Prof. Fortunato Dela Peña, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary for Scientific and Technological Services, lauded the MD-PhD Molecular Medicine Scholarship Program as good model for human resource development programs in science and technology during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Medicine on October 8, 2014.
MD-PhD in Molecular Medicine Scholarship Program is a joint initiative of UPM and the DOST, through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), that aims to train aspiring physician-scientists for careers in basic and applied biomedical research towards the advancement of health from individual to global levels. It is the first and pioneering degree program in the Philippines that combines the MD and PhD courses in one.
Usec. Dela Peña explained that the MD-PhD Program is part of an ongoing effort to capacitate the S&T sector with highly trained and skilled human resource by providing scholarship grants in almost all educational Levels. Aside from scholars at the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) System, the Department also supports more than 4,000 undergraduate and more than 1,000 MS and PhD scholars.
Describing the program as “very innovative” and a “breakthrough in graduate education,” Usec. Dela Peña discussed DOST may follow the dual-career concept of MD-PhD in Molecular Science program in developing future scholarship grants in other fields of science and technology. He said, “I was just thinking in the future, with the people who conceptualized this, we can also develop similar PhD programs for other S&T tracks.”
Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST), discussed the importance of building and sustaining a regional network for health research and innovation in Southeast Asia at the 12th Taro Takemi Memorial Oration at the Marriott Hotel, Pasay City on October 2014.
The Oration is held every two years since 1990 to honor the late Dr. Taro Takemi, former President of Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO) and the Japan Medical Association, for his contributions to the Confederation and his achievements in global health care as a physician, researcher, and inventor.
The first Filipino to deliver the Oration, Dr. Montoya highlighted the ongoing network between member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to address the escalating cost of and poor access to modern medicine in the region. Featuring ASEAN – Network for Drugs, Diagnostics, Vaccines, and Traditional Medicine Innovation (ASEAN-NDI), he discussed that the collaboration supports health research on emerging and the re-emerging health concerns in Southeast Asia.
Dr. Montoya explained that difference in economic capacity affects the health systems and programs among ASEAN member states. Linking wealth to health status, Dr. Montoya mentioned that poorer nations suffer more from communicable and non-communicable diseases. Through ASEAN-NDI, ASEAN member states enhance their research capacity, minimize duplication of work for the same diseases and products, and address concerns on lack of infrastructure and resources, sharing of expertise, and intellectual property by implementing working arrangement between ASEAN states and the international community.
Dr. Montoya said that the establishment of a Southeast Asian center for fundamental and translational research is one way to address global threats of infectious and tropical diseases. As a catalyst of regional and global research collaborations, he stressed that the ASEAN-NDI will be significant in finding solutions to emerging and re-emerging health concerns worldwide.
The 12th Taro Takemi Memorial Oration was hosted by the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) in line with the 29th General Assembly and 50th Council Meeting of CMAAO.