UH Med Now

Salamat po! Third-year medical students present their MD5 experience in the Philippines to board members of the Philippine Medical Association of Hawaiʻi

Date: October 9th, 2017 in Collaboration, Giving, JABSOM News, Student Life    Print or PDF

A picture of the students with Dr. Magsino and his mother in the Philippines.

Pictured: The students with Dr. Robert Magsino and his mother, in the Philippines.

By Erin Roberts, Jayden Galamgam, Krystina Begonia, and Matthew Lim, JABSOM Class of 2019

During the MD-5 curricular unit, second-year medical students at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) have the opportunity to travel overseas to broaden their medical knowledge while immersing themselves in new experiences. The locations available for this summer rotation include, but are not limited to, the neighboring Hawaiian islands, Japan, Samoa, Guam, Palau, and the continental U.S.

We chose to spend one month in the Philippines.

Learning a new culture. Traveling. Reconnecting with family. Strengthening our cultural roots. Broadening our knowledge of global and public health issues. Becoming better health care providers for the growing Filipino community in Hawaiʻi. These are only an example of the many reasons which helped to fuel our 5,000 mile journey to the Philippines in the summer of 2016.

Under the guidance of Dr. Kenton Kramer of JABSOM and with the support of Dr. Ferdinand Ona of the Philippine Medical Association of Hawaiʻi (PMAH), we had the opportunity to experience the practice of medicine in the capital city of Manila, as well as obtain a more rural experience in Lipa City in the province of Batangas.

The students are pictured at UT in Manila.

The students are pictured at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila with junior interns.

The initial two weeks were spent at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila. With the direction of several fourth-year UST medical students, we experienced patient care in multiple departments of the university hospital including pediatrics, general surgery, otolaryngology, radiation oncology, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, and pulmonology. We were able to see firsthand the differences between the public and private sector of health care. We witnessed the limitations that physicians faced in getting patients the care they deserved. We learned more about how the Filipino culture and religion can influence the way doctors and patients choose to alleviate their illnesses.

The students are pictured at a clinic in the Philippines.

The JABSOM students with Dr. Ona at his clinic.

Our last two weeks in the Philippines were spent at the Mary Mediatrix Medical Center in Lipa City, Batangas. Dr. Robert Magsino, the president of Mary Mediatrix, and his family opened their home to us during our rotation there. This rotation was primarily led by Dr. Pau Mertola, the chief resident. Throughout our time here, we rotated through the medicine wards, cardiac catheterization lab, and the dialysis unit. Additionally, we spent a day at the Melckor and Martina Ona Memorial Health Care Center, Dr. Ferdinand Ona’s community clinic serving up to ten villages within a small rural farming community.

Throughout the four weeks in the Philippines, several of the students were able to reconnect with their families and visit their families’ hometowns. We were able to meet hardworking and inspirational physicians, befriend medical students from another nation, learn more about the culture and people of this country, and broaden our worldviews. The openhearted generosity and warmth of each and every person we met will forever be remembered in our hearts. We are thankful that we had this incredible opportunity, and our time in the Philippines is a memorable experience none of us will forget.

On Saturday, September 2, 2017, we were invited to present our experiences in the Philippines at a PMAH quarterly meeting. Upon the completion of our presentation, we each received an academic scholarship to reimburse the associated costs for the rotation. We are extremely grateful to the PMAH for their generosity toward future physicians from JABSOM, as well as their continued support to the healthcare of the Filipino community in Hawaiʻi. Salamat po!

Share this: