people from neighboring provinces.
It’s difficult to quantify how many lives were saved by these public education activities. But if one were to gauge it based on the quality of awareness that the people in Oroquieta City and neighboring cities now have, there’s no doubt, Dr. Go and her team from FLEHD have contributed significantly to this goal.
Dr. Go has also coordinated numerous medical surgical missions since 1990 which were all supported by Filipino-American physicians from Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, Georgia, and Canada. The projects were also supported by Shriners- Cebu Chapter and Smile Train.
Indeed, the native from Misamis Occidental who decided to come back and serve the place she calls home deserves all the gratitude and respect heaped upon her by her town mates, patients, and colleagues.
“Then and up to now, she sees the big gap in healthcare that needs to be filled. She wants to do her share in filling in this healthcare gap”
March 2017 Health and Lifestyle