History of the PSE

A Discourse on the Development of Human Resources on Echocardiography in the Philippines
Raul D. Jara, M.D.
September 15, 2015


Writing about the history of human resources in echocardiography in the Philippines requires a diligent research on available data, documentary evidence of events, accurate juxtaposition of personalities in relation to the documented evidence and a clear factual narrative. The human resources (medical doctors) had to undergo education and training in the different schools of medicine established at that point in time. The University of Sto. Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (UST) opened its door to trainees in 1871 or 144 years ago. The University of the Philippines College of Medicine (UPCM) was established in 1905. Manila Central University College of Medicine (MCU) was founded in 1947. The Far Eastern University College of Medicine (FEU) followed shortly in 1953. That was sixty-two years ago. The University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERM) accepted its first medical students in 1956. Meanwhile, the Cebu Institute of Medicine (CIM) had its first enrollees in 1957.
I do believe that these medical schools played a pivotal role in the development of echocardiography for these medical schools were the “womb that nurtured its child”. From these schools, we will be able to trace the beginning of these different graduates and human resources that will start the Philippines Society of Echocardiography (PSE). Thirty eight years earlier, the Philippine Heart Association was established, the founders were from the University of Sto. Tomas, Dr. Mariano M. Alimurung and from the University of the Philippines, Dr. Jose M. Barcelon.
In 1952, when PHA was established, there were only three medical schools (UST, UP and MCU). By the time PSE was established in 1990, there were twenty seven medical schools according to Dean Fernando Sanchez, Jr. in an article about proliferation of medical schools in the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center website.
The medical schools which nurtured their graduates to imbibe university and institutional ideas were able to bring these ideas to a national discourse with the establishment of national medical societies such as the Philippine Heart Association and the Philippine Society of Echocardiography. This dissertation enriched the watershed of cascading concordant, and sometimes discordant notes and ideas. In turn, the medical societies were able to establish liaison with international and global medical societies, thus, fostering international understanding and dialogue which further enriched the national discourse of echocardiography.
Now, it is time to acknowledge the leading Filipino echocardiographers from the seventies. Dr. Homobono B. Calleja of Class 1954, UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery trained in Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio in 1956-1958. Dr. Camilo I. Porciuncula, PhD of Class 1957, FEU College of Medicine trained at Wakeforest University and Harvard University. Dr. Adolfo B. Bellosillo, Class 1963 from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine had his fellowship training in Cardiology at the University of Iowa in Iowa, U.S.A. and fellowship training in Cardiac Rehabilitation at the Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
Because of the just concluded World War II, the Colleges of Medicine were just beginning to develop their educational program in the 1950s and the 1960s. There was an unmet need for trainers; many of the graduates went abroad for further training. By the 70s and the 80s, training programs were established in the Philippines.
When the Philippine Heart Center opened its training program in 1975-1978, there were three echocardiographic enthusiasts namely, Drs. Hernani C. Garcia, Class 1960 (UST), Jose S. Villaroman, Class 1969 (UST) and Dr. Jose A. Yulde, Class 1971 (FEU). At the University of Sto Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery from 1976 to 1979, the echocardiographic enthusiasts were Dr. Alberto A. Atilano, Class 1975 (UST), Dr. Rodelio S. de Sagun, Class 1974 (UST) and Dr. Milagros E. Yamamoto, Class 1973 (UST).
Meanwhile at the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital, the echocardiographic initiates were Dr. Nelson Abelardo, Class 1975 of Cebu Institute of Medicine, Dr. Raul D. Jara, Class 1975 of UP College of Medicine and Dr. Rody G. Sy, Class 1974 of UP College of Medicine. Dr. Romeo J. Santos, Class 1976 of UST, became the first clinical research fellow in Non-invasive Cardiology at the Philippine Heart Center from 1984-1986.
From the first three echocardiographers, an exponential growth was observed. More cardiologists took up the subspecialty of echocardiography although some did not pursue it in later practice.
In 1990, the Philippine Society of Echocardiography (PSE) was established with Dr. Homobono B. Calleja as the first president and yours truly as the first secretary. There were originally thirty-five cardiologists who incorporated the organization. At present, PSE has a membership of 2,300 with 580 echocardiographers. The development of echocardiography in the Philippines is about human resources who gave their time, talent, dedication, expertise, and most of all, their passion to the exacting discipline of echocardiography, measured not by the yard stick of years but by decades of selfless giving.
With the establishment of the Philippine Society of Echocardiography (PSE) the practice of Cardiology was better defined as Non-invasive Cardiology and Invasive Cardiology. Invitations were sent to us from other echocardiographic societies from the different parts of the world. These conferences enhanced our knowledge of echocardiography.
APCDEIt was in 1994, at the 6th ASIAN PACIFIC Conference on Doppler and Echocardiography (APCDE) in Singapore where we met Prof. Susan Quek of Singapore, Dr. Bijoy K. Khanderia of the USA and Dr. Junichi Yoshikawa of Japan among others. Prof. Yoshikawa invited us to the 7th APCDE in Osaka, Japan in 1996. Dr. Gregorio G. Rogelio, Class 1984 of the UP College of Medicine attended the same conference. Here, we offered to host the next Congress of APCDE but it was Taiwan which got the vote to host the Congress in 1999. In Taipei, Taiwan I had the opportunity to bid for the next APCDE Congress which was held in October 2001 in Manila, Philippines. The Organizing Committee was headed by Dr. Homobono B. Calleja as president, Dr. Romeo J. Santos as scientific committee chairperson. Yours truly was the Over-all Chairperson of the Organizing Committee. APCDE was founded by Professors Tsuguya Sakamoto of Japan and Pravin M. Shah of United States of America. APCDE is now known as the Asian-Pacific Association of Echocardiography (AAE) to which PSE is also a member.
PSE3Meanwhile, an invitation for the 3rd World Congress of Echocardiography and Vascular Ultrasound (WCEVU) in 1998 was extended to Drs. Doris Nambayan, Mary Ong Go and myself in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where we met Prof. Navin C. Nanda and Dr. Jong Hoa Bae. Dr. Bae 5th WCEVU. This Congress in Seoul was attended by world- renowned echocardiographers, Drs. Harvey B. Fegeinbaum, Liv Hatle and Navin C. Nanda. We made a bid for the next Congress to be brought to Manila but it was not granted. Four years later in 2005, in Marrakesh, Morocco where I presented a paper on “Percutaneous Transmitral Commissurotomy (PTMC)”, we again proposed to host the WCEVU Congress after five years since it was taken until 2009. This time the Philippines’ bid to host the 14th WCEVU was granted. It was held in Manila in February 2010 where a total of 1,505 delegates attended. Seventy-three delegates came from Asia and Australia, 44 delegates came from North and South America and 7 delegates came from Europe. It was a milestone in any meeting of the World Congress of Echocardiography and Vascular Ultrasound in any part of the world.
The members of the Organizing Committee who made this a success were Dr. Homobono B. Calleja as president, Dr. Norbert Lingling D. Uy as secretary, Dr. Joel M. Abanilla as assistant secretary and Dr. Mary Ong-Go as the scientific committee chairperson. The presidents of the collaborating organizations namely Dr. Mariano B. Lopez of the Philippine Society of Echocardiography, Dr. Teresa B. Abola of the Philippine Heart Association and Dr. Marie Simonette V. Ganzon of the Philippine Society of Vascular Medicine contributed their outstanding share. Dr. Saturnino P. Javier as the Editor-in-Chief and Dr. Erlyn C. Demerre as the News Editor and all other staff of 14th WCE 2010 newsletter captured the highlights of the convention. I, as the Over-all Organizing Chairperson also worked with Drs. Liberty O. Yaneza, Edwin S. Tucay, Aileen Cynthia D. Llarena, Myla Gloria Salazar-Supe, Ma. Adelaida M. Iboleon-Dy, Pedro Jr. P. San Diego, Roberto Raymundo, Belen O. Carisma, Aurora S. Gamponia, Milagros E. Yamamoto, Evelyn A. Esposo and Diana Jean C. Roxas. It was an outstanding success because of the collective efforts of all the doctors I have mentioned and many more.
I am a humble witness to the evolution of the different human resources in echocardiography to the level of excellence of global standard. Many of our echo technicians were trained at the Philippine Heart Center and on their own, some of them found work in other countries like Australia, Great Britain, Canada, U.S.A. and the Middle East. I am witnessing the emerging talents of dedicated echocardiographers among our younger colleagues who will be the leading lights in their discipline here and far beyond.
As we embrace this discipline of echocardiography let us all re-dedicate ourselves to the unifying spirit which will surely bring the Philippine Society of Echocardiography to greater heights we have yet to see.
“It is by knowing the aspiration of the past can we appreciate the achievement of the present as it tries to get to greater heights.”



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