Many of its members have described the Philippine College of Physicians as the beacon, which provides the guiding light for its members and inspires them to be better internists, managing their patients more holistically, with compassion and care, putting service above gain
By Dr. Reuben Ricallo
For more than six decades now, the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) has been the ‘mother’ or ‘umbrella’ organization of all practicing internists in the country. Founded by Dr. Gonzalo F. Austria in 1953, it has diligently sustained the continuing medical education (CME) of internists and other physicians through its well-attended annual and mid-year conventions, and other scientific activities organized by the local chapters; the certification and regulation of the subspecialty of Internal Medicine; and the accreditation and certification of the training programs for Internal Medicine nationwide, to ensure that every IM graduate has the knowledge, skills and competencies equipping them to treat prevalent IM problems in the country.
Aside from its regular CME, accreditation and certification activities, the PCP also has the following as part of its Mission:
o Providing an environment that promotes ethical, high-quality and cost-effective medical care;
o Providing stimulus, advice and incentive for research and publication;
o Providing timely communication and advice to health agencies, governmental and non-governmental organizations;
o Being responsive to the changing environment;
o Putting a premium on excellence, competence and compassion; and,
o Putting service above gain.
With a roster of 9,111 members composed of fellows, diplomates and members, the PCP is one of the biggest specialty societies in the Philippines, perhaps, even in Asia. It is an affiliate society of the Philippine Medical Association and a member-society of the International Society of Internal Medicine.
The title of ‘Diplomate in Internal Medicine’ (DIM) is awarded by the PCP to an internist who has fulfilled all the requirements set by the Philippine Specialty Board of Internal Medicine which administers the certifying examinations annually. The title of ‘Fellow’ is awarded to a DIM who has fulfilled the requirements for membership as Fellow in the PCP. An internist who has satisfactorily fulfilled the requirements of the PCP and having been certified as such, may carry the title ‘Diplomate in Internal Medicine’ and ‘Fellow of the PCP’ (FPCP).
The College has 18 component and affiliate societies under it. It also has 22 regional chapters nationwide and eight chapters in the National Capital Region (NCR). The current president is Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go, who was the former director-general of the Philippine Food and Drug Administration, and an undersecretary of the Department of Health in the previous administration.
The current and previous leaderships have envisioned the PCP to be “a world class organization of physicians that sets the highest standards and ethical ideals in the practice of Internal Medicine and provides dynamic leadership in the promotion of health and quality of life in the management of disease and in the formulation of relevant health policies.”
Benefits for members
The NCR chapters are among the most active in the country, organizing five to eight scientific meetings or symposia for the benefit of Metro Manila members. The members are regularly updated on recent landmark clinical trials and treatment guidelines, as well as a holistic view on issues and controversies in various medical conditions. No registration fees are usually charged to members attending these symposia.
Provincial members are likewise given the opportunity to keep abreast of medical developments through postgraduate courses organized by their local PCP chapters. A nominal registration fee is usually charged.
The Accreditation Committee closely coordinates with PCP-accredited training institutions nationwide, and they help in facilitating the placements of resident-trainees in training institutions best suited to their needs. It can likewise assist training institutions with vacancies for lateral entries and graduates in need of fellowship training positions.
The PCP has also allocated a budget to provide financial assistance to chapters in times of calamity, to help severely affected members to recover in their clinical practice. The family of PCP Fellows who die also receive the Death and Disability Benefit Plan (DDBP) which has been given for deceased members since June, 1993.
Just like a parent making sure that their children could already fend for themselves, the PCP also offers the PCP-PASA Clinic (Physicians Assistance to Start-up A Clinic). Every year five qualified PCP members may avail of a P50,000 grant to start up their own clinic.
With the end in view of guiding our health officials and legislators in the formulation of relevant health policies, the PCP realizes the urgent need to have proper representation in the Senate and the House of Representatives and other governmental agencies in matters affecting the profession of Medicine. It has organized a committee in charge of this objective, seeking to advocate for relevant reforms legislation and other public policies specifically in areas concerning internal medicine and the medical profession.
The committee also aims to increase the awareness of PCP members on pending legislation and proposed policies that can impact the practice of IM in the country.
The College has also taken part in the ongoing drive for preventive health care in the community through medical lectures held in collaboration with other non-medical organizations.
The fiscal year of the PCP is June 1st to May 31st of the following year. The terms of the officers (Board of Regents) also correspond to this fiscal year. The College is efficiently run by a dedicated secretariat of 11 full-time staff. On-call workers are called for special events such as the annual and mid-year conventions.
There are 30 standing and ad hoc committees that are responsible for the implementation of the goals and objectives of the College for any given year. All members of the Board serve as Regent Coordinator of one or more committees.
There is no doubt that the Philippine College of Physicians is the premier organization in Internal Medicine in the country. From its ranks rose many competent and caring internist-physicians that have assumed leadership roles in both the private and public sectors. It will remain to be the ‘beacon’ that it is, which can provide the guiding light, not only for its members, but for all practicing physicians, who believe in its dictum of selfless service above gain.
“The PCP is a world-class organization of physicians that sets the highest standards and ethical ideals in the practice of Internal Medicine and provides dynamic leadership in the promotion of health and quality of life in the management of disease and in the formulation of relevant health policies”
July 2017 Health and Lifestyle