PHILIPPINE SOCIETY OF VASCULAR MEDICINE
By: Dr. Marilou T. De Jesus
Special thanks to Dr. Fatima Collado and Dr. Maria Teresa Abola
Dr. Homobono B. Calleja
"Gratefully remembering its past, gainfully engaging the present, and expertly charting the future"
Every beginning is difficult and so was the manifest experience of the Philippine Society of Vascular Medicine at its auspicious inception in 2002. In the early years of Vascular Medicine in the Philippines, only a few showed serious interest in refining the art of diagnosing and managing vascular disease-related conditions. Surgery was, then, the more popular approach in the management of patients. It was indeed an uphill struggle and immense challenge in establishing the field of Vascular Medicine. In 1986, Dr. Homobono B. Calleja, the founding Director of St. Luke’s Heart Institute and one of the foremost and enthusiastic proponents of Vascular Medicine, created the first Department of Peripheral Vascular Medicine.
Dr. Calleja encouraged Dr. Fatima B. Collado to head the Vascular Medicine Department and Dr Florimond Garcia to serve as chief of the Vascular Surgery Department.
To keep up with the current and advanced developments in vascular technology, observership programs in surgical vascular centers and noninvasive laboratories in the United States were diligently pursued, since Vascular Medicine was virtually non-existent at that time in the Philippines.
In the early 1990s, Vascular Research fellowship programs were initiated at St. Luke’s Medical Center. Dr. Diana Jean Roxas became its first clinical research fellow, who was, shortly after followed by Dr. Maria Teresa Abola at the Philippine Heart Center, both of whom pursued further training in established programs abroad to augment learning on this budding new field of medicine.
Dr. Paul Garcia and Dr. Fatima Collado
Dr. Maria Teresa B. Abola
Since then, the number of graduates and vascular enthusiasts has, though slowly yet steadily, increased and, in 2002, the Philippine Society of Vascular Medicine (PSVM) was established with 30 founding members.
Several fellows who graduated from our local programs pursued further training in different Vascular Centers abroad and were privileged to work and learn with great mentors in Vascular Medicine. Some are now affiliated with the Society for Vascular Medicine in the USA as fellows and are board certified by the American Board of Vascular Medicine and Registered Physicians for Vascular Technologists. Others have joined other International vascular organizations and have contributed to their programs and activities, establishing the presence of the Philippine Society of Vascular Medicine in the international scene. The PSVM has supported the Asian Pacific Society of Atherosclerosis and Vascular Disease in the development and dissemination of the Asia Pacific Consensus Statement on the Management of Peripheral Artery Disease (2017-2020) and continues to actively participate in the advocacy and educational programs of the VAS International Consortium in the spirit of borderless collaboration in the field of Angiology/Vascular Medicine.
Dr. Diana Jean C. Roxas
To date, there are 157 vascular medicine and surgical member specialists all over the Philippines practicing this once not-so-well recognized medical discipline. Together with the practice of Vascular Medicine is the establishment of vascular laboratories for noninvasive vascular procedures.
Born with a vision that PSVM will be recognized as a premier specialty society of competent physicians delivering excellent vascular care to patients and with the mission to promote awareness of vascular diseases and its complications, provide quality continuing medical education, develop vascular medicine fellowship training programs, initiate, encourage and support vascular research activities and inspire its members to be proactive leaders in the local and international communities.
The PSVM founding members
The PSVM has continuously shown undying passion for excellence in all its endeavors. Its unwavering zest in promoting the highest standards of practice, education, research and service is highly commendable.
On the shoulders of the PSVM Officers and Board of Trustees, guided by the Council of Past Presidents of the Society, rest the responsibility to institute important programs and innovations to empower its members to uphold excellence in Vascular Medicine.
The PSVM has established different programs for its members and the medical community as well as for the lay.
Vascular Medicine Training Institution
Early on, the PSVM partnered with the PHA Council on Stroke and Vascular Diseases in hosting the Vascular Voyage conferences attended by Cardiology and Vascular Medicine trainees. Later on, the society successfully launched its very own Vascular Convergence forum where fellows-in-training from six accredited vascular medicine training institutions (St Luke’s Medical Center HB Calleja Heart and Vascular Institute - Quezon City, The Philippine Heart Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center - Global City, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, The Medical City and Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City) take turns in delivering interesting and unique vascular cases with the members of the society in attendance.
The PSVM Convergence
Another enthralling activity is the Vascular Journey initiated by Dr. Jenny Beltran during her term as president. This aims to spread awareness on the recognition, diagnoses and management of vascular diseases to generalists and other specialists in the entire archipelago and to establish links for consult and timely referral among its members.
For fellows’ training and evaluation, the society conducts research presentations and oral and written examinations. Vascular medicine rotation is now a prescribed requirement in the adult cardiology training core curriculum. The research papers and case reports of its fellows have been consistently presented in international vascular conventions. Moreover, lectures on vascular medical history and physical examination and management of peripheral vascular diseases had been incorporated in College of Medicine curricula.
The Annual Scientific Convention, now on its 19th year, with well-known local and international speakers delivering lectures on updates and innovations in vascular medicine, is a most sought-after event where all members convene.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, with its mission to be relevant to the needs of the times and continue to provide guidance on the management of vascular diseases, the PSVM guideline on Role of Anticoagulation in Covid-19: Recommendations on its Use was formulated and revised based on recent and relevant information.
The society also takes an active position in its advocacy programs headed by Dr. Elma Joy Rivera with various councils established and manned by its members. Last July 2021, Ugat Serye, a web series aimed at promoting awareness for lay people on the diseases of the arteries, veins and lymphatics, started its run via Facebook live and on the Youtube channel. This activity is in collaboration with Corbridge.
The VTE CaraVein in partnership with Pfizer, and with PSVM members provided lectures on VTE prophylaxis and management as they traveled virtually online to the different regions in the Philippines was launched in August, 2021.
The PSVM Handbook
The society also takes an active part in the celebration of World Thrombosis Day, Peripheral Artery Disease Day, World Lymphedema Day through lay education programs. Not to forget also is the collaboration with the Philippine Heart Association through the Council on Stroke and Peripheral Vascular Diseases through webinar lectures and research activities.
Recent standardization of non-invasive vascular laboratory diagnostic criteria with the release of the handbook consensus to the PSVM members and the availability of the summarized consensus guideline in the PSVM webpage have been undertaken.
Some institutions with vascular medicine departments and divisions have established Lymphedema Centers with trained specialists. These provide the needed medical care for our patients with lymphedema, that until recently, was an unmet need.
The PSVM members also serve as Faculty for the Vascular School of Technology under the guidance of Dr. Marie Simonette Ganzon.
To help standardize vascular medicine training programs, the Training Committee and the Accreditation Committee had been created in 2018 headed by past presidents and board members. These committees ensured that all training programs provided the essential components of vascular medicine training and that institutions complied with prescribed requirements. The culmination of these efforts is the creation of a Vascular Medicine Specialty Board (VMSB) charged with the conduct of certifying examinations for Vascular Medicine graduates. Dr. Maria Teresa Abola was designated to head the VMSB.
Another important project is pioneering the Vascular Application Philippines (VAP) specifically designed as a reference for healthcare providers based on clinical practice guidelines for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis and peripheral artery disease (PAD) with VAP working team of vascular consultants.
Although a remarkable advancement has been made in the establishment of the field of Vascular Medicine, there is much that needs to be done given the boundless opportunities to keep the society continuously moving forward. With modern innovations and technological advances together with the wealth of knowledge acquired through many years of ceaseless diligent efforts, and burning passion for excellence, PSVM has evolved into an eminent and highly recognized medical discipline, as it was originally envisioned about 2 decades ago. Moreover, it has fully blossomed with the relentless and unwavering commitment of its members in turning its vision into a palpable reality -- a stronger and solid PSVM.