UST, MMHRDC hold Hy-Flex health research symposium

The University of Santo Tomas hosted the 6th Metro Manila Health Research and Development Consortium (MMHRDC) International Symposium and 13th Annual Scientific Conference at the 21st floor of the Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati Building from November 24 to 25, 2022. Since the symposium will be delivered in a Hy-Flex format, virtual participants joined through Zoom.

            With the theme “Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Transformations and Innovations: Rethinking Practices and Strategies for a Resilient and Healthy Juan/Juana”, the two-day symposium had for its keynote lecturer the UST Department of Biological Sciences Visiting Professor Rev. Fr. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, O.P., Ph.D., S.Th.D.

Session 1 on Day 1 focused on Long COVID and the Complications of COVID. 

Research Center for Natural and Applied Science (RCNAS) researcher and UST Hospital Medical Consultant Assoc. Prof. Ma. Rhona G. Bergantin, M.D., talked about the “Pulmonary Complications” of the said virus, while Dr. Ronald Estacio, OIC of the Philippine Heart Center – Department of Cardiology, discussed the “Cardiac Complications.” Finally, Philippine General Hospital Neurologist Dr. Michelle Anlacan discussed the “Neurological Complications” related to Long COVID.

            Session 2 (Day 1) highlighted “Engineering Innovations During the Pandemic”. The UST Faculty of Engineering Dean and RCNAS researcher Prof. Angelo R. Dela Cruz, Ph.D., served as lecturer.

            On Session 3 (Day 1), MMHRDC Director Prof. Hilton Y. Lam, Ph.D., discussed the “National Pandemic Response Playbook”, while Dr. Myra Villareal, a DOST-Balik Scientist and a faculty member of University of Tsukuba – Life and Environmental Sciences Department, shared some nutritional tips in her lecture on “Functional Foods for COVID-19 Infection. DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya, Ph.D., talked about “International Collaboration in the COVID-19 Pandemic”.

            “Interprofessional Education” was the focus of Session 4. Dr. Erlyn Sana, Chair of the Office of Research and Development of the National Teacher Training Center for the Health Professions – University of the Philippines – Manila, served as the resource speaker.

            Adamson University – Junior High School Principal Mr. Daniel B. Saroca, Jr., Ph.D., talked about the challenges of learning at the Elementary and Junior High School level, while Commission On Higher Education – Assistant Chief Dr. Liza Magana spoke about the concerns at the collegiate level for Session 5, which centers on “Challenges in Education and Health During the Pandemic”. In the same session, the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery Dean Asst. Prof. Lourdes Maglinao, M.D., MHPEd, tackled “Medical and Paramedical Education”.

            Day 2 opened with Session 6, with the topic “Ethical Issues and Changes in Research During the COVID Pandemic”. DOST-Balik Scientist and UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery Visiting Professor Fidela L. Moreno, M.D., was the lecturer.

            “Trends in Postgraduate Training in Health Sciences” became the focus of Session 7, with Dr. Steve Milanese, Director of the International Center for Allied Health Evidence and a Visiting Professor, discussing “PhD in Health Sciences: By Research/Scoping Review.” After that, Dr. Craig Lockwood of the University of Adelaide – Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences tackled “MS in Implementation Science”, while Dr. Nadine Jose of the Rutgers University talked about “MS in Clinical Trials”.

Research paper presentations followed after the sessions in two breakout rooms.

As of 2022, MMHRDC has 44 member institutions composed of 20 academic institutions, 9 medical centers and government and non-government agencies (private, NGOs, professional society). Over the years, MMHRDC has provided Basic Research Training to young and budding health researchers; facilitated the provision of research funding; showcased research, including lectures and research posters; capacitated institutions to attain PHREB accreditation; hosted scientific conventions and fora that allowed Filipino researchers and students to learn and interact with other researchers and scientist in the health research community.

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