In this day and age of virtual learning environments being the dominant mode of instructional delivery, the UP College of Medicine, unfortunately among a few world-class educational institutions, until recently still lacks the infrastructure to maintain such platform. Representing the College’s response on the challenge is the inauguration of the Research and Learning Center (RLC), its computing teaching facility, last 23 June 2015.
Located in the former Periodicals Section of the Florentino B. Herrera, Jr. Medical Library, the opening of the Center was made just in time for the two Southeast Asian regional events hosted by the College this year – the 4th ASEAN Medical Deans’s Summit and the 1st ASEAN Patient Safety Congress. The concurrence of these major events effectively signalled the commitment of UPCM, one of the first in developing nations to recognize clinical epidemiology as an indispensable field to guide medical practice, to promote evidence-based medicine and to ensure its own competitiveness in the international scene.
The RLC is one of the hallmark projects under the administration of Dean Agnes D. Mejia, and was made possible with the support of key players within the UPCM community:
- The Mu Sigma Phi Fraternity, in commemoration of more than eighty-two years since its foundation in 1933, pledged to donate the centerpiece: eighty Apple Mac Mini computer terminals all running on Macintosh OS X Yosemite. All of these units are already in place and are now fully-functional.
- The UPCM Class 1989, the 25th-year anniversary alumni celebrants of the homecoming activities two years ago, adopted a part the endeavor as their contributory project to their alma mater: they were responsible for the renovation of the old Periodicals Section of the College Library to appropriately house the facility.
- The UPCM Department of Clinical Epidemiology (DCE), the intended caretaker of the structure to accommodate the demands of the College’s undergraduate and graduate medical curricula and research, provided the necessary software for the computer terminals including the laboratory license for Stata, the standard statistical analysis package used in many industries and educational programs around the world.
The inauguration was hosted by Dr. Armando C. Crisostomo ΜΣΦ, 1981 the Associate Dean for Planning and Research. Representing the contributory groups to the project were Dr. Armando Pacifico M. Cruz (BL) ΜΣΦ 2015, the outgoing Most Exalted Brother of the Mu Sigma Phi Fraternity, Dr. Ruben Lim Bon Siong, the President of UPCM Class 1989, and Dr. Marissa M. Alejandria, the Chair of UPCM-DCE. In attendance were the members of the Mu Sigma Phi Fraternity, the faculty of UPCM-DCE, and the international delegates of the ASEAN Medical Deans’ Summit who were touring the UP-PGH campus with UPCM faculty and student volunteers. The UP Manila Vice Chancellor for Research and National Institutes of Health Executive Director, Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-Dela Paz, also of UPCM Class 1989, was also present.
In her short but succinct message, Dean Mejia gave heartfelt thanks to the contributors for making the facility a reality, hoping that the “Center enrich our scientific discipline.” Indeed, such a facility will elevate the educational and research capacity of the College. The manner of its establishment serves also as an admirable model of cooperation between UPCM and its concerned growing community inside and outside its walls.