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EARTH, SKIN AND FIRE:  Dermatology in Global Warming The 4th Midyear Convention of the Philippine Dermatological Society

The PDS midyear convention held last April 7-9, 2017 was hosted by the Southern Philippines Chapter. It was an exciting mix of topics which covered global warming and its effects on earth, nature and ultimately on man. The concept behind this year’s midyear convention was the brainchild of the Dr. Marilou J. Ong, president of the PDS Southern Philippines Chapter and her hardworking organizing committee.

The end result was a well-rounded set of topics that tackled most of the hot and pressing issues on climate change. It is far from the usual topics we have gotten used to in the past making this event one of the most interesting learning events so far.

Issues of current relevance were tackled during day 1 plenary sessions, with the theme “Health and Global Warming”. Health Secretary Pauline Ubial lectured on the Philippine Health Status with a global perspective, entitled “Global Health in Dermatology: Philippine Health Status in the Community, Globe & Universe”. DENR Secretary Lopez (represented by Mr. Vincent Hilomen) discussed the importance of conserving our environment with her lecture “Caring for the Environment Spills Over Into Health: Current State of Environmental Conservation in the Philippines”. Dr. Suzette Lazo, former BFAD Director showed how environmental toxins affect human health through her talk “Environmental Toxins and Health”. The plenary sessions highlighted how the current state of our economic, social, cultural, natural and even physical environment affect the health of our patients. The plenary sessions were co-chaired by Dr. Celia Therese Layson and Dr. Ma. Luiza Puyat. The Dr. Rosario Canete Lecture was so named in honor of the founder of the PDS Southern Philippines Chapter. This year Dr. Cynthia Guzman Morales’ lecture entitled “Ethics and the Cult of the Body: When Man Breaches Nature” elucidated the ethical boundaries of man’s quest for physical perfection. Dr. Lorna F. Frez delivered the Zuellig Professorial Chair Lecture entiled “Epigenetics and Microbiome:  Their Roles in Psoriasis”. Worthwile and interesting lectures were also given by Dr. Eileen Liesl Abesamis-Cubillan (“The Epidermal and Dermal Changes from Sun Exposure with the Current Climate Change”), Dr. Ma Teresita Gabriel (“A Revolution on Topical Sun Protection”) and Dr. Marie Socouer M. Oblepias (“Acne Maintenance Therapy”). Foreign lecturers also graced the the event. Dr. Ramon Pigem Gasos from Spain, Dr. Colin Theng Thiam Seng from Singapore and Dr. Ridwan Mia, from South Africa gave excellent lectures. As the day came to a close, the new continuing professional development (CPD) mechanics and implementing rules and regulations were untangled by Dr. Clarita Maaño, member of the PRC board of medicine.

Day 2 of the convention was made more interesting by the lectures on heat wielding devices. Day 2 was aptly themed “Set-up, Step up: Raising the Ante in the Clinics with Laser”. The attendies were given a comprehensive review of the basic concepts on the physics and biology of laser treatment as well as its current applications. Dr. Ma. Pilar L. Luenberger discussed hair removal, skin rejuvenation and the protocol on brown skin. Dr. Rhesa May M. Martinez gave a time lecture on the dangers of lasers. She then followed it up with practical aspects of RF and Ultrasound. CO2 laser was revisited by Dr. Johaness Dayrit, with further discussion on maximizing its potential clinical applications. Dr. Dayrit also gave his thoughts on the parameter setting of Q switched NDYAG laser. New and exciting uses for lasers were discussed by Dr. Ma. Angela T. Cumagun in her talk “On Optimizing Common Aesthetic Applications”. Capping day 2 is none other than PDS president, Dr Maria Angela M. Lavadia. Her lecture entitled “Environmental Allergens: Beat the Itch” elucidated the effects of climate change on skin health.

After the busy 2 days of full of learning and interesting new information, a fellowship night was attended by our PDS colleagues. Doctors came in wearing their colorful earth, water, wind and fire costumes. Everyone eagerly participated and prepared well for the event. Some of the remarkable performances included Dr Angeli Garcia’s stunning rendition of the Broadway song “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables”. Dr. Jennifer Tan also gave a spectacular cameo ballet performance. Dr. Ma. Purificacion Dasal bagged the Best Costume Award as the dazzling Water Queen.

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