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Dermalgam: “A Dermatologic Amalgam of Modern and Traditional Issues”

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The Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) Department of Dermatology, in cooperation with the Philippine Dermatological Society hosted a Continuing Medical Education (CME) activity entitled “Dermalgam: A Dermatologic Amalgam of Modern and Traditional Issues” last October 13, 2017 at the Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City. The event aimed to expound on the rights of the members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community and to discuss practical and sensitive approaches during clinical interviews and situations, particularly in dermatology. Moreover, updates on demographic profiles of HIV patients in the national, regional and local settings were explored.

The CME event began with heartwarming welcome remarks by the Chair of the Department of Dermatology of SPMC, Dr. Maria Mercedes Cauilan, FPDS. To jumpstart the program, Dr. Joanne Kate Martinez, a second-year dermatology resident, discussed the case of a patient which highlighted the need for health care practitioners to identify gender sensitive issues and to be knowledgeable on how to approach these cases in a sensitive and open manner. The first reactor of the case was Dr. Agnes Padilla, DPBP, FPPA, a diplomate of the Philippine Board of Psychiatry and a fellow of the Philippine Psychiatric Association. In line with the case, she enlightened the audience regarding gender sensitive issues that might arise in a clinical setting and gave tips on how to address these cases; especially those dealing with transgender or gender non-conforming patient/s with high index of suspicion for HIV. Dr. Padilla provided case scenarios and appropriate probing questions that may be utilized. The second reactor was Professor Hadji Albancis Balajadia, MSc, an assistant professor at the Psychology Department of the Ateneo de Davao University and a member of the Psychological Association of the Philippines-LGBT Special Interest Group. Dr. Balajadia focused on key principles of LGBT – affirming health care. The professor explicated on the health care sector’s pivotal strengths and weaknesses when handling LGBT cases and suggested avenues for improvement to address the LGBT community’s needs and goals.

The second part of the program focused on national and regional HIV statistics presented by a DOH representative, Dr. Gracita T. Berguia. Meanwhile, Dr. Maricarr Pamela Lacuesta-Gutierrez, FPDS, elaborated on the variety of cutaneous disorders encountered among HIV patients based on the latest census data of the hospital.  An interesting condition seen among HIV patients presenting as immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) was also discussed.

The afternoon affair’s dynamic discourse was ultimately directed to emphasize on the importance of effective, gender-sensitive communication skills as well as partnership with multidisciplinary clinics to holistically diagnose and manage all these challenging cases. The event was hosted by Dr. Karen Lee Alabado-Laurel, FPDS and the productive academic endeavor concluded with closing remarks by our PDS President, Dr. Ma. Angela M. Lavadia, FPDS.

Dr. Joanne Kate Martinez, second year resident, presented case scenario for Gender Sensitivity Forum


Dr. Agnes Padilla, DPBP, FPPA, first reactor for the Gender Sensitivity case.


Professor Hadji Albancis Balajadia, MSc, second reactor for the Gender Sensitivity case


Dr. Gracita T. Berguia, DOH representative, discussing the National and Regional HIV statistics.


Dr. Ma. Angela M. Lavadia, FPDS, Philippine Dermatological Society President giving the Closing Remarks.


The Southern Philippines Medical Center Department of Dermatology residents, active consultants and esteemed guests (middle front row) Dr. Vermen M. Verallo-Rowell, Dr. Ma. Angela M. Lavadia, Dr. Maria Jasmin J. Jamora, Dr. Miriam Emily P. Soriano, Dr. Arnold C. Yu.