The President Speaks

Date: 
Sunday, May 12, 2013

I just arrived from representing PCOM as a guest of the American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine Conference In Orlando Florida , last April 28- May 1, 2013. This experience have brought me so much joy, learnings, inspiration, and fulfillment, both for my personal and PCOM's benefit.

The sessions I registered in, enriched my appreciation of our specialty.... inspired me with strategies in the delivery of healthcare to our workers and in the pursuit of our advocacies.

The program was well organized, with not much unnecessary frills; speakers kept to their time allotments and subject matter. Most subject matters were discussed by 2-3 experts within 1 1/2 - 2 hours, so that simultaneous sessions were the order of the conference.

The topics that had great impact on me are:
1. Measuring Excellence / Achieving Preventive Clinical Goals
2. International Travel Issues / Opportunities & Issues for OM Physicians
3. Public Health and Occ . Med
4. Workplace Wellness Programs
5. Essential Leadership Competencies & Skills for the New OEM Physicians
6. Using a Consensus definition of Healthcare value & Value measurement
7. The Value of Poison Control Centers to OM Practitioners
8. A Multidisciplinary View on Return to Work
9. Healthy Workforce Now ( HWN) : a look at ACOEM 's National Advocacy Initiatives Promoting OEM
10. ACOEM Competencies

A USB containing all the presentations was part of the registration kit...which I will check later. Some faculty members had their handouts distributed.

What was amazing was the ONLINE evaluation of the day's presentations sent for the delegates on a daily basis, to be submitted daily or until May 17.

The post conference Collaborative Meeting of International Occupational Medicine Societies ensued , with leaders , mostly Presidents, from 16 countries attending, namely: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Slovakia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States . Three country leaders from Brazil, South Korea, & New Zealand participated via telephone. It was presided by the newly elected President of ACOEM, Dr. Ronald Loeppke (Vice President US Preventive Medicine, Inc.).

In a round table, each of us was asked to introduce ourselves and our Societies/Organization to include:
1. the reach of Occ Med in our country,
2. number of organizations we reach
3. the top challenge we face
4. the most significant emerging opportunity
5. our common goals

After the introduction , there was further discussion of issues presented per country . The prevalent issues common to the OTHER countries are :
1. diminishing membership of their societies
2. Aging population of their membership
3. Low interest in OM among young medical graduates
4. Poor appreciation of OM by government agencies and other stakeholders including the workers.
These conditions were acknowledged by the ACOEM Pres , which shall be tackled in future meetings. However, he highlighted the contrasting situation in the Philippines, as I presented the strengths and capabilities of our PCOM:
1. Membership in 22 chapters - over 2500 MDs
a. Members are Diplomates & Fellows of other specialties in addition to Occupational Medicine
b. Criteria/requirements for PCOM Membership
2. Membership growth for the past 5 years -average of 7.5%
3. Surge of interest in Occupational Medicine among young doctors and other specialists as seen in the following:
a. Basic Course on OSH conducted all over the country thru our Chapters at an avergae of 10 courses/year, with a
minimum on 35 and a maximum of 50 participants/course.
b. Modular Diplomate Course conducted once a year then, but currently (2) are ongoing
c. Work in progress for PCOM's Residency Program (with the absence of such in the country). Target date of
implementation is 2014.
d. Increase in attendance at Annual & Midyear Conventions for the last 3 years reaching 800 participants (who are inside
hall NOT at the malls)
4.PCOM accreditation fromthe Government Agencies/recognition from the Accredited Professional Organization for Physicians
a. As a Training Organization on BOSH (Basic Occupational Safety and Health) for MDs & Dentists-from the Department of
Labor
b. As a CME provider for Occupational Medicine-from the Phil. Professional Regulatory Commission
c. As the Specialty Medical Organization for Occupational Medicine-from the Philippine Medical Association
5. Government agencies seeking the expert inputs of PCOM in the development of policies and programs:
a. Dept. of Labor and Employment
b. Dept. of Health
c. Professional Regulatory Commission/Board of Medicine
d. Philippine Health Insurance Commission
e. Social Security System
- Employees Compensation Commission
6. Partnerships forged to advance PCOM Advocacy
a. Human Resource Organizations
b. Employers' Confederation of the Philippines
c. Bussiness organizations
d. Other Medical Specialties
There was much interest on how PCOM accomplished this, a much different situation in the Philippines. When asked "How did the Philippines do it?"-I answered "We did our best doing what we had to do... and we have been blessed!".
They continued discussing this with me beyond our meeting... until the reception cocktails that the ACOEM hosted at the Presidential Suite of Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel 'till 7:00pm
Before the meeting that afternoon (from 1:30pm-4:30pm) there was an individual video interview done for each of us and a group picture of the International Occupational Medicine Societies leaders was taken. Pictures have been poster on PCOM Facebook account.
I am so proud to represent PCOM in the International arena! Thank you very much for the opportunity and privilege to work with you... for PCOM and our members.

Let the glory be HIS!

Fond regards to you all,

Marilyn C. Alentajan, MD