The Forerunner: COUNCIL OF MEDICAL SCHOOL DEANS
Prior to the establishment of the Association, there already existed a Council of Medical School Deans which was formed in 1957. This was organized at the behest of Dr. Elpidio Valencia, who was then the Secretary of Health. The Council was organized mainly to facilitate mainly to facilitate and coordinate the affiliation of the various medical schools’ undergraduate course requirements with the government hospitals and facilities. This included internship in the government hospitals.
The Council subsequently became aware of the need to improve admission requirements to medical schools. It drafted, in collaboration with the Philippine Medical School Association, the provisions of the Medical Act of 1959. The passage and approval of the Medical Act of 1959, thereafter, became the reference point of all the policies that regulated the operation of medical schools in the country.
This experience raised the awareness of the deans on the need to form an organization that analyzes issues on medical education and recommends policy decisions.
APMC: THE BEGINNINGS
July, 1967 marked the birth of the Association of the Philippine Medical Colleges. The Constitution and By-Laws was drafted and signed by the deans of the then existing medical schools:
- University of the Philippines College of Medicine
- University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery
- Southwestern University College of Medicine
- Manila Central University College of Medicine
- University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center College of Medicine
- Cebu Institute of Medicine
- Far Eastern University – Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation (FEU-NRMF)
The stimulus to establish an Association came from the conference conducted by the World Health Organization in 1962. This was the Second Deans’ Meeting of the Western Pacific Region
A group of deans from the Philippines attended this conference and subsequently came in contact with the international agencies and foundation that were interested in medical education. The late Dr. John Bowers, a consultant at the meeting, was instrumental in organizing the Association. In 1976, as president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation of New York, Dr. Bowers became the major benefactor of the APMC. He funded numerous projects over the span of fifteen years.
In the forefront of AMMENDMENT TO THE MEDICAL ACT
In 1969, the Association of the Philippine Medical Colleges worked successfully for an amendment to the Medical Act of 1959. The requirement for admissions to medical school was changed to Bachelor of Arts of Science, a terminal or end course. This requirements stands until today.
In 1972, the medical course proper was shortened from five years to four years, so students were awarded the Doctor of Medicine Degree before the one-year post graduate internship. This amendment attempted to distribute graduates to areas outside Manila, as graduates could take their internship in any hospital of the country accredited by the Board of Medical Education.
Growth OF Medical Schools
From 1975 to 1977, the Board of Medical Education of then Department of Education and Culture authorized the opening of eight medical schools. These were:
- West Visayas State University School of Medicine in Iloilo;
- Dr. Francisco Duque Medical Foundation in Dagupan City;
- Virgen Milagrosa Educational Institute in San Carlos City, Pangasinan;
- St. Louis University College of Medicine in Baguio City
- Davao Medical School Foundation in Davao City;
- Cebu Doctors college of Medicine in Cebu City;
- University of Visayas Dr. Vicente Gullas Memorial Medical Foundation in Mandaue City;
- Perpetual Help College of Medicine in Laguna
Eleven more schools were recognized by the government from 1979 to 1984:
- Fatima Medical Science Foundation in Valenzuela Bulacan;
- Emilio Aguinaldo College of Medicine in Cavite, which is now under De La Salle University;
- Bicol Christian College of Medicine in Legaspi City;
- Remedios T. Romualdez Medical Foundation in Tacloban City;
- Divine World University College of Medicine in Tacloban City;
- Iloilo Doctors College of Medicine in IloiolCity;
- Angeles University Foundation College of Medicine in Angeles City;
- Xavier University Dr. Jose Rizal College of Medicine in Cagayan de Oro City;
- Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila College of Medicine (City of Manila University); and
- Mindanao State University in Iligan City
This was followed by a ten-year moratorium on new medical schools. During the 1990s, medical schools established were:
- St. Luke’s College of Medicine, later renamed St. Luke’s – William H. Quasha College of Medicine, that had a five-year medical curriculum;
- JONELTA Foundation School of Medicine University of Perpetual Help Rizal;
- University of Northern Philippines;
- Ateneo de Zamboanga – Zamboanga Medical School Foundation and College of Medicine; and
- Cagayan State University
Maintain, High Standard of Medical Education
The Association has also been progressively working for the adaptation of the “Essentials and Requirements of a Medical School”. This document details the specific requirements required of medical schools for physical facilities, number and qualifications of faculty, and student preparation. This was recently replaced by the “Policies and Standards of Medical School” issued by the Department of Education, Culture, and Sports.
The Association continues to study the needs and demands of our rapidly transforming society, and pursues curricular innovations. It has made faculty training a priority
Advocacy and Networking
Since its establishment, activities of Philippine Medical Colleges have been channeled through the Association.
The APMC has been active internationally, hosting international conferences on medical education in the Western pacific Region.