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Western Visayas Medical Center, being a tertiary care hospital, recognizes its responsibility as the nucleus of health care delivery to the constituents of the area. Aware of its role in the conduct of elements of Service, Training and Research, the institution proposes the establishment of Family Medicine. The creation of such a clinical unit shall consolidate the efforts of the Department of Health to extend quality health service in the region. The department shall offer the core training program for the physician graduates who intend to undergo a well-rounded training in family & general practice in a community setting.

It was in 1996 that Western Visayas Medical Center opened its doors to Family Medicine residency training program. This is through the mandate of the Department of Health under Dr. Hilarion Ramiro for the creation of the Department of Family & Community Medicine in government hospitals. This was a challenge to Dr. Jose Mari C. Fermin, Medical Center Chief, who appointed Dr. Annabelle de Guzman to create a concept for this new endeavor. Dr. Annabelle de Guzman, who was a diplomate and fellow from UP PGH, became the chairman of the said department. It was through her initiative that made the training a successful ground for family physicians. Along with her was the staff of the department:  Dr. Agnes Java as the Residency Training Officer who worked tirelessly in the training of the residents and other volunteer consultants from different hospitals in Iloilo City namely, Dr. Nemia Lizada, Dr. Lourdes Prudente, Dr. Zenia Quilantang, Dr. Consolacion Advincula Feca, and Dr. Eduardo Gonzaga.

A 4-year residency training program began in 1996 with rotations on major and minor accredited departments in Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC). Likewise, a 2-month rotation was arranged with University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital, the Department of Family & Community Medicine with the late Chairman Dr. Ricardo Uy, which was carried out until today. The rotations were modified based on the needs of the training program and this was set to hone the residents in Supportive & Palliative Care, Wellness, Family Health Care and Counseling.

The department is both hospital and community-based.  The hospital is the medical center with a 445 bed capacity and with accredited training programs in the field of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics-Gynecology, Surgery, Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, Orthopedics, Pathology, Radiology, Psychiatry, Anesthesia, and Family Medicine. The community setting is the place where the residents will rotate in order to learn community needs, assessment, diagnosis, organization, and rehabilitation. Each community is given a span of time from community diagnosis to become a community-managed program.

People come and go. From the start until at present, the program was able to produce 14 graduates. Four of which are presently connected in the training, 1 with the DOH, and 3 in district hospitals.

Initially, there were 5 applicants for the residency training, only 3 remained and were hired, Dr. Mae Lynn Mioten-Acebuque, presently the Chairman of the department, Dr. Rose Marie Trimañez–Lamirez, who is connected with the Department of Health, and Dr. Ma. Theresa Margarico-Clarito, presently the Municipal Health Officer of Janiuay, Iloilo

The second batch of graduates were: Dr. Ma. Reme Silveo, presently the Residency Training Officer, Dr. Dennis Dignadice, who is connected with the Hospice Care Program in Singapore, and Dr. Roy Parreñas worked with one of the district hospital in Aklan. The third batch produced three graduates: Dr. Ma. Niña Lyne Leonor, Dr. Noemae Villanueva, an active consultant staff of WVMC, and Dr. Elna Mangao , a Medical Specialist in Janiuay District Hospital.

The fourth batch produced Dr. Joy Saquibal-Demetria, an active consultant of the department at present.

There were four graduates in the fifth batch. Dr. Sharine Fern Benjamin-Rosal who is connected with a DOH program; Dr. Bryna Kimberly Bayate-Jabines who is an active consultant in the department; Dr. Evangeline Barbara D. Go, a Fellow in Palliative & Supportive Care and an active consultant also; and Dr. Arlene Francisco who is a primary care physician in Oman.

The fifth batch of graduate is Dr. May Grace Noriega-Rolle presently connected with Barotac Nuevo District Hospital and doing her private practice.

For almost 16 years, the department has successfully met the challenges since its inception – from accreditations to competitions and in training an individual to become a better physician – a family physician for that matter. The department has produced a fold of family physicians who are passionate and committed to serve their patients with a caring heart.

Long before somebody coined the word “specialist”, there was just the old reliable family physician. He was called upon to mend a scratch, to take a look at a child’s sore throat or to cure the grandfather’s arthritic ailments. He was a specialist in the care of the whole individual from the womb to the tomb. Nowadays, with the advent of super-specialization and the proliferation of Health Maintenance Organizations, the old reliable family physician was relegated to the background. This problem gave rise to the need to put the Family Physician back into the forefront of the health care industry.

The Family Physician will act as the gateway of health – screening illnesses from the primary care level, the secondary care level, and the tertiary care level for referral to the specialists. Having accepted the responsibility for this range of health care, he has to be competent in each field of care at par with the specialist. Not only is he competent in caring for the individual, but, as master of behavioral science, he must also take into consideration the role of the family in health care. Compliance to medications and psychological well-being are some of the benefits the support of the family can give to the sick individual. Therefore, the family physician has to understand 

As a Family Medicine Resident he/she should identify the roles of a five-star Family Physician:

A Health Care Provider who considers the patient as an integral part of a family and the community and provides high standard clinical care and personalizes preventive care within long-term trusting relationship.

A Researcher who selects the appropriate medicine, tests, and ancillary procedures for the patient and his family and applies ethical and cost-effective management while enhancing the care that he or she provides. The Family Physician also uses evidence-based medicine in the practice of the profession.

An Educator and Counselor who promotes healthy lifestyle by empathic explanation and encourages individuals and groups to enhance and protect their health. He educates patients and their family members about their illness, the management, procedures, and prognosis. He also counsels them when a psychosocial issue arises.

A Social Mobilizer who, after having won the trust of the people among whom he or she works, reconciles individual and community health requirements and initiates action on behalf of the community. He empowers and motivates patient, family, and even the community to be partners in health care.

A Manager who works harmoniously with individuals and organizations within and outside the health care system to meet his or her patients and communities needs. He refers to other specialists, agencies, or institutions. Coordinating function in the clinic, hospital, and community and networking are also the tasks of a manager.

         Thus, with all the demands put upon the Family Physicians of today, it is imperative that we come up with a training program geared in molding the Family Physician as a holistic health provider, giving care from the womb to the tomb, and incorporating the essentials of physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being in the care of the individual.

Department services:

  1. Family Health Care
  2. Clinical Care
  3. Employees Clinic
  4. Hospice Care
  5. Clinical Nutrition
  6. Community Program
  7. Wellness Program
  8. Animal Bite Treatment Center