On December 19, 2019, the University of Santo Tomas and Metrobank Foundation conferred the first two of the Doña Victoria Ty Tan Professorial Chair in Medical Education upon two medical practitioners and experts of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (FMS), Prof. Sandra Teresa V. Navarra, MD and Prof. Fidela L. Moreno, MD.

In her welcome message, FMS Dean Ma. Lourdes Domingo-Maglinao, MD said that the event will allow the University to “tell an abridged story of two Thomasian scholars” and gives FMS the chance to blaze another trail as it approaches its 150th founding anniversary in 2021.

Maglinao thanked Metrobank Foundation, whose thrusts interface with those of UST FMS’s—focusing on people’s welfare, on excellence, and true service.

A foremost rheumatologist

Prof. Sandra Teresa V. Navarra, MD is a renowned rheumatologist well-known in the Asian region. A UST professor since 1985, she is the head of the Rheumatology section of both UST FMS and Hospital. She is likewise President and CEO of the Rheuatology Educational Trust Foundation, Inc. (RETFI). Moreover, Navarra is the prime mover of the Lupus Inspired Advocacy (LUISA) Project for lupus education and research, and People Empowerment for Arthritis and Lupus (PEARL) Movement for lay education and medical assistance programs.

Navarra, in her lecture entitled “The Road Less Traveled,” talked about lupus and the importance of research-minded physicians. Today, she opined of the “decline in physician-scientists,” who may be dissuaded from pursuing studies due to increasing demands and complexities. Yet, now more than ever, researches are needed, particularly sound clinical trials to come up with better treatments and medications for patients.

In this vein, Navarra presented to the audience, composed mainly of medical teachers and students, the importance of collaboration, as evidenced in groups such as the Asia Pacific Lupus Collaboration, which to date has already published 9 international papers that were written by experts from various countries.

A Thomasian alumna comes home

The second honoree was a full-blooded Thomasian in the person of Prof. Fidela Llorca-Moreno, MD, who is a Balik Scientist of the Department of Science and Technology and Visiting Professor of FMS. She is a consultant of the Intermountain Heart Institute in Utah, USA, and has held key positions in global pharmaceutical companies, such as being Vice-President for Global Development Operations of Allergan in Ireland and several directorial posts at Pfizer.

Her lecture, entitled “Teaching and Research: Are they exclusive?”, emphasized the need for rigorous research protocols that adhere to good clinical practice. “Research has become more rigorous, with new guidelines being added and changed. To be successful, we need due diligence in learning and teaching those research rigors and guidelines,” Moreno said.

Moreno’s insistence on ethical research was placed against the backdrop of research malpractice, ranging from data fabrication to the endangerment of the lives of test subjects. Moreno cited cases of haphazardly done researches that resulted in different forms of harm to its subjects, some of whom died as a result of the study.

With the seemingly incessant changes in research guidelines and the steady flow of entry of medical professionals in the field, Moreno batted for the integration of teachers into the pool of researchers, to ensure the continued learning of the two sectors as they aim to advance knowledge.

A tribute to a mother

The Doña Victoria Ty Tan Professorial Chair in Medical Education is named after the mother of Metrobank founder and late Metrobank Group Chairman Dr. George S.K. Ty, a Doctor of Humanities honoris causa recipient of UST in 2014. The Metrobank Foundation established the grant with the UST Research and Endowment Foundation, Inc., to support UST in its endeavor to develop, enhance, and innovate its programs on medical education.

The Professorial Chair, which can also be awarded as a research grant, is open to professors, associate professors, and medical researchers of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and Hospital, to author and publish treatises and researchers that introduce avant garde concepts and approaches in designated areas of medical education. The grant will be available for a period of five years and will be given to a total of ten holders. By 2023, UST and Metrobank Foundation will publish the treatises and researches of the ten chair holders.

On hand during the event were University and Metrobank Foundation officials, led by Very Rev. fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., PhD (Rector) and Mr. Aniceto Sobrepeña (Metrobank Foundation President).