[Blueboard] Ateneo graduates in 5 years MDs with MBAs
Romeo A. Dalandan, Jr.
rdalandan at ateneo.edu
Mon Nov 26 20:44:40 PHT 2007
Ateneo graduates in 5 years doctors with MBAs
First posted 02:29:52 (Mla time) November 25, 2007
Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
MANILA, Philippines -- A medical doctor who is also an MBA?
The idea may not be so far-fetched as five years from now the Ateneo de
Manila University will graduate the first batch of medical doctors who
will not only be healers but managers and leaders as well.
The quintessential "person for others" that the Jesuit-run institution
has been molding and offering to the world will now be taking on a more
demanding contemporary role.
He or she will be filling a challenging job description and venturing
into frontiers that earlier generations of Ateneans, or for that matter
doctors produced by other universities, had not trained for.
The Ateneo opened this year the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public
Health (ASMPH), taking in the first batch of 75 would-be
"The state of medical education in the Philippines is that most, if not
all, medical schools define themselves [as institutions] to prepare
their students to be doctors," said ASMPH dean Dr. Alfredo Bengzon, a
neurologist and a former health secretary who has a master's in business
Bengzon believes doctors should not just focus on sick people but on a
sick society as well and he would like doctors to address this
In the Philippines there is a mismatch of doctors and society and there
must be a way to "cure the mismatch," he said.
"The matter of doctoring happens within a system. But the bureaucrats
that are attending to the problems are not doctors and the doctors are
not bureaucrats," he said. And that's where the mismatch lies.
Bengzon realized this when he served as health secretary during the
"Doctors in the provinces were looked upon as leaders and so they
stumbled through the job," he said.
They were expected to be managers in the public health delivery system,
nongovernment organizations or private institutions but their background
and training dealt with how to treat the illnesses of individuals. Not
many had training in public health.
The Ateneo, founded in 1859, is one of the oldest Jesuit schools of
higher learning in Asia. Its most distinguished alumnus is national hero
Jose Rizal who graduated in 1877 and went on to become a medical doctor.
It has three units of higher education: the Loyola Schools in Quezon
City (Schools of Humanities, Social Sciences, Science and Engineering
and the J. Gokongwei School of Management); the Professional Schools in
Makati (Graduate Schools of Business and Government and the Law School);
and now the ASMPH (beside the Medical City hospital) in Pasig.
Inaugurated last Friday, the ASMPH is within the Don Eugenio Lopez Sr.
Medical Complex on Ortigas Avenue in Pasig. The new Medical City, a
tertiary hospital, serves as a partner to the ASMPH.
In its prospectus, the ASMPH said it aims "to mold the physician of the
future: one who is an outstanding clinician, a dynamic manager and a
social catalyst." It wants to form not just doctors but doctors who can
be leaders and agents of change for systemic and structural changes in
the health sector.
So it is not enough that ASMPH students learn the basics of medicine and
curative care, "the students must also be taught to understand health
systems from the perspective or organizations, populations and society,"
said Associate Dean Dr. Marife Yap, a veteran development worker.
ASMPH integrates the study of management principles with an
understanding of the social determinants that affect public health.
It defines the Ateneo doctor as the "doctor of the future" although that
future may just be around the bend.
The doctor as healer must be an outstanding clinician with mastery of
clinical skills and a heart full of compassion.
The doctor must be a dynamic manager who can bring systems and resources
together to enable clinicians to practice their craft.
The doctor must be a social catalyst, a competent leader who can help
solve the systemic problems of ill health and poverty and make quality
healthcare available and working for all.
"We want them to serve, to lead. They will undergo leadership formation.
Each student has a mentor," said Yap.
Most of the ASMPH's first batch of 75 students are graduates of the
Ateneo (51), many of them armed with an undergraduate degree in health
"These are very bright kids," said Yap, adding that several already
started medical school in other universities but decided to transfer to
the ASMPH. Several are on scholarship.
Bengzon, an Atenean who finished medicine at the University of the
Philippines, recalls speaking at his alma mater and saying that UP had
become a staging area for doctors "tailor-made to be exported abroad."
"We do not expect all our graduates to end up in the rural areas or
serving the poorest," said Bengzon.
That is not the ultimate goal but it would not be surprising if they
turn up that way. But wherever they choose to go, the Ateneo doctors
should be among the best in their field--as clinicians, managers and
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