Mindanao's 1st dental medicine specialization training program
DENTISTRY is not just about tooth extraction and braces, it's a whole discipline that can be both life-changing and lifethreatening. Like any medical profession, it also has specialization, which for so long has been denied those who do not have the means to be away from practice and home for long because specialization courses are only available in Metro Manila.
Thus, at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) Dental Department, a longing was born: to be able to offer training on specialization so that more dentists can upgrade their skills and be available for the fastgrowing need in fastgrowing Mindanao. With training now available in Mindanao, highly-skilled dentists can now attend to the widest possible cases, even complicated ones, especially among the poor.
Some major push here and there, and a lot of trainings and preparations and sacrifices in between, SPMC finally has its own Hospital Dentistry Training Program, the first ever available outside Metro Manila.
The Hospital Dentistry Training Program is a new section of the hospital's dental unit. Through the initiative of its Department Head Drs. Heidee Daphne M. Digma and Rey Hafid Milan, now the Training Officer, and with the full support of Medical Chief Dr. Leopoldo J. Vega, the program was approved in the mid part of the year 2017.
"This is part of service to the community where indigents can access quality dental care," Dr. Digma said.
Designed to cater to dentists coming from Mindanao and other applicants who want to train at SPMC instead, the trainees will handle general clinic patients, emergency patients, and referred patients from or outside the hospital; learn the process of hospital accreditation, admission, discharge, management and co-management of dental pathologies and trauma. The emphasis is on proper evaluation of minor and complicated surgeries.
"It is much like the training in PGH (Philippine General Hospital) in Manila," Dr. Millan said. "The training for me has long been both a dream and a goal. A vision that one day our students and dentists from Davao city and Mindanao who has so much potential, the passion to learn and at the same time serve but doesn’t have the resources to go to Manila and elsewhere where there is training because of financial constraints."
Dr. Vega takes pride in the initiative of the department to have a training program, especially because its focus is hospital dentistry that deals more with surgical operations.
"These are usually trauma patients who need emergency medical attention," he said, "the specialization on this is not offered by any other training program outside Manila."
Basic to this, he said, is that the department has the technical expertise and commitment, which it has.
Dr. Fredeswinda Maco, who trained in Taiwan on oral maxillofacial surgery at the TzuChi General Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan, looks forward to training more local dentists.
"(This is an) Opportunity to share knowledge earned in Taiwan. To cater patients that needs my expertise," she said. Dr. Maco is the secion head of oral maxillofacial surgery of the Department of Dental Medicine of SPMC and a faculty of Cebu Doctors University.
"This also provides quality health care service for Dabawenyos," Dr. Richard Clem Quinones, the program's Clinical Coordinator, said. While Dr. Emmaryl Julian sees it as an opportunity to learn more and advance in her professional development.
At the bottom of it all is a desire to serve the Mindanaoans to the best of their ability. Dr. Millan credits this focus on Mindanao to his elder brothers who have likewise built their careers with Mindanao as their priority.
"Labi na Kuya Kublai, his advocacy is Mindanao, my advocacy is also Mindanao," Dr. Millan said referring to his elder brother and artist Rey Mudjahid "Kublai" P. Millan.
That advocacy to reach out to the least served and bring their services there has been imbibed by the department who has been regularly holding and joining free dental missions including those that provide harelip operations for those who cannot afford such procedures.
"As the culture of service was engrained in our very hearts, it shook the very foundation of my perception of service. As one can relate service with duty, it really felt more of love for my fellow 'taga-Dabaw' as we are fond of using. This now stemmed in providing the same care for the indigents as you do for your own family," Dr. Louie Ignatius P. Lopez said.
"We may not have the years of experience under our belt, but we can assure the people of Davao and Mindanao that our love will only grow stronger," he added.
Dr. Lopez, aside from being part of the SPMC Dental Medicine is also the Oral Surgery Department Head DMSF, Inc. College of Dentistry.
Last year, the program started accepting two trainees every six months.
"Now we have MOA with a hospital in Manila, the Mary Chiles General Hospital Department of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery, which is headed by Dr. Carlos Buendia, the immediate past presidents of Philippine Dental Association. Offer namin is hospital dentistry and oral surgery training program then by September (2018), i-open namin ang integrated myofunctional orthodontics, orthopedics, temporomandibular disorder management and sleep medicine training," Dr. Millan said.
Aside from Dr. Buendia, the training program is grateful to Mary Chiles Drs. Jaime Lapan and Orlando Villa, the junior consultants of the Oral Maxillofacial Department of the hospital, Dr. Benedict Valdez, SPMC Emergency Medicine Director who is also with the Maharlika Charity Foundation, SPMC Chief of Clinics
CONSULTANTS AND SUPPORTERS. After the interview for volunteer consultants, Southern Philippines Medical Center's HR Jo Macaraeg with Drs. Haidee Daphnee Digma, Rey Hafid P. Millan, Jaime Lapan Jr., Orlando Villa, Carlos Buendia, and SPMC Director Dr....
IN ACTION. Dr. Gamaliel Urbi volunteer consulant for orthodontics.
SHARING EXPERTISE. Dr. Louie Lopez, head of oral surgery department of the Davao Medical School Foundation College of Dentistry; Dr. Haidee Daphnee Digma, SPMC department of dental medicine chair; Dr. Rey Hafid P. Millan, training officer of the SPMC...
LEARNERS BEFORE. Dr. Hafid Millan (5th from left, standing), Dr. Louie Lopez (6th from left, standing), and Dr. Fredeswinda Maco (9th from left, standing) as classmates at the Philippine General Hospital in 2005.
UPGRADING. Hospital dentistry and oral surgery trainees from left Dr. Ross James Corvera, Dr. Gino Arvin Santos, Dr. Emaryl Julian, Dr. Andrew Louis Lamela, and Dr. Primo Betanio.