On the morning of June 15, 2016 in Quezon City, the SGD Project—a joint project between the Student Council and Nicole Manalastas, a third year medical student—was endorsed by the administration at the Board room of St. Luke’s College of Medicine – William H. Quasha Memorial (SLCM-WHQM). This project aims to create an avenue where students can share ideas and feelings regarding a certain specialization in mind without the pressure of being graded or assessed by their professors, through a small group discussion (SGD) format. It is a free discussion among individuals with a common interest.

The project was launched in June and organized solely by the students. They invited fellow students to sign up under their specializations of interest, as doctors from the College of Medicine and the Medical Center joined as preceptors.

As of July 2016, five specializations, composed of different sets of students from the incoming freshmen to the third years and each with a specialist as a preceptor, were conducted in SGDs in the discussion rooms of the College or within the confines of the Medical Center.

The Neurology SGD was held last July 15, 2016, in Room 907 of the College of Medicine, with Dr. Hans Ludwig Damian. The case was about neuromyelitis optica, a rare disease in the Philippines. History taking and physical examination were done, and the details of the case were shared among the members of the SGD group. A meaningful discussion about the entirety of neurology and the case was held, which gave the aspiring neurologists more interest in the subject matter.

13662488_1153821317992637_557256796_oNeurology session with Dr. Damian.

On July 21, 2016, Dra. Malaya Santos led the SGD group on Infectious Diseases. Another rare case of Subacute Subcsclerosing Panencephalitis, a post-measles complication in a 10 year old child, was discussed by the group. Ethical considerations also surfaced in the discussion as this fatal disease most often ends up with the patient not being resuscitated. “Indeed, being a physician, especially in matters of life and death, is not an easy thing,” says Christine Lua, a third year medical student.

13702524_10206752412345430_777433666_oInfectious Disease SGD with Dra. Santos

Another SGD was held on July 27, 2016 at the Surgery Conference Room of the Medical Center, with Dr. Victor Tatco as preceptor. A complicated case of acute cholangitis, Mirizzi Syndrome Type II with retained cholelithiasis, was discussed, including the protocols that the surgery department follows in the hospital. Dr. Tatco said “We, doctors, do everything we can to save our patients, and at the end of the day, this is what keeps us going.”

13844176_1153821117992657_70623008_oSurgery SGD with Dr. Tatco

The fourth SGD on Gastroenterology with Dr. Joseph Bocobo was held on July 29, 2016 in one of the discussion rooms of the College of Medicine. The case on peptic ulcer disease enlightened the students on how important the basic anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of the human body is. “If you want to be able to diagnose a certain disease, you have to know the basics,” says Dr. Bocobo.

13633287_1153821061325996_2011141233_oGastroenterology session with Dr. Bocobo

The last SGD for the month of July was held on July 30, 2016 with Dr. Vincent Valencia as preceptor of the Cardiology group. His patient’s case on coronary artery disease gave clarification on the nature and effects of cholesterol build up and metabolism in the body. The students accompanied Dr. Valencia on one of his rounds in the Cardiovascular Unit to personally see a patient with hypertensive urgency—blood pressure measuring 200/100 mmHg. The students were also toured by Dr. Valencia within the cardiovascular unit and inside the Cardio-vascular Catheterization Laboratory to see and analyze the patient’s angiogram. At the end of the session Dr. Valencia encouraged the students to be cardiologists one day.

13639733_1153821004659335_130698985_oCardiology SGD and observership with Dr. Valencia

The SGD project will run the whole academic year 2016-2017 to accommodate all students who are still interested to join the discussions.

*if interested in joining the SGD Project, contact Nicole Marie B. Manalastas (0917-463-6561)