University of Philippines Manila

Roberto Romulo Fellowship for Public Health Leadership and Governance launched

To advance healthcare leadership and governance in the Philippines, the UP Manila College of Public Health, Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF), and UP Diliman National College of Public Administration and Governance have joined forces to create the Roberto R. Romulo Fellowship for Public Health Leadership and Governance.

The Fellowship program, designed for provincial governors and their provincial health officers, is composed of two modules with practicum after each module. During the practicum, the fellows will undergo coaching sessions, technical and mentoring support for addressing identified health system issues, and specialized learning inputs on specific areas of concern. The program ends with a Leadership Forum where the RRR fellows’ innovations and results will be recognized.

The first module was held on Aug. 29-30, 2023 and it set the stage for a transformative journey in public health leadership. This pioneering initiative convened an inaugural cohort of governors and their respective provincial health officers.

Present during the Module 1 event were the following governors and their PHOs: Aklan Governor Jose Enrique Miraflores and Dr. Leslie Ann Sedillo; Dinagat Island Governor Nilo Demerey Jr.; Davao de Oro Governor Dorothy Gonzaga and Dr. Antonio P. Ybiernas Jr.; and Kalinga Governor James Edduba. Governors and provincial health officers who will be able to complete the program will be awarded certificates as fellows and associate fellows respectively.

“We initiated the establishment of this program to honor the memory of the late Roberto R. Romulo, who was also ZFF’s founding chair,” Dr. Maria Ellen L. Medina, director of the ZFF Institute for Health Leadership stated. Ambassador Romulo played a pivotal role in improving the health of vulnerable Filipinos by assisting elected political leaders in enhancing their local health systems.

“It aims to produce a cadre of public health champions who will institute reforms so that they are able to respond to the health challenges in their respective areas, and as a result, contribute to the national improvement of health outcomes,” she added.

By the end of the Fellowship Program, participants are expected to have a well-defined personal leadership vision for improving health outcomes in their respective provinces, a deeper understanding of their roles as public health leaders, enhanced leadership competencies to initiate and sustain health reforms, expanded networks to strengthen their LGUs’ health capacities, and the capacity to generate innovative solutions for their constituents.

ZFF President Mr. Austere A. Panadero stated that the two-day introduction will be followed by intensive conversation, experimentation, and problem solving in the next several months.

CPH Associate Professor and Assistant to the Dean for Academic Affairs Dr. Vivien Fe F. Fadrilan-Camacho provided valuable insights during the first session delving into the topic, “The Governor as Champion for Health Equity.”

Meanwhile, ZFF Chairman Mr. Ernesto D. Garilao shared insightful perspectives on “Bridging Leadership in Public Health,” enriching the participants’ understanding of the complexities of leadership in the healthcare sector.

The afternoon sessions continued with Associate Professor and Chair of the CPH Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics Dr. Paul Adrian V. Pinlac who discussed “Understanding Health Indicators and Information Systems”, where the participants gained a deeper understanding of health indicators and health information system for better informed decisions.

The course culminated with the participants reflecting on their learning experiences during the session on “Participatory and Inclusive Decision Making in the Provincial Health Board.” The discussion was moderated by Mr. Raphael B. Montes, Jr., University Researcher of UP NCPAG Center for Local and Regional Governance (CLRG), and Ms. Maricris B. Delos Santos, University Extension Specialist, UP NCPAG CLRG.

The second day commenced with the discussion on “Building Decision Support Systems,” led by Dr. Erwin A. Alampay, professor and UP-NCPAG College secretary, enriching the participants’ knowledge of strategic decision-making in healthcare.

Dr. Reginald G. Ugaddan, UP-NCPAG CLRG assistant professor and director, furthered the discussion by tackling “Futures and Foresight for Health and Strategic Planning.”

(Charmaine A. Lingdas, Dr. Ernesto R. Gregorio, Jr., Dr. Maria Ellen Licup-Medina)

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