The Philippine College of Physicians, composed of the country’s trained specialists in the specialty of Internal Medicine, has played a vital role in maintaining the standards of the practice of the specialty in the country.
It’s quite heartening that aside from its professional regulatory role, it has also encouraged its members to play a more active part in addressing the various factors that impact both the physician and the patients they have sworn to serve. Hence, it has been an active member of a health alliance that pushed for the passage of crucial legislation such as the Sin Tax and Reproductive Health Laws.
Being scientifically updated and abreast with recent developments in the field is fine, and its ample continuing medical education (CME) activities attend to that objective; but being a socially relevant organization that push for advocacies directly or indirectly affecting both patient and physician is, in my book, a more lofty objective for professional organizations like the PCP.
In this respect, the PCP has truly served like a beacon to its members and other practicing physicians as well—a physician’s lighthouse that provides the guiding light for its members. The guiding light provides the glimmer sometimes in the darkness of clinical practice—made stark dark with unethical and unscrupulous practices—so physicians can find it in their hearts and minds the right way to practice clinical medicine, putting patients’ interest above personal gain.
I’m confident that with Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go at the helm, PCP’s tradition of serving with integrity and compassion will be maintained. Even when Ken was the Philippine FDA director-general and later undersecretary of the Department of Health, he would always acknowledge me as one of his mentors whenever he saw me in the audience during his many speaking engagements. Actually, the truth was, as I told him once, we—his supposed mentors—learned more from him when he was already one of the country’s renowned specialists in Pharmacology and Toxicology.
Ken is also acknowledged as an expert on good organizational governance, and I believe he was one of those who spearheaded the program of the Zuellig Foundation to equip the leaders of local government units (LGUs) with the managerial and leadership skills to make them not only efficient, but more effective heads of their respective LGUs.
I’m sure he can bring this to the fore, with programs of the PCP that can inspire the members more to be leaders and be among the movers and shakers in their respective communities, or in the whole nation, too. And that’s exactly what the PCP Exemplars do.
Instead of cursing the darkness, these exemplars make do with the guiding light offered by the PCP and start initiatives that can improve healthcare delivery to those who need them most; diligently mentor students and trainees so they develop the right mindset, attitudes and core values right at the start; and hurdle the constraints that make good meaningful research such a gargantuan challenge in our country. These exemplars are really worth emulating.
May the PCP’s beacon never lose the intensity of its light amidst the blurring effects of various external factors influencing the physician’s mindset. And may each and every PCP member always remain true to his Hippocratic oath of rendering service beyond personal gain.
RAFAEL R. CASTILLO, MD
July 2017 Health and Lifestyle