Ella Mae I. Masamayor, MD
This has certainly been a year of reconnection, recalibration, and resurgence. As pandemic restrictions eased, we saw families reuniting, friends getting together, as well as the return of physical clinics and onsite medical school lectures. As much as telemedicine and Zoom conferences are here to stay, it was clear that the world was eager to see each other face-to-face once again.
The same was true for postgraduate conferences. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, postgraduate conferences were among the activities that gave way to safety precautions and were held online instead of onsite. While the shift to online platforms was necessary and even convenient for many people, there was still something to be missed from attending face-to-face conferences: the familiar environment of a classroom setup, the smell of brewed coffee at the entrance, or simply the joy of being able to meet and greet our colleagues.
For the UP Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, this year marked the return of its postgraduate course. The last postgraduate course happened in October of 2019, shortly before the pandemic hit. This year, the UP-PGH made its comeback with its postgraduate conference entitled, “Endocrinology Made Easy: Approaching Basic Concepts in Diabetes and Endocrinology (ABCDE).” It was held last November 9, 2023, at the Diamond Hotel Manila. Registration was free as the Division of Endocrinology sought to provide basic and practical knowledge in diagnosing, assessing, and managing patients with diabetes, thyroid, metabolic, and endocrine diseases to as many participants as possible.
There was a total of 161 attendees, among whom were residents- and fellows-in-training, as well as general practitioners, internists, and family medicine practitioners from all over the country. The day kicked off with opening remarks from our dear Training Officer, Dr. Frances Lina Lantion-Ang. The morning topics were jam-packed with learning, with Dr. Elizabeth Paz-Pacheco decoding the different diabetes subtypes and phenotypes on one hand and Dr. Cecilia Jimeno giving the audience an overview of the Philippine guidelines in diabetes management on the other. Dr. Mia Fojas kept the ball rolling with an introduction to endocrine hypertension, and this was followed by Dr. Iris Isip-Tan’s practical lecture on endocrine pre-employment assessment.
The program continued with high-yield afternoon sessions, starting with Dr. Nemencio Nicodemus’ talk as he guided the audience in conquering common endocrine emergencies. On the other end of the spectrum, Dr. Myrna Buenaluz-Sedurante’s lecture helped the attendees decide on whether or not to treat different subclinical endocrine states. Dr. Patricia Maningat-Goco’s lecture then delved into tricky thyroid nodules, while Dr. Gabriel Jasul focused on the new drugs available for obesity. Finally, the last session introduced the audience to the realm of pituitary and bone disorders, when Dr. Cecile Añonuevo-Cruz talked about pituitary tumor pitfalls, and Dr. Mark Sandoval tackled the topic of osteoporosis.
It was truly a day of dissecting common yet sometimes confusing endocrine conditions. The long day of learning was topped off with a night of fun, games, and fellowship as the PGH alumni gathered together. Truly, there is nothing quite like a face-to-face conference. Aside from the lessons and concepts from the conference itself, we also brought home new memories of bonding with friends and colleagues, made all the more special after the long period of Zoom conferences and virtual lectures. It was indeed a successful return of the much-missed postgraduate course, one the Division hopes to continue in the years to come.