Patricia Marie M. Lota, Φ2018 Class 2022
Last March 15, 2018, the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority held a career talk on Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Paz Mendoza Building in UP Manila. The alumni speakers, Dr. Doris R. Benavides Φ’91, Class ‘96 and Dr. Maria Lora P. Garcia-Tansengco Φ’87, Class ‘92 shared their journey from basic sciences to residency, fellowship, and consultancy. Together with the resource speaker, Dr. Valerie P. Tiempo-Guinto Φ’91, Class ‘95, they were able to tackle the highs and lows of trying to find a balance between practice and family life. The talk was attended by the resident sisses who were able to learn more about Obstetrics and Gynecology as a career path.
Dr. Doris Benavides started the talk with sharing her journey during medical school and internship where she discussed her influences into choosing Ob-Gyne as a practice. She shared what she learned about herself, her strengths and weaknesses, that helped shape her into the doctor she is today. Dr. Doris also mentioned how important her batchmates in Phi are to her because through the sisterhood they shared, they we able to strive through medical school together. She also gave importance to knowing yourself enough to decide what residency program to take as this will determine your future — because the rollercoster ride that is residency is filled with highs and lows as you share a great number of years with your co-residents, all fully devoted to the practice and your patients. After completing her residency, Dr. Doris undertook her fellowship, first a subspecialty in Gynecological Oncology and another in Advanced Gynecological Laparoscopy outside the country. She stressed the importance of continued learning in medicine. Additionally, Dr. Doris also pursues endeavours not related to Ob-Gyne — she is part of the academe in UP Manila, particularly in research ethics, clinical ethics, and PHREB GCP Training of Trainers. Ultimately, Dr. Doris shared that in Ob-Gyne, “burnout” is a reality but it will always depend on how you spend your time — try to find the balance between family, friends, and work.
Next, Dr. Lora Garcia-Tansengco discussed how she tried to find that balance. Dr. Lora first shared how she was influenced into entering Ob-Gyne — her mother and surgery. She described herself as someone who was always ready to take on a challenge and thats exactly what she did during her residency in Ob-Gyne — this paved her way to become team captain, chief resident, and eventually to winning several awards including Most Outstanding Resident Physician by POGS and International Young Fellow Awardee by FIGO. She received an acceptance letter from King’s College in the UK for fellowship training but declined and decided to work in the country instead. She worked as a Clinical Associate Professors without compensations in UP-PGH for 7 years, as Nationwide Statistics Committee Chair in the Philippines Obstetrics and Gynecological Society (POGS), and even as a columnist in the Manila Times. Despite all the distinctions and high positions in practice, she still considers her family to be her greatest achievement. However, all that she has achieved didn’t come easy, she faced a lot of hardships in starting a family and working. Looking at her life in a nutshell, she was very satisfied with her work life but not so with her family life. She had a loving husband and a beautiful daughter amidst her busy work life but she realized that she wasn’t spending as much time with them as she would like — so she finally decided to focus more on her family and private practice. She found balance in being the best doctor she can be and being the best mom to her family. Dr. Lora also said that she found time for herself to start focusing on her hobbies in fitness, as she joins marathons, triathlons, and Iron Man races in and out of the country with her husband. Dr. Lora shares that there is more to life than just working — that finding your own happiness in work life and family life is of great importance.
As far as the academe and private practice goes, the resource speaker, Dr. Laire Tiempo-Guinto is able to enjoy the best of both world. Dr. Laire kept her ties with UP-PGH while working in her private practice. She also continued her education by taking a Masters Degree in Clinical Medicine in the Philippines which includes research, teaching, and administration. She shares that after her fellowship, she started focusing on her family and is happy to watch her kids grow up. Similar to Dr. Doris and Dr. Lora, she also emphasized finding the right balance for life in general.
After hearing the speakers, an open forum was held where the resident sisses were able to know more about the profession and about finding the right balance in life. Other alumni sisses, Dr. Serines Virian D. Decano Φ’08, Class ‘13 (Chief Resident), Dr. Maria Carmina L. Santiago Φ’09, Class ‘14, and Dr. Germaine Angela C. Ursabia Φ’11B, Class ‘16, who are currently taking their residency program in PGH, also dropped by the event. They were able to share their experiences during the open forum and how they are able to cope with the challenges in med life.
All the speakers and sisses that shared were able to open the opportunity of choosing Ob-Gyne as a profession. The resident sisses were able to learn the importance of finding the right balance of work and personal life and the importance of knowing onself well enough to find the most appropriate career path for the future. Truly, Phi excellence was exemplified in all the women present in the Career Talk and the warmth of sisterhood was felt all throughout the afternoon.
Lara Marielle L. Castillo, Ф2018, Class 2022
On March 10, 2018, the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority, in partnership with UP Ugnayan ng Pahinungod, held a Gynecological Mission at the Skills Training Center of Sitio Pingkian, Looc, Nasugbu, Batangas. The Gynecological Mission is an annual event organized under the guidance of sisses from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The sorority seeks out communities in need and provides lectures on maternal & child health, along with free cervical cancer screening through visual inspection using acetic acid (VIA), bimanual pelvic examination, and breast examination. This year, 35 mothers from nearby barangays were able to benefit from the services offered by the sorority. On this day, the spirit of service and sisterhood was reignited in the hearts of all those in attendance.
Prior to the event, Dr. Ira Dominique Tabada Alatraca-Malonzo, Ф2004, Class 2009 gave the LU 3, LU 4, and LU 5 sisses a brief lecture on gynecological history taking, pelvic exam, and VIA on March 2, 2018. A skills lab training for bimanual examination of the pelvis then ensued. This workshop greatly helped the resident sisses prepare for the gyne mission.
On the day of the event, bleary-eyed and groggy sisses assembled at the PGH flagpole as early as 4:00 AM. After receiving a short pep talk from Dr. Joanne Karen Sarmiento Aguinaldo Ф1997 Class 2002 and loading needed materials and equipment for the day, sisses excitedly boarded the bus, and set off on their journey to Sitio Pingkian, Batangas. The resident sisses were joined by Dr. Clarissa Lim Velayo Ф1997 Class 2002, Dr. Reysa Omay Autentico Ф2008 Class 2013, Dr. May Bugagao David Ф2008 Class 2013, Dr. Serines Virian Dela Cruz Decano Ф2008 Class 2013, Dr. Patricia Marie Tan Fernandez Ф2011B Class 2016, and Dr. Raisa Pecson Butalid, Ф2013 Class 2017.
Sisses arrived at the Skills Training Center at around 7:30 AM, and quickly set up the venue with the help of the UP Ugnayan ng Pahinungod volunteers. There were two rooms for use in the center: one where the public health lectures (PHLs) would be conducted for the women and their children, and another where the various examinations (VIA, bimanual pelvic exam, and breast exam) would take place. Making the most out of the resources at hand, sisses made improvised partitions out of bedsheets in between beds, using two tall stalks of bamboo to hold them in place.
At around 8:00 am, after the venue had been prepared, the Pahingunod volunteers fetched mothers and children from the nearby Barangays Papaya and Looc. They had previously been invited by their Barangay Health Worker (BHW) to participate in the event. Since the Skills Training Center is quite far from surrounding barangays, the Pahingunod volunteers used a van to fetch the mothers and their children.
Once at the venue, mothers and children first registered their names, then were directed to the PHL room for a brief public health lecture. At around 8:30 AM, the first PHL was conducted by Ф2017 (Phireflies). During this PHL, mothers were taught how to perform breast examinations on themselves, as well as an overview about cervical cancer, its various risk factors, and the basic principles behind VIA.
The mothers then started with history-taking and the examination proper while their children were left in the room for another PHL, conducted by Ф2018 (DiversiPhi). This PHL centered on good hygiene, including proper tooth brushing and handwashing practices. The children were treated to games, prizes, and a short dance number during this 30-minute lecture.
After the PHL for children, DiversiPhi then joined the other resident sisses and alumni. Phireflies were mainly in charge of taking participants’ gynecological history and vital signs, as well as performing breast exams; Phi Batch 2016 (Ph16ht Club), under the guidance of our alumni, performed the bimanual pelvic exam and VIA.
It was beautiful to see sisses passing on their knowledge to the younger batches. Our alumni were assisted by Ph16ht Club (Ф2016) sisses; Ph16ht Club, in turn, endorsed the proper breast examination procedures to Phireflies (Ф2017) sisses, and demonstrated how to do the bimanual pelvic exam and VIA. The youngest batch, DiversiPhi (Ф2018) was welcomed into the gyne mission by first observing how to take proper gynecological histories and vital signs before doing these on their own. They were guided by the Phireflies.
The event ended at around 4:00 PM. After packing up, taking lots of photos, and singing the Phi Lambda Delta song to wrap up the day, sisses headed back to Manila on a Phi High. It was indeed a day that exemplified service and sisterhood, and one that will be remembered in the years to come.