Thursday, April 18, 2024

SU co-founds first nat’l academic network to strengthen public health in PH

by Ranjie Nocete | March 23, 2022

Photo Courtesy of SU Website

Silliman University, among six other higher education institutions (HEI) across the country, co-founded the first Philippine Academic Consortium for Public Health (PACPH) that aims to improve public health programs in the Philippines.

PACPH, which was inaugurated last March 9, is said to be the mother organization for all institutions, and ‘historically’ SU is the only representative for the Visayas region.

Dr. Mae Bridgitt Villordon, Dean of the SU College of Arts and Sciences, was at the same time elected as the vice-chairperson of its Technical Working Group (TWG) committee.

“This is the first-ever Philippine Academic Consortium for Public Health . . . and soon, we will be joining this organization to the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region,” she said.

Dr. Villordon said that PACPH could help improve academic programs, research, services of the university, and would also expand connections across the Asia-Pacific region.

She added that there is a “need to collaborate” with other institutions and government organizations with PACPH’s goals in coordinated efforts for academic and research development.

Aside from the exchange of skills and knowledge, she said, “What we can acquire from this member institution, we can share this to our own students and our own community.”

Meanwhile, on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Villordon shared that it has revealed many gaps in the country’s health system including the lack of public health workers.

She questioned the Inter-Agency Task Force in appointing individuals who are of military background,  “Are they in the public health field? What is their idea of public health?”

She added that there is a lack of research in public health. “Now we have this organization so that [the] ‘academia’ can also contribute and like I’ve said, we have a very important role . . . because we are the ones that will produce the future public health workers,” she said.

Moreover, PACPH has seven founding member institutions which include Silliman University, Adventist University of the Philippines, Cagayan State University – Andrews Campus, Davao Medical School Foundation, Inc., University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, University of the Philippines (UP) Manila, and UP Visayas.

Villordon said that PACPH aims to focus on promoting academic and research development in public health and enhancing collaboration between HEIs and other partners.

She added that it will provide opportunities for capacity-building enhancement, as well as product development to ensure that competency in public health is developed through evidence-based innovations and time-proven strategies.

“This is a very good collaborative work among higher education institutions. We have realized that there are so many gaps, we have realized that we need more public health practitioners, especially during outbreaks, not just during [the] pandemic . . . these are very important in endemic places that this has to be addressed,” she ended.

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