I started off poor growing up in Pampanga and helping my mom selling coconuts and malagkit. I also sold garlic, onions and plastic carrying a “bilao”. I went to Juliana Elementary School then two years of high school at then the Assumption Academy near the palengke. Then transferred to Pampanga High school as I felt like an outsider at Assumption being from a poor family.
My interest in science and my chemistry teacher who was an American peace corps volunteer fueled my enthusiasm to go for Med school . Coming from a poor background , my parents did not want to take the risk of me not finishing but I managed to convince them to send me to nursing school . As I promised them, they will only pay the first semester after which I got scholarships for the entire 5 years of nursing school. Was offered a faculty job at FEU which I declined as I then wanted to pursue medical school in the US. Worked full time as a nurse and then went to premed school full time which gave me only an average sleep of 4 hrs per night . Then finished medical school at Rush in Chicago and pursued training in internal medicine at Stanford University in Palo Alto CA. It was a combination of determination , hard work and a little intelligence . Got married to an American neuropsychiatrist at Stanford and blessed with two children who don’t speak Tagalog or Kapampangan . Although I am fluent in both , it was easier for me to use English as my husband did not demonstrate an excitement to lean my language . In retrospect , I should have taught them to learn my language and embrace the culture . Both of them joined me in my earlier medical missions which fueled my daughter to consider science and now at Stanford Medical school. My son is a producer at IGN . They are doing well despite the tragedy of losing their father to pancreatic cancer when they were only 7-9 years old .
Again I always manage to get up after a fall!
Took care of the children and a full time Internal Medicine practice in Utah and became a regional Scientific Director for Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Cardiovascular and Metabolism. They moved me back to the Bay Area and then rejoined Stanford faculty.
When the children started college , I started joining medical missions and that experience sparked my enthusiasm to help , give back to our kabalen . I have been doing this for the last decade . Through hard work , I finally received a grant from Steiner foundation to build the first 30 footer medical mobile clinic which is poised to serve 16-20 barangays . This was launched in June with the help of the Archdiocese of San Fernando , SACOP and three universities in Pampanga . Lots of people continue to donate goods, services and money to support the mobile clinic . Stanford university donated exam tables , surgical equipments etc. The operational budget in $50,000 per year which is still a challenge to raise and so far , I am funding it . We are committed to treat acute and chronic diseases ,prevent chronic diseases , educate the public on wellness , health and lifestyle modification ( healthy diet and exercise ) and conduct research to learn .
We are hoping that these efforts will help mitigate the complications of chronic diseases and will help augment what the government is already doing and will fill gaps not accomplished by medical missions – continuity , education , prevention, research and sustainability. The overall cost is much lower than what we spend in a mere one week of medical missions . The barangays are expected to help with spreading the word when the mobile clinic comes and Individuals are asked to donate 50 pesos for consultation ( usually 300-500)and 50 pesos for a month of prescription ( usually 500-700 pesos ) . This will ensure a steady supply of medicines for people so their chronic diseases will be controlled .
The control will help prevent early stroke , heart failure heart attack and kidney failure — all of which will drain the family”s resources and will reduce productivity if not abated.
Let us all work together for a good cause ! Your health and wellness.
Thank you for the opportunity to spread this gift of promoting health.
Dakal a salamat!( thank you very much)
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine
Educators for CARE faculty
Founder : ABC’s for Global health
Website : www.abcsforglobalhealth.org