The Philippine Surgeons

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Necessity as the old cliché goes, is the mother of invention. The Society of Philippine Surgeons in America which celebrates its 35th year of existence, was not necessarily invented however, as much as it was born out of the need then for surgeons of Filipino extraction in the United States to have a distinctly Filipino forum “to participate in interactive discussions regarding their experiences and achieve knowledge of developing advances in surgical specialties from their colleagues in surgical education”

    Thus, the Annual Continuing Medical Education was established which from the very beginning and up to the present, continues to be, a first rate educational experience for those who attend the yearly symposium. The surgical missions which was  started in 1985 and has become a yearly undertaking remains a focal activity of the Society and for the humanitarian impact it has had on to the poor, underserved and impoverished areas in the Philippines, the Society was recently presented the Linkapil Award by the President of the Philippines. Through its Traveling Fellow Program, surgeons from the Philippines who otherwise can not come to this country for postgraduate training, have been sponsored for observational fellowship to learn something new or different in their respective fields of specialization. Some of the alumni of this program have become leaders in their chosen field back home.

    The Society has done well- even better since those early days in 1972. Like many organizations of similar vein, however it has faced and continues to deal with internal and external events that threatens its existence or shake it loose from its foundation. Is the annual surgical symposium, however much excellent, still relevant and needed source of continuing medical education by the increasing number of fellows who have either retired or retiring, or the younger members who could obtain the same from other venues? Is the SPSA surgical mission becoming an anachronism in view of the many medical and surgical missions that have oversaturated the many places in the country? And can the surgeons from the Philippines obtain any more knowledge or skill sets locally or anywhere else aside from the United States?

    For the SPSA to survive the next 35 years, it must muster enough will and resource, not to be born again but to re-invent itself as a matter of necessity. It must seek alliances and collaboration with other entities who have similar goals and vision like the “cooperative venture” it recently worked out with the Philippine College of Surgeons. It must seek ways and means to re-invigorate the flagging interests of its aging members and expands its reaches to include second and third generation Filipino-American surgeons.   

The Society has for thirty-five years lived a full life, traveled different highways, did things its own way. But for it to be around for many more years, it must adjust to changing times or the end will surely be near and the final curtain will certainly fall.

Editorial, reprinted from The Philippine Surgeon, July2007 issue,
by Edward E. Quiros, M.D., FACS., Editor-in-Chief


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